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A Step-by-Step Guide to Using Academic Databases for Research
In the digital age, academic databases have become essential tools for researchers and students alike. With vast collections of scholarly articles, books, and other resources, these databases provide a wealth of information on various subjects. However, navigating these databases can be overwhelming for those unfamiliar with their functionalities. In this step-by-step guide, we will walk you through the process of using academic databases effectively for your research needs.
Understanding Academic Databases
Before delving into the practical aspects of using academic databases, it’s crucial to understand what they are and how they differ from other sources of information. Academic databases are online platforms that host scholarly content such as journal articles, conference papers, dissertations, and more. Unlike search engines like Google or Wikipedia, which prioritize popular or general content, academic databases focus on peer-reviewed research conducted by experts in their respective fields.
These databases usually require a subscription or access through an institutional affiliation like a university or library. By restricting access to authenticated users only, they ensure the quality and reliability of the content available. Some well-known academic databases include JSTOR, ScienceDirect, PubMed, IEEE Xplore, and ACM Digital Library.
Selecting the Right Database
With numerous academic databases available today, it’s essential to choose the most appropriate one for your research topic. Each database specializes in certain disciplines or subject areas; therefore, selecting a database that aligns with your research interest is paramount.
Start by identifying keywords related to your research topic. These keywords will help you narrow down your search when exploring different databases’ offerings. For example, if you’re researching climate change impacts on biodiversity conservation strategies in marine ecosystems, relevant keywords could include “climate change,” “biodiversity conservation,” “marine ecosystems,” and so on.
Once you have identified your keywords and subject area(s), consult with librarians or experienced researchers who can guide you in selecting the most relevant databases. They can suggest databases that specialize in your field or those that cover a broader range of disciplines.
Conducting Effective Searches
After selecting the appropriate academic database(s), it’s time to conduct effective searches to find the information you need. Most databases offer advanced search options, allowing users to refine their queries and obtain more accurate results.
Start by entering your keywords into the search bar. To enhance your search results, consider using Boolean operators such as “AND,” “OR,” and “NOT” to combine or exclude specific terms. For example, using “climate change AND biodiversity conservation” will retrieve articles that contain both terms, while “climate change NOT marine ecosystems” will exclude articles related to marine ecosystems from your results.
Additionally, take advantage of filters and limiters provided by the database. These options allow you to narrow down your search based on publication date, author, journal name, and other criteria. Utilizing these features will help you focus on the most recent and relevant research within your field.
Evaluating and Accessing Sources
Once you have obtained a list of potentially relevant sources from your search, it’s essential to evaluate their quality before incorporating them into your research. Academic databases often provide information about each source’s credibility by displaying metrics such as citation counts, impact factors, and peer review status.
Consider factors such as the author’s expertise and affiliations, publication date (preferably recent), journal reputation (if applicable), and relevance to your research question when assessing sources. Additionally, check for any potential biases or conflicts of interest that may affect the objectivity of the research findings.
After evaluating sources for their suitability and reliability, access them through the database’s provided links or follow instructions for accessing full-text versions if available. Some articles may be openly accessible while others may require additional permissions or subscriptions.
In conclusion, academic databases are invaluable resources for researchers seeking reliable and up-to-date information. By understanding the basics of academic databases, selecting the right database(s) for your research, conducting effective searches, and evaluating and accessing sources, you can maximize the benefits these platforms offer. So, dive into the world of academic databases and unlock a treasure trove of knowledge for your research endeavors.
This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.
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Answered By: Sarah Naomi Campbell Last Updated: Sep 07, 2018 Views: 209732
Watch this short video to learn about types of scholarly articles, including research articles and literature reviews!
Not in the mood for a video? Read on!
What's the difference between a research article and a review article?
Research articles , sometimes referred to as empirical or primary sources , report on original research. They will typically include sections such as an introduction, methods, results, and discussion.
Here is a more detailed explanation of research articles .
Review articles , sometimes called literature reviews or secondary sources , synthesize or analyze research already conducted in primary sources. They generally summarize the current state of research on a given topic.
Here is a more detailed explanation of review articles .
The video above was created by the Virginia Commonwealth University Libraries .
The defintions, and the linked detailed explanations, are paraphrased from the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association , 6th ed .
The linked explanations are provided by the Mohawk Valley Community College Libraries .
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Q: What is the difference between a research paper and a review paper?
