How To Write A Review Essay?

How To Write A Review Essay
On reading a book Read the preface, looking for statement of major purpose, perspective, and themes. Then read the entire book thoroughly. It will make more sense if you have a preview of major themes and ideas. After each chapter, review the main themes and ideas in that chapter and jot down these points.

Reviews should include concise statements of the subject matter, problems, or issues to which the books are directed.Essays should include brief summaries of the authors’ major arguments and conclusions and a discussion of the manner in which they developed their conclusions.Reviews should also include a discussion, with explanations, of the books’ strengths and weaknesses.Finally, no review would be complete without a discussion and explanation of the extent to which each book contributes to our knowledge and understanding of History.

Keep in mind One of the primary criteria by which any written paper is evaluated is its clarity and conciseness of communication. Edit and proofread your paper carefully. It is most unlikely that a “first draft” effort will satisfy this criterion. Define clearly any key terms used by the author of the book.

Provide sufficient examples and evidence to support your conclusions and generalizations. The review essay should be approximately ten typewritten pages in length. All review essays must be typed and double-spaced in a standard font (preferably 12 cpi), with a 1-inch margin on all sides. Examples of book reviews and review essays can be found in various historical journals or by consulting the Book Review Digest or Current Book Review Citations,

Also, there are numerous websites that are devoted exclusively to the works of Art Spiegelman and Eli Wiesel. These “sample” reviews and websites are to be used only for general guidance; they are not to be employed as a source for specific ideas to be included in your review.

  1. Minimize the use of direct quotations from the book being reviewed.
  2. If you must quote the author directly be sure that the quotation is placed in quotation marks and that you indicate the page on which the quotation is found.
  3. This is a book review essay, not a book report.
  4. Do not simply summarize the books on a chapter-by-chapter basis.

You might consider What was life in Auschwitz like? What was the worst thing about it? How was life in Auschwitz organized? Can you describe a social order or hierarchy? What are the Germans at Auschwitz like? What motivated them? What is the psychological impact of life in the camp? In light of Night and This Way for the Gas.

, what does Maus do that pure text narratives cannot? In what ways do Spiegelman’s crude drawings help us visualize things that words alone might be unable to portray? One of the problems inherent in representing human beings as cats and mice is that animals have a narrower range of facial expression.

Are Spiegelman’s animals as emotionally expressive as human characters might be? If so, what means does the cartoonist use to endow his mice and cats with “human” characteristics? Maus contains several moments of comedy. Most of these take place during the exchanges between Artie, Vladek, and Mala.

Can you identify similar humor within Borowski’s or Wiesels work? What is the effect of this humor? Was it inaccurate or “wrong” of Borowski, Spiegelman or Wiesel to have included such episodes within their respective tales? Most art and literature about the Holocaust is governed by certain unspoken rules.

Among these are the notions that the Holocaust must be portrayed as an utterly unique event; that it must be depicted with scrupulous accuracy, and with the utmost seriousness, so as not to obscure its enormity or dishonor its dead. In what way does Maus, Night, and This Way for the Gas obey, violate, or disprove these “rules”?

How do you start an essay review?

In the introduction of your review essay, you should provide some background information on the text, object, or event that you are reviewing. This background information should help set up the main idea or theme of your essay. Then, after introducing the topic of your essay, you should state your thesis statement.

Can a review be an essay?

How to Write a Review Essay and Get A+ A review essay is exactly what it sounds like. It is an evaluation of an author’s written work. Review essays are analytical in nature. They are supposed to dissect an author’s work, developing an argument that supports a particular theme, presenting evidence to strengthen the argument and then delivering a conclusion.

  • Review essays are not necessarily expected to hone your research skills.
  • Rather, they are more concerned with your writing and analytical talents.
  • With the help of, you will get inspiration and a high-quality essay review example The process of writing an essay of this sort typically involves the following: 1.

You need to provide a title. You should also remember to provide all the relevant personal details such as the course number, the instructor’s name, and your name.2. The first stage of a review essay requires that you ask some sort of question. If you don’t have a question, your teacher will encourage you to find a theme that your essay will address.

