A review paper, also known as a literature review or survey paper, is a type of academic or scholarly article that provides a comprehensive summary and analysis of existing research and literature on a specific topic or research question. Review papers are not original research studies but rather synthesis and evaluation of existing knowledge in a particular field.


Table of content

  1. Scientific Review paper
  2. Who is qualified to write a review paper
  3. What are the key components of a review paper
  4. How to choose a topic for a review paper
  5. What are the benefits of publishing a review paper
  6. What is the difference between a narrative and a systematic review
  7. How to structure the introduction of a review paper
  8. What are the common mistakes to avoid when writing a review paper
  9. Conclusion




A review paper in the context of science is a type of academic paper that summarizes and synthesizes recent progress in a particular topic or field. It provides the reader with an understanding of the topic by discussing the findings presented in recent research papers. A review paper is not a "term paper" or book report, but rather a coherent argument about a topic or focused description of a field. Review papers are valuable tools for those looking for a synopsis of several research studies in one place without having to spend time finding the research and results themselves.



Qualified authors to write a review paper are those who have contributed significant literature in a particular field. Researchers are often the ones who write review articles, and they are expected to provide unbiased information on studies within the discipline. The objective of a review should be to achieve an organization and synthesis of past work around the chosen theme in order to accelerate the accumulation and assimilation of recent knowledge into the existing body of knowledge. A good review article provides readers with an in-depth understanding of a field and highlights key gaps and challenges to address with future research.



In the context of science, a Review Paper is a type of academic article that provides a comprehensive and critical overview of existing research on a specific topic or subject area. Review Papers are distinct from original research papers in that they do not present new experimental findings or data. Instead, they summarize and synthesize the existing literature to offer insights, analysis, and a cohesive understanding of the chosen topic.



1. Expertise in the Field: Typically, individuals who are well-versed and have expertise in the subject area are qualified to write a Review Paper. This often means having a significant background in the specific scientific discipline or subfield.


2. Research Experience: Authors of Review Papers should have a good understanding of the research methodologies, studies, and findings relevant to the topic. They should be capable of critically evaluating and synthesizing the existing literature.


3. Publications and Recognition: Many reputable journals that publish Review Papers expect authors to have a track record of prior publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Authors who are recognized and respected within the scientific community are often considered more qualified.


4. Advanced Academic Credentials: Authors with advanced academic degrees, such as a Ph.D. or equivalent, are often well-suited to write Review Papers, as these degrees indicate a high level of expertise and research experience.


5. Collaboration: In some cases, a team of researchers may collaborate on writing a Review Paper, each contributing their expertise in different aspects of the topic.


It's important to note that the qualifications may vary depending on the specific journal or publication venue's requirements. Authors interested in writing a Review Paper should carefully review the guidelines and criteria set by the journal they intend to submit to and ensure they meet those requirements.




The key components of a review paper includes the following:


1. Title page: The title should reflect the topic of the review, and the author's name and date should be included.

2. Abstract: A brief summary of the review question being addressed or rationale for the review, the major studies reviewed, and conclusions drawn.

3. Introduction: Introduce the topic and your rationale for addressing this topic, focusing on why this topic is important. Clearly define exactly what this article will discuss and outline the order in which you will discuss each subtopic to give the reader any background information needed to understand the coming sections.

4. Body: The structure may vary based on the sub-topics or review questions being addressed. For example, if you are reviewing three different methodologies, you might divide the body of the article into three sections, each discussing one of the methods.

5. Conclusion: Summarize the main points of the review and highlight the key findings. Discuss the implications of the findings and suggest areas for future research.

6. References: List all the sources cited in the review paper.





Choosing a topic for a review paper can be a challenging task. The seven (7) tips below should be considered when choosing a topic for your review paper:


1. Choose a topic that you find interesting: This will make the process more enjoyable and ultimately more rewarding.


2. Choose a topic that has already been researched by others: This will ensure that you can find relevant articles to review.


3. Choose a topic that is not too broad or too narrow: A topic that is too broad will be impossible to cover adequately, while a topic that is too narrow will not have enough written about it.


4. Brainstorm different ideas and do some preliminary research on each: This will help you identify potential topics and ensure that you have enough articles available to review.


5. Identify related concepts and perform a brief preliminary search on all of them: From your ideas, choose the one that is strongest.


6. Refine your topic so that it isn't too broad and general: You could limit your research to a particular time period, group studied, or geographic location.


7. Choose a topic that piques your curiosity: Keep in mind that you will have to live with this topic over the course of an entire semester.


By following these tips, you can choose a topic that is interesting, relevant, and manageable for your review paper.




Publishing a review paper has several benefits, these includes:


1. Consolidating your position as an expert in the field: Writing a review paper demonstrates your knowledge and understanding of the topic, which can help establish you as an expert in the field.


2. Increasing your citation count: Review papers are often cited more frequently than original research papers, which can increase your citation count and improve your academic profile.


3. Improving your understanding of the topic: Writing a review paper requires a thorough understanding of the topic, which can help you gain a deeper understanding of the subject matter.


4. Contributing to the literature: Review papers provide a comprehensive overview of the latest advances in a specific field of research, which can help advance the field and contribute to the literature.