This is my first attempt at writing a scientific paper and I am thinking of writing a review article. I want to know what is the exact difference between a research paper and a review paper. Will a review paper be published by a good journal?
Asked on 21 Jan, 2015
A research paper is based on original research. The kind of research may vary depending on your field or the topic (experiments, survey, interview, questionnaire, etc.), but authors need to collect and analyze raw data and conduct an original study. The research paper will be based on the analysis and interpretation of this data.
A review article or review paper is based on other published articles. It does not report original research. Review articles generally summarize the existing literature on a topic in an attempt to explain the current state of understanding on the topic. Review articles can be of three kinds:
- A narrative review explains the existing knowledge on a topic based on all the published research available on the topic.
- A systematic review searches for the answer to a particular question in the existing scientific literature on a topic.
- A meta-analysis compares and combines the findings of previously published studies, usually to assess the effectiveness of an intervention or mode of treatment.
Review papers form valuable scientific literature as they summarize the findings of existing literature. So readers can form an idea about the existing knowledge on a topic without having to read all the published works in the field. Well-written review articles are popular, particularly in the field of medicine and healthcare. Most reputed journals publish review articles. However, you should check the website of the journal you wish to get published in to see if they accept such articles. If published in a good peer-reviewed journal, review articles often have a high impact and receive a lot of citations.
If you are new to writing research papers, I would recommend taking this course designed exclusively for early career researchers: An in-depth academic publishing course for young researchers .
- 5 differences between a research paper and a review paper
- The complete guide to writing a brilliant research paper
Answered by Editage Insights on 30 Mar, 2017
- Upvote this Answer
what is the meaning of an overview article ? can we conseder it as a research paper or review one?
Answered by aicha aicha on 15 Nov, 2018
Hi everyone. I am a new here. I think that a research paper is a piece of academic writing based on its author's original research on a particular topic. It can be either a term paper, a masters thesis or a doctoral dissertation. And a review article is an article that summarizes the current state of understanding on a topic.
Answered by nic faust on 28 Jan, 2019
its a nice one
Answered by parry roy on 09 May, 2019
Research paper sometimes referred to as empirical or primary sources, report on original research. They will typically include sections such as an introduction, methods, results, and discussion. Review paper , sometimes called literature reviews or secondary sources, synthesize or analyze research already conducted in primary sources. They generally summarize the current state of research on a given topic.
Answered by Christian Baker on 30 Jul, 2019
Answered by Maria Smith on 28 Jan, 2020
A research paper is all about research and a review paper tells you about giving reviews.
Answered by Freddie Woods on 14 Oct, 2021
A research paper presents original findings or results from a study, while a review paper summarizes and analyzes existing research on a particular topic, providing an overview of the current state of knowledge.
Answered by Muskan Choudhary on 26 Jul, 2023
This content belongs to the Conducting Research Stage
Confirm that you would also like to sign up for free personalized email coaching for this stage.
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Review vs. Research Articles
How can you tell if you are looking at a research paper, review paper or a systematic review examples and article characteristics are provided below to help you figure it out., research papers.
A research article describes a study that was performed by the article’s author(s). It explains the methodology of the study, such as how data was collected and analyzed, and clarifies what the results mean. Each step of the study is reported in detail so that other researchers can repeat the experiment.
To determine if a paper is a research article, examine its wording. Research articles describe actions taken by the researcher(s) during the experimental process. Look for statements like “we tested,” “I measured,” or “we investigated.” Research articles also describe the outcomes of studies. Check for phrases like “the study found” or “the results indicate.” Next, look closely at the formatting of the article. Research papers are divided into sections that occur in a particular order: abstract, introduction, methods, results, discussion, and references.
Let's take a closer look at this research paper by Bacon et al. published in the International Journal of Hypertension :
Review articles do not describe original research conducted by the author(s). Instead, they give an overview of a specific subject by examining previously published studies on the topic. The author searches for and selects studies on the subject and then tries to make sense of their findings. In particular, review articles look at whether the outcomes of the chosen studies are similar, and if they are not, attempt to explain the conflicting results. By interpreting the findings of previous studies, review articles are able to present the current knowledge and understanding of a specific topic.
Since review articles summarize the research on a particular topic, students should read them for background information before consulting detailed, technical research articles. Furthermore, review articles are a useful starting point for a research project because their reference lists can be used to find additional articles on the subject.