  • Once this is done, you need to tell the reader the conclusion you have reached regarding your question or theme.
  • You should explain the methods you will use to argue your stance.3.
  • At this point, all you have written in the introduction.
  • Once it is complete, you can proceed to the body of your essay.
  • This is where you take a deep dive into your theme.

Tell the readers why it matters in the first place and what drove you to pursue it. Start reviewing the works at the center of your review essay. In most cases, you are expected to make comparisons and contrasts in your effort to explore the theme or question at the center of your essay.

  • It is in the body that you present the argument behind the conclusion you reached.4.
  • The body is the densest part of the essay.
  • Once it is done, you can jump to what would pass for a conclusion to the essay.
  • Here, you need to raise and respond to the criticisms that you expect your conclusion to attract.

If there are additional questions raised by the work being reviewed, present them. None of the steps outlined above are easy, so you must prepare for some late nights. You need to understand that review essays can take a variety of shapes and formats. There is no singular method of approaching the assignments in this field.

For instance, recommends: 5. You can choose to tackle a single literary work. This normally involves identifying a relevant author and summarizing their work. Such essays are designed to not only restate ideas and arguments but to determine how effectively they accomplished their objectives.6. You can tackle multiple works from the same author.

This is a more difficult undertaking because you have to analyze multiple literary sources before finding some sort of thread that connects them. IN other words, you have to approach the individual works of a single author as singular pieces of the same puzzle that spell out a particular revelation about the author’s career.

Such review essays are almost biographical.7. If single works or the numerous works of authors are not your cups of tea, you have the option of exploring a single topic. This involves identifying a topic of interest and then comparing and contrasting the disparate views of various experts on that same topic.

Essays of this sort do not necessarily offer definitive conclusions. Rather, they reveal the attitudes that surround your topic of choice. They can also present new ways of interpreting or approaching the topic. Some students will go so far as to critique the sources they are reviewing.

This is also acceptable. Review essays can be very broad. This works in the favor of students because it gives them room to experiment. You just have to remember to select a striking topic for your review essay. All review essays are expected to have a central theme or question, regardless of whether you are tackling single works, multiple works or single topics.

Ensure that the focus of your essay is immediately engaging to the reader. This is the easiest way to hook your teacher’s interest. A teacher can take a lenient approach to score your essay if they were captivated by your work. Of course, your writing and analytical skills are just as important.

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What is the introduction of a review essay?

An Introduction to Writing Review Articles – the Node Last week, I gave a talk (online, of course) about ‘Writing review articles’. It was aimed at graduate students who, as part of their training, had to identify a topic in the field of developmental biology and write a mini-review on that particular topic.

  1. However, my talk contained some general advice about writing review-type articles, as well as some general writing tips, so I thought I’d share a summary of it here.
  2. Types of Review articles I guess the first thing to point out is that review-type articles come in lots of different ‘flavours’.
  3. They all vary with regard to length, scope, style and overall purpose, and are given different names by different journals.

But they all aim to summarise and distill research findings. This makes them very different to primary research articles, whic h aim to present data, although they are handled in similar way, i.e. they are submitted to a journal and peer-reviewed by 2-3 experts in the field. The many names that journals use to label review-based articles What’s the purpose of a (good) Review article? A good review article might aim to:

summarise key research findings highlight ‘must-read’ articles in the field act as educational material

However, an excellent review article will also:

be timely provide critique of studies highlight areas of agreement as well as controversies and debates point out gaps in knowledge and unanswered questions highlight current technologies that are helping/can help the field suggest directions for future research

But remember that readers are usually a mix of experts and non-experts who will be looking for very different things so a good review will cater for both of these audiences. For example, a graduate student might turn to a review article when they start in a new lab to find out more about the history of a field, or to get a summary of key findings.

