Writing Scientific Literature Review
Writing literature review requires an author’s deep penetration into the scientific problem, as well as the ability to search and analyze information quickly. The literature review also implies gathering materials from various sources and present them in the complex and voluminous threads of the review.
Once you finished reading a book or an article, it is a high time one analyzed relevant sources of the topic given and gather enough information to present the materials in a comprehensible way that molds the arguments and make it clear for a benevolent reader. Here are the tips on how to write the best literature review.
If you have just started to write an overview of a selected book/article, it is essential to remember new information and the very first impressions from reading, new thoughts and associations your mind creates. Record all of this as soon as possible and then it will be easier to associate new ideas with the available results, your personal ideas, etc. Make sticky notes, highlight sentences in your reader or use a pencil should you use a fogyish paper version. Highlighting written thought of the author you read will help you to get back easily and use them as quotes in you writing in the future.
Consider the topic from different angles
Focus on a specific issue of the topic and try to analyze it from the different point of view. Use adjacent areas of your study: for example, if you write a review of immunology, also include materials from epidemiology, cytology, doctors, and biochemists. Consideration of mechanisms for a particular problem at various levels will allow you to target a wider audience. Such a work will be more sapid to readers.
Be critical and consistent
A good review is a compilation of not only literature but also its critical analysis, which helps to identify methodological problems and point to gaps in research. After reading your review, quick-witted reader should get an idea of the following:
- What are the main achievements in the area described?;
- What are the major contentious issues in the region?;
- What are the major scientific issues and perspectives of their solution?
Of course, the successful answer to all three questions in one review would be an untold success. Not always one author can have such global thinking. Therefore, attracting the co-authors will increase the quality of the article significantly. Every scientist has its strengths: for instance, while the first describes the work of the other perfectly with all specifics and details, the second one criticizes other people's work deftly and identify problem areas.
Use up-to-date materials
Given the rapid growth in the number of scientific papers, reviews of the literature in many disciplines, some materials become obsolete quickly and lose their relevance. Check the latest digests, journals, and news regarding your topic - it will help you to increase the value of your own review.