Let's take a closer look at this review paper by Bacon et al. published in Sports Medicine :
Systematic Review Papers
A systematic review is a type of review article that tries to limit the occurrence of bias. Traditional, non-systematic reviews can be biased because they do not include all of the available papers on the review’s topic; only certain studies are discussed by the author. No formal process is used to decide which articles to include in the review. Consequently, unpublished articles, older papers, works in foreign languages, manuscripts published in small journals, and studies that conflict with the author’s beliefs can be overlooked or excluded. Since traditional reviews do not have to explain the techniques used to select the studies, it can be difficult to determine if the author’s bias affected the review’s findings.
Systematic reviews were developed to address the problem of bias. Unlike traditional reviews, which cover a broad topic, systematic reviews focus on a single question, such as if a particular intervention successfully treats a medical condition. Systematic reviews then track down all of the available studies that address the question, choose some to include in the review, and critique them using predetermined criteria. The studies are found, selected, and evaluated using a formal, scientific methodology in order to minimize the effect of the author’s bias. The methodology is clearly explained in the systematic review so that readers can form opinions about the quality of the review.
Let's take a closer look this systematic review paper by Vigano et al. published in Lancet Oncology :
Finding Review and Research Papers in PubMed
Many databases have special features that allow the searcher to restrict results to articles that match specific criteria. In other words, only articles of a certain type will be displayed in the search results. These “limiters” can be useful when searching for research or review articles. PubMed has a limiter for article type, which is located on the left sidebar of the search results page. This limiter can filter the search results to show only review articles.
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How to write a review article?
In the medical sciences, the importance of review articles is rising. When clinicians want to update their knowledge and generate guidelines about a topic, they frequently use reviews as a starting point. The value of a review is associated with what has been done, what has been found and how these findings are presented. Before asking ‘how,’ the question of ‘why’ is more important when starting to write a review. The main and fundamental purpose of writing a review is to create a readable synthesis of the best resources available in the literature for an important research question or a current area of research. Although the idea of writing a review is attractive, it is important to spend time identifying the important questions. Good review methods are critical because they provide an unbiased point of view for the reader regarding the current literature. There is a consensus that a review should be written in a systematic fashion, a notion that is usually followed. In a systematic review with a focused question, the research methods must be clearly described. A ‘methodological filter’ is the best method for identifying the best working style for a research question, and this method reduces the workload when surveying the literature. An essential part of the review process is differentiating good research from bad and leaning on the results of the better studies. The ideal way to synthesize studies is to perform a meta-analysis. In conclusion, when writing a review, it is best to clearly focus on fixed ideas, to use a procedural and critical approach to the literature and to express your findings in an attractive way.
The importance of review articles in health sciences is increasing day by day. Clinicians frequently benefit from review articles to update their knowledge in their field of specialization, and use these articles as a starting point for formulating guidelines. [ 1 , 2 ] The institutions which provide financial support for further investigations resort to these reviews to reveal the need for these researches. [ 3 ] As is the case with all other researches, the value of a review article is related to what is achieved, what is found, and the way of communicating this information. A few studies have evaluated the quality of review articles. Murlow evaluated 50 review articles published in 1985, and 1986, and revealed that none of them had complied with clear-cut scientific criteria. [ 4 ] In 1996 an international group that analyzed articles, demonstrated the aspects of review articles, and meta-analyses that had not complied with scientific criteria, and elaborated QUOROM (QUality Of Reporting Of Meta-analyses) statement which focused on meta-analyses of randomized controlled studies. [ 5 ] Later on this guideline was updated, and named as PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses). [ 6 ]
Review articles are divided into 2 categories as narrative, and systematic reviews. Narrative reviews are written in an easily readable format, and allow consideration of the subject matter within a large spectrum. However in a systematic review, a very detailed, and comprehensive literature surveying is performed on the selected topic. [ 7 , 8 ] Since it is a result of a more detailed literature surveying with relatively lesser involvement of author’s bias, systematic reviews are considered as gold standard articles. Systematic reviews can be diivded into qualitative, and quantitative reviews. In both of them detailed literature surveying is performed. However in quantitative reviews, study data are collected, and statistically evaluated (ie. meta-analysis). [ 8 ]
Before inquring for the method of preparation of a review article, it is more logical to investigate the motivation behind writing the review article in question. The fundamental rationale of writing a review article is to make a readable synthesis of the best literature sources on an important research inquiry or a topic. This simple definition of a review article contains the following key elements:
- The question(s) to be dealt with
- Methods used to find out, and select the best quality researches so as to respond to these questions.