By contrast, an experienced post-doc or PI might want to read a review written by one of their peers to find out what the current state of thinking in a field is. Ideally, a good review should therefore aim to provide a combination of balanced summaries and critique whilst being authoritative, forward-looking and inspirational.

However, note that the exact ‘flavour’ or format of the review will also dictate its purpose, e.g. a ‘Perspective’ article in Journal X might aim to summarise a handful of recent studies, whereas an ‘Essay’ in Journal Y might aim to provide a more comprehensive analysis of the last decade of research. How To Write A Review Essay The things that different types of readers look for in review articles Where to begin? The first step is to choose the topic you want to write on and come up with a rough idea of the scope of your article. You may already have this in mind but it’s important, before you begin writing, to really nail the exact purpose of your article. To help you do this, I‘d suggest the following:

Identify the particular theme/topic/idea that you want to focus on. In most cases, this will be something that’s closely related to the topic you work on, e.g. you might be working on something, or reading up on a particular area, and feel that a review would be helpful. If you need inspiration (i.e. if you want to write but aren’t sure what to write about), read, speak to people, and think about talks you’ve been to. What’s exciting in your field right now? Are there papers that change the way we think about something? Have you seen/read papers that converge on a similar theme/idea? Check that there aren’t already reviews on this topic, i.e. something that’s been published within the past year or so. This is important; no-one wants to read a review that doesn’t offer anything new. Decide if there is enough recent material to include (or too much). At this point, you may need to go back to the drawing board to either expand on or refine the scope of your article. It’s also helpful to read a few reviews (mini-reviews vs longer reviews) to get a feel for how much material a review can cover. Identify and write down the main aim/purpose of your article. What’s the key message you want to get across? Why is this important and timely? Why would people want to read your article?

Note that lots of reviews are commissioned, i.e. the author is invited to write by a journal/editor. So, if you know you want to write a review on a particular topic and have a pretty clear idea of what your review will cover, a good place to start is by contacting a journal to see if they’d consider it.

Think about the sections/sub-sections you might use. What material would you cover in each of these? What’s the message of each section? How can you link the sections? Think about the key concepts/words/specialist terms that you need to introduce and define. Where, when and how should you introduce these? (e.g. in Intro, in a figure, in a text box). What needs to be introduced first? What’s the best order in which to discuss these? Think about the display items (figures, text boxes, tables) that might be helpful. How/when should they be used? What material would they contain?

When you start writing Once you have a plan, you can start writing. I’d suggest that you start with the Title, Abstract and Introduction – these are the first parts that the reader sees of the article so they need careful thought. By starting off with these, you’ll also have the scope/purpose of the article clear in your own mind.

Title, Abstract and Introduction: These should be short and self-contained, and should complement each other. Each one in turn should provide more detail, aiming to draw the reader in. Remember: lots of readers will only read the title and abstract (e.g. when they search for articles in Pubmed) so these basically act as a ‘hook’ to grab their attention. They also need to be ‘discoverable’ on the Web, i.e. database friendly and containing the relevant keywords. Choosing a title: Choose something that is short, clear and self-explanatory; try to avoid puns/idioms and colloquial phrases or references. Try to convey the key message but also provide context. Abstract: The abstract should then aim to highlight the most important parts of the article. The answers to the following 5 questions provide a good starting point: What is the main topic you’re going to focus on? What do we know so far? What is new/why is this now an interesting time for this field? What are the broad implications of these newer findings? What does your review aim to do? Introduction: The Introduction should then expand on the Abstract and set the scene. Provide context by first introducing the topic: why is this topic interesting/significant, what do we know about it so far, how has the field progressed, what has the new progress shown? Ideally, the Introduction should end with a clear description of the article’s scope, aims and structure, i.e. a walk-through of the main topics that will be discussed and the order in which these will be covered. This just lets the reader know what they can expect from the article. If possible, introduce or re-iterate the main ‘message’ of the article. Conclusions: Emphasize the key message or theme of the article and, if needed, reiterate the data that support this message. Highlight the broader significance of this conclusion. Finally, if possible, bring your voice to the article: What do you think are the most compelling questions raised by these studies? What approach(es) could be taken to address these open questions? Are there technical hurdles that need to be overcome? What are the broader implications of this, i.e. why are further studies needed and what benefits might they offer? Display items: Use figures to emphasize or illustrate key concepts/processes, or to introduce or summarize, Remember that figures should ideally act as stand-alone items; you should be able to follow them by eye and without referring to the main text, although each figure should have a clear title and a figure legend the walks the reader through the figure. In general, schematics are easier to follow than images reproduced from primary articles. Tables can be useful for summarizing lots of information, for comparing/contrasting things, or for highlighting advantages and disadvantages. Some journals encourage the use of text boxes, which can house additional or background information or material that is peripheral to the main theme of the text.

