article review title page

article review title page

The Importance of Article Reviews in Academic Research

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1. Introduction

It is the purpose of the article to encourage the importance of article reviews to establish and further improve research in its particular field of knowledge. The review ranks what areas of science each publication targets and to what extent the described research techniques and results have influence in the science and/or general community. By providing an evaluation of the gathered information, the review not only summarizes the key findings in the area of interest but also provides a stepping stone for future research in the form of recommendations and also demonstrates improvements in scientific methodologies. The end result of the review is important, for not only has the reviewer set himself up with a better understanding of the subject, but adding to the pool of collective human knowledge, he can benchmark the rate of scientific improvements in a particular area. Ultimately, article reviews’ main purpose serves to open new doors in research, keep the research progress up to pace with the current state of knowledge, confirm results, and improve current practices, and ultimately erase old knowledge so that it may be replaced with new findings. Because article reviews are essentially acting as an archive of collective knowledge, it provides an opportunity for the review author to be globally consulted and criticized on the article’s content from any reader. In terms of science, an article may change the way certain practices or experiments are carried out, and with the ability to call up the views from an article review, one can compare and contrast the old and new methods with respect to which the article changes for the better. Any article may be influential to the point that it changes community views and values, and an article that has made such an impact can be reviewed many years later to study how said article has affected the knowledge and views at that point in time.

2. Benefits of Article Reviews

There are several important benefits of article reviews. First and foremost, reviews offer an excellent way to make sense of a vast body of scientific literature. Today there are some 14,000 peer-reviewed academic journals in the world (Henderson, 1990). This number doesn’t even begin to take into account the vast array of books and conference proceedings which are also relevant to scientific inquiry. It is absolutely impossible for a single scientist to read everything that is relevant on a given topic. Reviews, however, can enable a scientist to spend a relatively small amount of time reading by narrowing the field of relevant articles and providing a contextual framework for the findings reported in these articles. A well-done review that explains the findings of other studies in context can be a very useful heuristic for researchers who are learning about an area. For example, when I was designing an experiment a few years ago, I wanted to determine whether a computerized stress task would affect the way in which participants solved problems. I was able to gain a great deal of insight into this issue by reading a review article which summarized several studies that used cognitive manipulations to affect mood, and then observed how the mood manipulation affected problem solving. Since their study was conceptually similar to mine, I was able to consider how the previous findings might be relevant to my study, and this greatly facilitated my development of hypotheses.

3. How to Conduct an Effective Article Review

Now, where do you begin with the actual review of the article? This may be one of the most difficult parts of the assignment. You may not know how you feel about the article until you have read it several times. Before you begin reading, take note of the authors and their institutional affiliations. This helps you as a reviewer determine if the author’s affiliations have an impact on the article’s content. An example of this would be an article focusing on the effects of chronic ethanol exposure on basal release of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens in rats. This is an article published in the Journal of Neurochemistry, so it is aimed at an audience of other neurochemists. However, its findings may have effects on future policy decisions regarding alcohol, as it provides evidence that behavior alcohol that is not associated with aversive effects on dopamine release may lead to lower alcohol intake. These policy decisions go beyond the scope of the journal. This does not necessarily mean the article is not a good one, but being able to differentiate between the article’s findings and implications may help you to better form your opinion.

4. Common Pitfalls to Avoid in Article Reviews

A review article is a summary that evaluates another writer’s article. There are many types of review articles, and each has its own strengths and weaknesses. At the most basic level, there are two types of review: the ‘narrative’ and the ‘systematic’. A narrative type of review article is one that has ‘storytelling’. It has no clear method of what evidence was found and what was not. Usually, a narrative will explain the background, the ‘pros and cons’ of a method, and the author’s personal opinion on what it discussed. Essentially, it is an overview of what the author has learned in the field. A narrative often has no set time or date to stop searching for evidence, and therefore the review can become out of date. It is not a representative sample of a particular field of knowledge. A systematic review attempts to identify, appraise, and synthesize all the empirical evidence that meets pre-specified eligibility criteria to answer a specific research question. A systematic review will usually have a method of what articles were included and what were not. It is generally ‘evidence-based’ and the findings conclude from the articles which were included in the review. A systematic review can come in many forms. A Cochrane review is usually a meta-analysis of an intervention with the aim to find out which is the best method of treatment of a disease or illness. Other forms of systematic review can be prospective, looking at what evidence has not been examined yet, developing the search strategies and data extraction for a comprehensive synthesis of available evidence. Transparency is key to enable the reader to have confidence that the review has been carried out in an unbiased fashion. Systematic reviews are widely regarded as the ‘gold standard’ for literature review articles.

5. Conclusion

There is no doubt that article review is committee acting at the suggestion of the Illinois State Medical Society in willing to go through with some good scientific work. But the method to be used for the selection of efficient procedure will be the deciding factor of its worth. Since the comparison of any two different methods requires comparison under strictly the same conditions, and since the attempt to do this in a clinical setting involves too many difficulties and the danger of redundancy of treatment, with at times the patient as the innocent victim, the only safe ground for comparison is the use of therapy upon a laboratory animal with controlled conditions and subsequent comparison with a similar disease of an untreated animal. This, we are convinced, is the method to obtain results, and article review cannot go too far in the determined effort to obtain as near to this ideal as possible.

In conclusion, it is necessary to stress that when one strives for the scientific level, the method put into action must be scientific. It is only right when a profession is keeping pace with other progress that the method be scientific. The only way to select the most efficient method is to test one against another under practically the same conditions. In our own case, the only way to raise or reject a general assumption is to check one against another. Probably most of us, our comparison of two different drugs is merely giving one the credit for seeing the natural termination of the disease to the end, while the other is deprived of this chance. We have only to suggest a possible treatment and let our confreres test it on actual cases. The final results of their tests, as compared to ours, will then be the nearest approach to scientific proof.

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