- To synthetize available, but quite different researches
For the specification of important questions to be answered, number of literature references to be consulted should be more or less determined. Discussions should be conducted with colleagues in the same area of interest, and time should be reserved for the solution of the problem(s). Though starting to write the review article promptly seems to be very alluring, the time you spend for the determination of important issues won’t be a waste of time. [ 9 ]
The PRISMA statement [ 6 ] elaborated to write a well-designed review articles contains a 27-item checklist ( Table 1 ). It will be reasonable to fulfill the requirements of these items during preparation of a review article or a meta-analysis. Thus preparation of a comprehensible article with a high-quality scientific content can be feasible.
PRISMA statement: A 27-item checklist
Contents and format
Important differences exist between systematic, and non-systematic reviews which especially arise from methodologies used in the description of the literature sources. A non-systematic review means use of articles collected for years with the recommendations of your colleagues, while systematic review is based on struggles to search for, and find the best possible researches which will respond to the questions predetermined at the start of the review.
Though a consensus has been reached about the systematic design of the review articles, studies revealed that most of them had not been written in a systematic format. McAlister et al. analyzed review articles in 6 medical journals, and disclosed that in less than one fourth of the review articles, methods of description, evaluation or synthesis of evidence had been provided, one third of them had focused on a clinical topic, and only half of them had provided quantitative data about the extend of the potential benefits. [ 10 ]
Use of proper methodologies in review articles is important in that readers assume an objective attitude towards updated information. We can confront two problems while we are using data from researches in order to answer certain questions. Firstly, we can be prejudiced during selection of research articles or these articles might be biased. To minimize this risk, methodologies used in our reviews should allow us to define, and use researches with minimal degree of bias. The second problem is that, most of the researches have been performed with small sample sizes. In statistical methods in meta-analyses, available researches are combined to increase the statistical power of the study. The problematic aspect of a non-systematic review is that our tendency to give biased responses to the questions, in other words we apt to select the studies with known or favourite results, rather than the best quality investigations among them.
As is the case with many research articles, general format of a systematic review on a single subject includes sections of Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion ( Table 2 ).
Structure of a systematic review
Preparation of the review article
Steps, and targets of constructing a good review article are listed in Table 3 . To write a good review article the items in Table 3 should be implemented step by step. [ 11 – 13 ]
Steps of a systematic review
The research question
It might be helpful to divide the research question into components. The most prevalently used format for questions related to the treatment is PICO (P - Patient, Problem or Population; I-Intervention; C-appropriate Comparisons, and O-Outcome measures) procedure. For example In female patients (P) with stress urinary incontinence, comparisons (C) between transobturator, and retropubic midurethral tension-free band surgery (I) as for patients’ satisfaction (O).
In a systematic review on a focused question, methods of investigation used should be clearly specified.
Ideally, research methods, investigated databases, and key words should be described in the final report. Different databases are used dependent on the topic analyzed. In most of the clinical topics, Medline should be surveyed. However searching through Embase and CINAHL can be also appropriate.
While determining appropriate terms for surveying, PICO elements of the issue to be sought may guide the process. Since in general we are interested in more than one outcome, P, and I can be key elements. In this case we should think about synonyms of P, and I elements, and combine them with a conjunction AND.
One method which might alleviate the workload of surveying process is “methodological filter” which aims to find the best investigation method for each research question. A good example of this method can be found in PubMed interface of Medline. The Clinical Queries tool offers empirically developed filters for five different inquiries as guidelines for etiology, diagnosis, treatment, prognosis or clinical prediction.
Evaluation of the Quality of the Study
As an indispensable component of the review process is to discriminate good, and bad quality researches from each other, and the outcomes should be based on better qualified researches, as far as possible. To achieve this goal you should know the best possible evidence for each type of question The first component of the quality is its general planning/design of the study. General planning/design of a cohort study, a case series or normal study demonstrates variations.
A hierarchy of evidence for different research questions is presented in Table 4 . However this hierarchy is only a first step. After you find good quality research articles, you won’t need to read all the rest of other articles which saves you tons of time. [ 14 ]
Determination of levels of evidence based on the type of the research question
Formulating a Synthesis
Rarely all researches arrive at the same conclusion. In this case a solution should be found. However it is risky to make a decision based on the votes of absolute majority. Indeed, a well-performed large scale study, and a weakly designed one are weighed on the same scale. Therefore, ideally a meta-analysis should be performed to solve apparent differences. Ideally, first of all, one should be focused on the largest, and higher quality study, then other studies should be compared with this basic study.
