Today's post is a step-by-step guide on how to write the type of review article that will get published. Review articles examine literature that has been published on a particular topic. They are good to write for two reasons:
1. If you've written a literature review as part of your thesis or dissertation, much of the groundwork for writing a review article has already been completed (there is much remodelling involved, however).
2. Review articles are often very highly cited because they give a comprehensive overview of the topic in question. This is good for your H-Index!
Step 1 -- Summarise
This is merely the first step!! Try to focus on seminal publications and those which detail new developments in the field.
Step 2 -- Synthesise
- Draw out the implications of what you’ve read
- Ask yourself: “so what?”
- Arrange information in a meaningful way
- Go from the micro (what individual publications say) to the macro (what the literature says as a whole)
- Where are the gaps? How are you going to fill them?
Step 3 -- Analyse
- Don’t take arguments at face value – scrutinise them!
- Use the REVIEW criteria to stay on track:
- Relevance (Is it central to my topic or peripheral?)
- Expertise of author (Are they highly cited? Well respected?)
- Viewpoint of author/organisation (Are there any affiliations that would bias the research?)
- Intended audience (Is it aimed at an academic audience or the general public?)
- Evidence (Are sources cited correctly and consistently? Does the evidence support the conclusions reached?)
- When published (is the information up to date?)
Step 4 -- 'Authorise'
- How is your interpretation of the literature going to contribute to the field?
- Theoretical contributions?
- Practical contributions?
- Are you going to:
- Extend the body of knowledge that exists?
- Purposefully depart from it?
- Reviewers are looking for fresh insights!
This last step is the most important of all -- it will set you apart from others attempting to get their research published!
Stay tuned for next week's instalment which is on finding literature review models.