5. Advancing your research career and status: Publishing a review paper can help you gain recognition in your field, which can lead to new opportunities for advancement and career development.


Without mincing words, publishing a review paper can help you establish yourself as an expert in the field, increase your citation count, improve your understanding of the topic, contribute to the literature, and advance your research career and status.





Narrative and systematic reviews are two types of literature reviews that differ in their methodology and purpose. Here are the key differences between narrative and systematic reviews:


Narrative Review:

- A narrative review is a comprehensive, critical, and objective analysis of the current knowledge on a topic.

- It provides a broad perspective on a topic and is often more comparable to a textbook chapter.

- It is a thorough and critical overview of previously published research on the author's specific topic of interest.

- It is more biased than systematic and scoping reviews as it relies on the author's background knowledge on a topic.

- It is considered an important educational tool in the field.


Systematic Review:

- A systematic review is comprehensive and has minimal bias.

- It is based on a specific question and uses eligibility criteria and a pre-planned protocol.

- It involves collating evidence by using all of the eligible and critically appraised literature available on a certain topic.

- It is robust, reproducible, and transparent.

- It evaluates the quality of evidence and can be either quantitative or qualitative.

- The primary aim of a systematic review is to recommend best practices and inform policy development.


In a nutshell, while both narrative and systematic reviews use existing primary research studies, they differ in their methodology and purpose. Narrative reviews provide a broad perspective on a topic and are often more comparable to a textbook chapter, while systematic reviews are comprehensive and have minimal bias, with the primary aim of recommending best practices and informing policy development.





The introduction of a review paper should be structured in a way that provides the reader with a clear understanding of the topic and the purpose of the review. The following consists a typical structure:  

1. Start with a hook to grab the reader's attention.

2. Provide some background information on the topic.

3. Identify the gap in the literature that the review paper will address.

4. State the research question and objectives of the review.

5. Establish the significance of the study.

6. Provide an overview of the relevant literature.

7. Establish a context for the study using the literature.

8. Clearly define what the article will discuss and outline the order in which each subtopic will be discussed.


In all, the introduction of a review paper should introduce the topic, identify the gap in the literature, state the research question and objectives, establish the significance of the study, provide an overview of the relevant literature, and clearly define what the article will discuss and how it will be structured.





When writing a review paper, there are several common mistakes that should be avoided. Here are some of the most common mistakes to avoid:  


1. Over-reliance on low-quality sources: One of the most common issues in literature reviews is an over-reliance on low-quality sources, such as blog posts, opinion pieces, and daily news articles.


2. Losing focus and including irrelevant or too broad information: It is important to stay focused on the research question and avoid including irrelevant or too broad information.


3. Poor formation of arguments: Poor writing in a literature review is often the result of failing to integrate arguments into the review. Many people make the mistake of simply summarizing their readings.


4. Not synthesizing information: A review paper should synthesize the information from the literature, rather than simply summarizing it.


5. Not defining the research problem or question clearly: It is important to take sufficient time to define and identify the most relevant sources to use in the literature review related to the research problem.


By avoiding these common mistakes, you can ensure that your review paper is of high quality and effectively communicates your findings to the reader(s).



Writing a Review Paper is a significant undertaking that requires a deep understanding of the subject matter, critical analysis skills, and the ability to present information in a clear and organized manner. Qualified authors to write a review paper are those who have contributed significant literature in a particular field. Researchers are often the ones who write review articles, and they are expected to provide unbiased information on studies within the discipline.


Here are some key characteristics of a review paper:

1. Comprehensive Coverage: Review papers aim to cover a wide range of studies, articles, and research papers related to the chosen topic. The goal is to provide readers with a thorough understanding of the current state of knowledge in that area.


2. Synthesis of Information: Review papers don't just summarize individual studies; they synthesize and integrate information from multiple sources. They often highlight trends, common findings, and differences in research approaches.


3. Critical Evaluation: Authors of review papers critically assess the quality and reliability of the studies they include. They may evaluate the methods used, the validity of results, and the overall contribution of each study to the field.


4. Organization: Review papers typically have a structured format, with sections that include an introduction, a literature review, a discussion of findings, and a conclusion. Some may also include a methodology section describing how the review was conducted.


5. Citation of Sources: Review papers cite and reference the sources they use extensively. They provide a comprehensive list of the studies and articles they reviewed, allowing readers to access the original research if they wish.


6. Objective and Impartial: A good review paper strives to be objective and impartial, presenting a balanced view of the existing literature. While authors may have their own opinions, these should not unduly influence the presentation of the material.

Review papers serve several important purposes in academia:

1. Providing a Knowledge Base: They offer a foundational understanding of a specific topic or area of research, making it easier for newcomers to the field to get up to speed.

2. Identifying Research Gaps: Review papers often highlight areas where more research is needed or where existing studies have limitations, helping to guide future research efforts.

3. Supporting Decision-Making: They can be valuable resources for policymakers, practitioners, and researchers who want to make informed decisions based on the current state of knowledge.


4. Promoting Critical Thinking: Reading and writing review papers require critical thinking skills, as authors must assess and analyze the strengths and weaknesses of existing research.

Review papers are commonly found in academic journals and are authored by experts in the field who have a deep understanding of the subject matter. They are valuable tools for both researchers and those seeking to gain knowledge in a particular area.













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