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General things to think about while you’re writing (and to re-visit before you finish off!) Structure

Try to group your discussion into sections/sub-sections. This just helps to break up long chunks of text (and helps to keep the reader interested). If you already have a plan (e.g. a list of headings/sub-headings) this structuring will be much easier. Each section should begin with a small introduction. Each sub-section (and/or even each paragraph) should then have a clear message/point to it, e.g. What question did particular sets/types of studies set out to address? What did these show (and here you can go into the detail)? What could be concluded from these? It’s also helpful to add in a few lines to wrap up each section and ease transition into the next section.


Make sure that all statements are adequately supported by a citation. Cite the source/primary article whenever possible (but note that it is okay to cite Reviews for established concepts or to refer to a large body of evidence). Think about the word count and how much can be covered/how much detail you can go in to; you may find that it’s easier to write lots first then trim at a later stage. Avoid regurgitating the conclusions drawn in the papers you cite without giving them some thought. Don’t shy away from discussing findings that contradict each other. It’s better to highlight what can/cannot be reconciled and the possible cause of any discrepancies. Also use this as an opportunity to draw out the questions that remain and discuss how these questions could be addressed. Similarly, remain balanced – make sure you discuss the findings from the field as a whole (and not just the data from a few select labs). Make it clear when you are stating results versus providing speculation or alternative interpretations. Provide critique if you canbut keep it polite and constructive.


Remember your audience: the article needs to accessible to expert and non-expert readers alike. Introduce/define/explain specialist terms, cell types, tissues, phrases on first mention. Consider using display items to house any material that a non-expert reader might find useful. Don’t assume the reader knows what you’re thinking and how things link together; you might feel like you’re sometimes stating the obvious but it’s better to do this than to leave readers feeling lost.


Stick to using clear and simple sentencesbut try to vary the pace of your writing, e.g. by using a mixture of long and short sentences. A general rule is to write as you would speak, using active rather than passive tense/sentence construction. Be thrifty with your words: completely eliminate any that aren’t needed. Avoid vague sentences. For example, say ‘Factor A causes an increase/decrease in Factor B’, rather than ‘Factor A modulates Factor B’.

Importantly, be patient and don’t get frustrated! A good writing style needs to be developed over time and comes with practice. Of all the things highlighted above (structure, content, accessibility and style), I’d say that style is the hardest to really nail.

  1. Getting a good and consistent writing style is also challenging if you have multiple authors working on the same article.
  2. In this case, I’d recommend that you nominate one author to do a final comb-through to iron out any inconsistencies, although hopefully you’ll have an editor who’ll also assist with this! On this note, I should point out that the amount of input you receive from an editor will vary from journal to journal, e.g.

some journals have dedicated editors who spend a significant amount of time, working alongside the authors, to edit and improve a review. How To Write A Review Essay Developing your writing style Finally, some tips from fellow editors! We have a bunch of experienced editors here at the Company of Biologists so I asked them all for their key pieces of advice. Here are just some of the things they suggested:

