scholarly article review example

scholarly article review example

The Impact of Scholarly Article Reviews on Academic Research

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1. Introduction

During their preparation for academic research, students will often find themselves collecting a large array of sources to begin forming a knowledge base which will eventually lead to an informed thesis. There are many different methods of keeping track of these sources, and implementing a system to document informative articles is one such method. Articles usually are not thoroughly analyzed and evaluated during a single reading. On a second or third reading, the students will have a better critical understanding of the article which they can then translate into understanding or diverse opinion to that which the author could have intended. Usually, the student takes notes by highlighting passages and writing in the margins. Types of scholarly article reviews consist of an overview of the article, a classification or overall summary of the article, an analysis of the article’s usefulness, and finally an evaluation of the article’s persuasiveness. This method of review can make a huge impact on a student needing to comprehend the article and using the article as a source. On the other hand, some researchers prefer to be more laissez-faire with less organized methods of documentation like mental recollection or vague notes. Recent studies show this is not the most effective way to remember information and will form false confidence in the researcher’s understanding. It is much more effective to review an article and take marginal notes. An annotated bibliography, which is a collection of the article described in more than one sentence and an evaluative paragraph, is said to help clarify the article and save time for those who do not fully understand the article or have too many sources. The annotation is a succinct description of said article, employing evidence from the article itself. This method of article review is great for moving back to an article and evaluating its content years later. The definite most effective method of article review and article comprehension is the more advanced method which uses the previous annotations to connect, integrate, and compare information across several articles. The more thorough and complete the annotations, the easier this process will be. High-quality connections, integration, and comparisons will lead to a more complete understanding of the tome of information.

2. Importance of Scholarly Article Reviews

A review of existing literature reveals a significant gap in the research on scholarly article reviewing. The vast majority of scholarly articles that focus on the impact of the reviews are theoretical in nature and are generally essays that contain no empirical data to support their claims. Of existing empirical studies, nearly all focus on the quality of reviews and their ability to help authors improve their articles. While this is an important pragmatic concern, researchers and academic institutions have vested interests in the effect of reviews on the advancement of knowledge in the reviewed article’s discipline. For example, a positive review that results in the publication of an article which is fundamentally flawed or incorrect can have serious implications on the state of knowledge in that field. In contrast, articles that are well written but not quite publishable have the potential to make a positive impact on the advancement of knowledge if the review can help the author to improve the article to the point of publishability. Thus, it is imperative to assess the actual and potential impact of reviews on the reviewed articles.

3. Critiques and Analysis of Scholarly Article Reviews

A study by Boote and Beile (2005) also critiqued the reviews process and found many inconsistencies and little valuable information being conveyed. They used an analysis of 10 review articles on a particular topic to show how the reviews were inconsistent in evaluating the same paper. They also found that several factors influence the quality of a review such as the reviewer’s expertise on the subject, prior interactions with the author, and the language of the review. Park and Qin (1982) discovered that the reliability of reviewers to be quite poor as there was little agreement between the reviewer’s ratings and even less when the article that was reviewed was resubmitted at a later date. A study by Vorholt (2009) illustrated that reviewers often do not search extensively for errors in individual papers and thus contribute to a decline in the textual accuracy of published articles. Fehler-Cabral (2009) uncovered that in the area of library and information science, reviewers often suggest the paper for publication even when it does not meet the publication requirements in hopes of helping an author. This may have a detrimental effect on the reputation and thoroughness of information in a specific discipline. Höffner (2009) examined the practice of blind versus open reviewing and found that when reviewers were known to authors, the quality and content of the review greatly improved but at a cost to the balance of critiques and praise. He also noted that there was a decline in reviewer willingness due to increased competition and high-quality articles being rejected due to critiques. Overall, these critical analyses offer a viewpoint of the scholarly reviews process as providing little benefit to the advancement of research. Any criticisms, however, must be taken in the context that the review of an article and the article itself are separate entities and it may be difficult to evaluate the review without considering its influence on the published article.

4. Role of Scholarly Article Reviews in Advancing Knowledge

Scholarly article reviews typically cover the last two or three years. There is no standing dispute amongst the scholars about the stages of the scholarly article review: searching for articles to review, evaluating those articles, and writing the review. By the mid-1990s, scholars began to use the burgeoning medium of the Internet to publish scholarly articles online. Indexing and abstracting services for academic journal articles emerged in the 1990s, the most prominent being the citation indexes, namely, the Arts and Humanities Citation Index, Science Citation Index, and Social Science Citation Index. With the access to all of those articles provided by digital libraries, scholars could ensure that they were locating and reviewing the most recent and relevant research literature. This is significant in context with a recent study, which reported that articles published in an academic journal in the social and the behavioral sciences were considered outdated by at least two-thirds of scholars in that discipline ten years after publication. By the way of formal article reviews, researchers with an interest in the subject can more easily and efficiently stay apprised of the current literature. Usually when reading a review, there is some type of comparative aspect in mind. Although reviews can be conducted for one’s own interest without necessarily having to be published, one could argue that the true output of a review is in preparation for a more formal inquiry of new research or in reformulating the research question. It is possible too that some reviews can serve as the starting point for new research or to bridge an existing knowledge gap in the form of a research or a published project. An example of this can be found in a twenty-year follow-up to a classic research article on cognitive dissonance theory.

5. Conclusion

In conclusion, it is important to remember that while not all scholarly articles are peer reviewed, this does not mean that they are not high quality or credible works. The different databases offer various kinds of information ranging from newspaper articles to academic studies. Many of these databases may offer scholarly articles, but that does not mean that the source is a peer-reviewed one. Consumers of the research need to determine if the information is from a peer-reviewed source or not. Peer-reviewed sources hold a higher level of credibility and are key to spreading scholarly information. The only way to truly know if an article or journal is peer-reviewed is to verify the publication with the actual journal or organization. Research that is targeting a certain academic or scientific audience may go further in depth with certain subjects, thus making it acceptable for non-peer-reviewed data to be utilized. Always remember that just because an article is not peer-reviewed, does not make it an unreliable source of information. Non-peer-reviewed data holds its own quality and purpose of informing the public or certain communities of a specific issue.

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