In conclusion, during writing process of a review article, the procedures to be achieved can be indicated as follows: 1) Get rid of fixed ideas, and obsessions from your head, and view the subject from a large perspective. 2) Research articles in the literature should be approached with a methodological, and critical attitude and 3) finally data should be explained in an attractive way.
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Research Articles and Review Articles Defined Review
"A research article is a primary source ...that is, it reports the methods and results of an original study performed by the authors . The kind of study may vary (it could have been an experiment, survey, interview, etc.), but in all cases, raw data have been collected and analyzed by the authors, and conclusions drawn from the results of that analysis.
A review article is a secondary source ...it is written about other articles, and does not report original research of its own. Review articles are very important, as they draw upon the articles that they review to suggest new research directions, to strengthen support for existing theories and/or identify patterns among existing research studies. For student researchers, review articles provide a great overview of the existing literature on a topic. If you find a literature review that fits your topic, take a look at its references/works cited list for leads on other relevant articles and books!"
From https://apus.libanswers.com/faq/2324 , "What's the difference between a research and a review article?"
- Example of a RESEARCH Article Lin CL, Huang LC, Chang YT, Chen RY, Yang SH. Effectiveness of Health Coaching in Diabetes Control and Lifestyle Improvement: A Randomized-Controlled Trial. Nutrients. 2021 Oct 29;13(11):3878.
- Example of a REVIEW Article Ojo O, Ojo OO, Adebowale F, Wang XH. The Effect of Dietary Glycaemic Index on Glycaemia in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Nutrients. 2018 Mar 19;10(3):373.
Difference between Reviews and Research Articles
Research Article Break Down Review
Research articles follow a particular format. Look for:
- A brief introduction will often include a review of the existing literature on the topic studied, and explain the rationale of the author's study.
- A methods section, where authors describe how they collected and analyzed data. Statistical analysis are included.
- A results section describes the outcomes of the data analysis. Charts and graphs illustrating the results are typically included.
- In the discussion , authors will explain their interpretation of their results and theorize on their importance to existing and future research.
- References or works cited are always included. These are the articles and books that the authors drew upon to plan their study and to support their discussion.
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Reviewing review articles
A review article is written to summarize the current state of understanding on a topic, and peer reviewing these types of articles requires a slightly different set of criteria compared with empirical articles. Unless it is a systematic review/meta-analysis methods are not important or reported. The quality of a review article can be judged on aspects such as timeliness, the breadth and accuracy of the discussion, and if it indicates the best avenues for future research. The review article should present an unbiased summary of the current understanding of the topic, and therefore the peer reviewer must assess the selection of studies that are cited by the paper. As review article contains a large amount of detailed information, its structure and flow are also important.
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Finding Journal Articles 101
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Not to be confused with a “peer reviewed journal,” Review articles are an attempt by one or more writers to sum up the current state of the research on a particular topic. Ideally, the writer searches for everything relevant to the topic, and then sorts it all out into a coherent view of the “state of the art” as it now stands. Review Articles will teach you about::
- the main people working in a field
- recent major advances and discoveries
- significant gaps in the research
- current debates
- ideas of where research might go next
Review Articles are virtual gold mines if you want to find out what the key articles are for a given topic. If you read and thoroughly digest a good review article, you should be able to “talk the talk” about a given topic. Unlike research articles, review articles are good places to get a basic idea about a topic.
So, how do I find Review Articles?
In most databases and indexes, you can limit your search to include only review articles. Some databases might use the term "literature review," but it's the same thing. Set up your search like usual, then find the limit for review articles, select it, and run your search.
If you open up PubMed , you can search for review articles on the drug Paxil by putting “Paxil” in the search bar, then clicking the SEARCH button. Look at the list of filters on the left-hand side of the page of search results. Under “Article Type” you’ll see a link labeled “Review”.
After you run your search, scroll down the results page and look on the right-hand side for the box labeled “Search Details”. This shows you the search the PubMed actually ran, as opposed to what you put in. Doing that shows that PubMed added the term “paroxetine” to your search, which is the generic name of Paxil. The search details can tell you a lot about why a search did or didn’t work the way you expected.