Plan, plan, plan – make sure you have a good idea of the overall structure before you think about details Get feedback. Before you submit your review, send it to someone whose opinion you trust and ask them for their honest thoughts. Don’t be discouraged if they give lots of feedback – this is exactly what you want! A review shouldn’t just be a list of facts, e.g. X showed this, Y showed this, Z showed this. A narrative thread or argument that connects is much more engaging. Take time to pull back and look at the overall structure. Does it make sense? Can you see how the ideas join together and flow from beginning to end? Remember that readers aren’t psychic. Explain why you’ve chosen the scope you have, why you’ve chosen to discuss particular examples, why you’re moving on to the next topic. Also make sure you clearly link up relevant observations and state conclusions rather than expecting the reader to make connections. Don’t assume that the reader can link two statements that you might be able to link in your mind; you have to explain the link. Think about the graphics at an early stage – figures can often feel like a bit of an afterthought but good figures can really help to get the message across far more concisely than text. Break the article up into sections so that people can easily find the particular piece of information they might be looking for; recognize that not everyone is going to read from start to finish. Remember that your readers will know far less about the topic than you do. So before you dive into the new and exciting findings in the field, make sure you’ve given a clear overview of the system you’re writing about. Imagine that you’re writing for a new PhD student who’s never worked in this particular field.

One final point: there’s no ‘winning formula’. This is just my advice based on the articles I’ve handled and the authors I’ve dealt with, so you may find that some of it doesn’t work for you or that someone else’s advice differs. Ultimately, you should aim to develop a writing approach, technique and style that works for you. Happy writing! ( 39 votes) Loading. : An Introduction to Writing Review Articles – the Node

What is a review essay?

What is a Review Essay? – A review essay is a synthesis of primary sources (mainly research papers presented in academic journals) on a given topic. A biological review essay demonstrates that the writer has thorough understanding of the literature and can formulate a useful analysis.

While no new research is presented by the writer, the field benefits from the review by recieving a new perspective. There are several approaches one may take when writing a biological review: A State of the art review A state of the art review considers mainly the most current research in a given area.

The review may offer new perspectives on an issue or point out an area in need of further research. A Historical review A historical review is a survey of the development of a particular field of study. It may examine the early stages of the field, key findings to present, key theoretical models and their evolution, etc.

  • A Comparison of perspectives review A comparison of perspectives review contrasts various ways of looking at a certain topic.
  • If in fact there is a debate over some process or idea, a comparison of perspectives review may illustrate the research that supports both sides.
  • A comparison of perspectives review may introduce a new perspective by way of comparing it to another.
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A Synthesis of two fields review Many times researchers in different fields may be working on similar problems. A synthesis of two fields review provides insights into a given topic based on a review of the literature from two or more disciplines. A Theoretical model building review A theoretical model building review examines the literature within a given area with the intention of developing new theoretical assumptions.

Does a review essay need a thesis?

How to Write an Article Review? – Writing a review article is not that hard if you know what steps to take. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to write a review example quickly and easily.

Before You Start

Before you start writing your review essay, there are a few pre-writing steps to take. The pre-writing process should consist of the following steps:

  • Pick the subject of your review (if it wasn’t specified by your professor);
  • Read the article fully multiple times;
  • Summarize the main ideas, points, and claims made in the article;
  • Define the positive (strong) aspects;
  • Identify the gaps or inconsistencies;
  • Find the questions that remained unanswered.

All these steps are needed to help you define the direction for your review article and find the main ideas you’d like to cover in it.


After you review articles and define the key ideas, gaps, and other details, map out your future paper by creating a detailed outline. Here are the core elements that must be included:

  • Pre-title page;
  • Corresponding author details (optional);
  • Running head (only for the APA style);
  • Summary page (optional);
  • Title page;
  • Introduction;
  • Body;
  • References/Works Cited;
  • Suggested Reading page (optional);
  • Tables and Figure Legends (if required by the professor).

This step is vital to organize your thoughts and ensure a proper structure of your work. Thus, be sure not to skip this step.


When you have an outline, students can move on to the writing stage by formulating compelling titles for their article reviews. Titles should be declarative, interrogative, or descriptive to reflect the core focus of the paper.

