12. Writing Review Papers (Peter B. Moyle)
I. What is a Research Paper?
There are two kinds of research papers. Primary or experimental research papers describe an experiment performed by the author. (I mean "experiment" in the broadest sense, as in a scientific investigation. The investigation may employ a rigorously controlled lab experiment, a controlled field experiment, a theoretical/mathematical investigation, or simply some new scientific observations. The key is that the body of the paper is about a novel investigation conducted by the author.) Secondary or review research papers summarize the research that has been done in a particular area. Reviews generally do not introduce much new information or new results, but rather synthesize a larger body of work, providing a new perspective on a field or question. In this class, you will be required to write a scientific review paper. A secondary research paper or review paper is not a 'book report' or an annotated list of experiments in a particular field, but demands a considerable, complete literature review. However, beyond just reporting the results and conclusions of other studies, the review must integrate, interpret and expand these conclusions. Often, articles must be read over and over again to really understand the subtle relevance of a particular result or conclusion. Then, the independent conclusions of separate investigations must be combined into a cohesive presentation. They must be contrasted and compared; are there conflicting conclusions? Can apparent conflicts be resolved through a new outlook or interpretation? Review papers often take historical perspectives, describing how a field (and the major questions in that field) changed as more information was accumulated. Or, review papers may focus on 'the state of the art' in a particular field; interpreting divergent results and suggesting an appropriate avenue for future research. Who writes review articles? Usually, it is the experts in a particular field. They have the experience and knowledge to critically evaluate experiments and organize them in a new provocative way; perhaps incorporating them into a new, unifying theory. Good review papers are not easy to write; if they were, more scientists would write them. By writing your review paper, I expect you to become a 'departmental expert' on a topic, able to 'wow' your fellow AP biology students with your new knowledge about your field. I do expect to see a creative synthesis of the literature, rather than a jumbled regurgitation of facts.
Science Thesis Writing Review Paper
Writing a Review Paper - Montana State
Years ago, the top journals would not publish review papers, as they were not considered as original research. This position has changed quite dramatically as editors have come to realize that good review papers are often highly cited. These citations translate to higher impact factors for the journals (a factor on which many authors base their decisions on where to publish; but impact factors are a subject for another day). Thus, review papers are now fairly welcome. While one cannot make a career of writing review papers, one or two well placed ones can help greatly increase your overall citation count. As one’s career progresses these citations become the basis for establishing other indices that consider not only the total number of citations acquired by each paper but the aggregate of the citations from all of an author’s citations.
Under point 3, the first form (ignoring criticism) has recieved most attention. However, reading between the lines, I feel that the second form is relatively common as well, where groups of researchers try to "claim" a specific topic (intentionally or unintentionally), so that their body of work is the go-to reference for this topic. A good way to achive this would be to preferentially cite work from within the group, especially if you are already a well established researcher. This can be particularly powerful if you are writing review papers of topics, since these can be used to define the core literature of a topic for future researchers that discover the field (probably related: ).