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How to Review a Journal Article
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For many kinds of assignments, like a literature review , you may be asked to offer a critique or review of a journal article. This is an opportunity for you as a scholar to offer your qualified opinion and evaluation of how another scholar has composed their article, argument, and research. That means you will be expected to go beyond a simple summary of the article and evaluate it on a deeper level. As a college student, this might sound intimidating. However, as you engage with the research process, you are becoming immersed in a particular topic, and your insights about the way that topic is presented are valuable and can contribute to the overall conversation surrounding your topic.
Some disciplines, like Criminal Justice, may only want you to summarize the article without including your opinion or evaluation. If your assignment is to summarize the article only, please see our literature review handout.
Before getting started on the critique, it is important to review the article thoroughly and critically. To do this, we recommend take notes, annotating , and reading the article several times before critiquing. As you read, be sure to note important items like the thesis, purpose, research questions, hypotheses, methods, evidence, key findings, major conclusions, tone, and publication information. Depending on your writing context, some of these items may not be applicable.
Questions to Consider
To evaluate a source, consider some of the following questions. They are broken down into different categories, but answering these questions will help you consider what areas to examine. With each category, we recommend identifying the strengths and weaknesses in each since that is a critical part of evaluation.
Evaluating Purpose and Argument
- How well is the purpose made clear in the introduction through background/context and thesis?
- How well does the abstract represent and summarize the article’s major points and argument?
- How well does the objective of the experiment or of the observation fill a need for the field?
- How well is the argument/purpose articulated and discussed throughout the body of the text?
- How well does the discussion maintain cohesion?
Evaluating the Presentation/Organization of Information
- How appropriate and clear is the title of the article?
- Where could the author have benefited from expanding, condensing, or omitting ideas?
- How clear are the author’s statements? Challenge ambiguous statements.
- What underlying assumptions does the author have, and how does this affect the credibility or clarity of their article?
- How objective is the author in his or her discussion of the topic?
- How well does the organization fit the article’s purpose and articulate key goals?
- How appropriate are the study design and methods for the purposes of the study?
- How detailed are the methods being described? Is the author leaving out important steps or considerations?
- Have the procedures been presented in enough detail to enable the reader to duplicate them?
- Scan and spot-check calculations. Are the statistical methods appropriate?
- Do you find any content repeated or duplicated?
- How many errors of fact and interpretation does the author include? (You can check on this by looking up the references the author cites).
- What pertinent literature has the author cited, and have they used this literature appropriately?
Following, we have an example of a summary and an evaluation of a research article. Note that in most literature review contexts, the summary and evaluation would be much shorter. This extended example shows the different ways a student can critique and write about an article.
Chik, A. (2012). Digital gameplay for autonomous foreign language learning: Gamers’ and language teachers’ perspectives. In H. Reinders (ed.), Digital games in language learning and teaching (pp. 95-114). Eastbourne, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.
Be sure to include the full citation either in a reference page or near your evaluation if writing an annotated bibliography .
In Chik’s article “Digital Gameplay for Autonomous Foreign Language Learning: Gamers’ and Teachers’ Perspectives”, she explores the ways in which “digital gamers manage gaming and gaming-related activities to assume autonomy in their foreign language learning,” (96) which is presented in contrast to how teachers view the “pedagogical potential” of gaming. The research was described as an “umbrella project” consisting of two parts. The first part examined 34 language teachers’ perspectives who had limited experience with gaming (only five stated they played games regularly) (99). Their data was recorded through a survey, class discussion, and a seven-day gaming trial done by six teachers who recorded their reflections through personal blog posts. The second part explored undergraduate gaming habits of ten Hong Kong students who were regular gamers. Their habits were recorded through language learning histories, videotaped gaming sessions, blog entries of gaming practices, group discussion sessions, stimulated recall sessions on gaming videos, interviews with other gamers, and posts from online discussion forums. The research shows that while students recognize the educational potential of games and have seen benefits of it in their lives, the instructors overall do not see the positive impacts of gaming on foreign language learning.
The summary includes the article’s purpose, methods, results, discussion, and citations when necessary.
This article did a good job representing the undergraduate gamers’ voices through extended quotes and stories. Particularly for the data collection of the undergraduate gamers, there were many opportunities for an in-depth examination of their gaming practices and histories. However, the representation of the teachers in this study was very uneven when compared to the students. Not only were teachers labeled as numbers while the students picked out their own pseudonyms, but also when viewing the data collection, the undergraduate students were more closely examined in comparison to the teachers in the study. While the students have fifteen extended quotes describing their experiences in their research section, the teachers only have two of these instances in their section, which shows just how imbalanced the study is when presenting instructor voices.