Article Citation

After the title should follow a proper citation of the piece you are going to review. Write a citation according to the required style, and feel free to check out a well-written article review example to see how it should look like.

Article Identification

Start the first paragraph of your review with concise and clear article identification that specifies its title, author, name of the resource (e.g., journal, web, etc.), and the year of publication.


Following the identification, write a short introductory paragraph. It should be to the point and state a clear thesis for your review.

Summary and Critique

In the main body of your article review, you should first make a detailed but not too extensive summary of the article you reviewed, its main ideas, statements, and findings. In this part, you should also reflect on the conclusion made by the author of the original article.


Lastly, you need to craft a compelling conclusion that recaps the key points of your review and gives the final, logical evaluation of the piece that was reviewed. After this, proofread your work and submit it.

Does a review need an introduction?

Your literature review, like any other document, should contain an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. Your introduction should clearly explain the overall research topic and the depth of the information to be presented; it often also explains the types of sources that will be used.

What are the 5 points of an introduction?

Elements of an Effective Introduction – For a printable copy, click here: Elements of an Effective Introduction Elements of an Effective Introduction After the executive summary (which we will study in another lesson), the introduction is probably the most important part of the report.

Busy readers may only read this section. The introduction must do five things: (1) it provides background to the situation; (2) it identifies the problem; (3) it argues that the problem needs to be solved; (4) it summarizes the solution; (5) it establishes the writer’s credibility. It must demonstrate that the writer has good will, knowledge of the scope and complexity of the issue, and a thoughtful solution to it.

You might consider using all or some of the following eight elements. (From Joseph Williams, personal communication, spring 1992): • Definition of the topic – Let the reader know the paper is about and define key terms. • Historical understanding of the topic – Let the reader know the background and what people have wrongly believed about the topic in the past.

  1. Current understanding of the topic – Let the reader know what people wrongly believe now about the topic.
  2. Refutation of any of the above – Hint at the reasons these understandings are wrong.
  3. A statement of the problem – State the problem in a clear thesis.
  4. Negative consequence(s) if is not solved – What bad things will happen if the problem isn’t solved? • Positive consequence(s) if it is solved – What good things will happen if the problem is solved? • A hint at the solution(s) – Very briefly tell the reader how the problem can be solved.

Which of the eight elements is in the following introduction? If some are missing, where might they be added? Would they be necessary? Why or why not? Nitrates are salts of nitric acid that can cause a disease called methemoglobinemia (blue baby syndrome) in infants.

Excessive consumption of nitrates can cause hemoglobin problems in adults. Nitrates are filtering through the ground and contaminating local wells and drinking water systems. Sources of nitrates include nitrogen fertilizers (commercial and residential), breakdown of manure, and human wastes in septic effluent.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set a mandatory standard level of 10 parts per million (ppm) under the Safe Water Drinking Act passed by Congress. Presently, several are wells have been shut down or are very near to exceeding EPA limits.

How many words should a review essay be?

Making a Plan – Book reviews are usually 600 to 2,000 words in length. It is best to aim for about 1,000 words, as you can say a fair amount in 1,000 words without getting bogged down. There’s no point in making a book review into a 20-page masterpiece since the time would have been better spent on an academic essay that would count for more on your c.v.

What is the difference between review essay and research essay?

A research paper is usually more detailed and thorough than a review paper. A research paper is usually peer-reviewed, but a review paper is not always. In general, a research paper is more formal than a review paper. A research paper’s tone is normally objective, but a review paper’s tone can be more subjective.

Is a review paper same as essay?

The main difference between an essay and this kind of literature review is that an essay focuses on a topic, and uses the literature as a support for the arguments. In a standalone literature review, the literature itself is the topic of discussion and evaluation.

What is a good starting sentence for an essay?

Frequently asked questions about the essay introduction – What is a hook? The “hook” is the first sentence of your essay introduction, It should lead the reader into your essay, giving a sense of why it’s interesting. To write a good hook, avoid overly broad statements or long, dense sentences. Try to start with something clear, concise and catchy that will spark your reader’s curiosity.