Some research methods, like the recorded gaming sessions, were only used with students whereas teachers were only asked to blog about their gaming experiences. This creates a richer narrative for the students while also failing to give instructors the chance to have more nuanced perspectives. This lack of nuance also stems from the emphasis of the non-gamer teachers over the gamer teachers. The non-gamer teachers’ perspectives provide a stark contrast to the undergraduate gamer experiences and fits neatly with the narrative of teachers not valuing gaming as an educational tool. However, the study mentioned five teachers that were regular gamers whose perspectives are left to a short section at the end of the presentation of the teachers’ results. This was an opportunity to give the teacher group a more complex story, and the opportunity was entirely missed.
Additionally, the context of this study was not entirely clear. The instructors were recruited through a master’s level course, but the content of the course and the institution’s background is not discussed. Understanding this context helps us understand the course’s purpose(s) and how those purposes may have influenced the ways in which these teachers interpreted and saw games. It was also unclear how Chik was connected to this masters’ class and to the students. Why these particular teachers and students were recruited was not explicitly defined and also has the potential to skew results in a particular direction.
Overall, I was inclined to agree with the idea that students can benefit from language acquisition through gaming while instructors may not see the instructional value, but I believe the way the research was conducted and portrayed in this article made it very difficult to support Chik’s specific findings.
Some professors like you to begin an evaluation with something positive but isn’t always necessary.
The evaluation is clearly organized and uses transitional phrases when moving to a new topic.
This evaluation includes a summative statement that gives the overall impression of the article at the end, but this can also be placed at the beginning of the evaluation.
This evaluation mainly discusses the representation of data and methods. However, other areas, like organization, are open to critique.
- Research Process
Writing a good review article
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Table of Contents
As a young researcher, you might wonder how to start writing your first review article, and the extent of the information that it should contain. A review article is a comprehensive summary of the current understanding of a specific research topic and is based on previously published research. Unlike research papers, it does not contain new results, but can propose new inferences based on the combined findings of previous research.
Types of review articles
Review articles are typically of three types: literature reviews, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses.
A literature review is a general survey of the research topic and aims to provide a reliable and unbiased account of the current understanding of the topic.
A systematic review , in contrast, is more specific and attempts to address a highly focused research question. Its presentation is more detailed, with information on the search strategy used, the eligibility criteria for inclusion of studies, the methods utilized to review the collected information, and more.
A meta-analysis is similar to a systematic review in that both are systematically conducted with a properly defined research question. However, unlike the latter, a meta-analysis compares and evaluates a defined number of similar studies. It is quantitative in nature and can help assess contrasting study findings.
Tips for writing a good review article
Here are a few practices that can make the time-consuming process of writing a review article easier:
- Define your question: Take your time to identify the research question and carefully articulate the topic of your review paper. A good review should also add something new to the field in terms of a hypothesis, inference, or conclusion. A carefully defined scientific question will give you more clarity in determining the novelty of your inferences.
- Identify credible sources: Identify relevant as well as credible studies that you can base your review on, with the help of multiple databases or search engines. It is also a good idea to conduct another search once you have finished your article to avoid missing relevant studies published during the course of your writing.
- Take notes: A literature search involves extensive reading, which can make it difficult to recall relevant information subsequently. Therefore, make notes while conducting the literature search and note down the source references. This will ensure that you have sufficient information to start with when you finally get to writing.
- Describe the title, abstract, and introduction: A good starting point to begin structuring your review is by drafting the title, abstract, and introduction. Explicitly writing down what your review aims to address in the field will help shape the rest of your article.
- Be unbiased and critical: Evaluate every piece of evidence in a critical but unbiased manner. This will help you present a proper assessment and a critical discussion in your article.
- Include a good summary: End by stating the take-home message and identify the limitations of existing studies that need to be addressed through future studies.
- Ask for feedback: Ask a colleague to provide feedback on both the content and the language or tone of your article before you submit it.
- Check your journal’s guidelines: Some journals only publish reviews, while some only publish research articles. Further, all journals clearly indicate their aims and scope. Therefore, make sure to check the appropriateness of a journal before submitting your article.
Writing review articles, especially systematic reviews or meta-analyses, can seem like a daunting task. However, Elsevier Author Services can guide you by providing useful tips on how to write an impressive review article that stands out and gets published!
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