What Is a Review Paper? Everything You Need to Know

What is a review paper? The first time handling a review paper may come with its fair share of confusion. Although you may be familiar with a research paper, the review paper often evokes multiple questions from students.

If you have any confusion regarding the review paper, this article will analyse the review paper and compare it with common academic assignments. The article will, therefore, highlight the nuances of a review article, helping you overcome any confusion and submit an outstanding paper.

What is a review article in research?

A review article is an academic paper summarizing the existing knowledge within a field. This paper analyses various sources on a topic to show the extent of research in a given niche, thus, helping a reader get a clear perspective of advancements in research.

Often, the review paper ranges between three thousand and five thousand words and offers a balanced perspective of the topic. 

Review paper vs research paper

A review paper and the research paper differ in that the review paper is based on other published works whereas a research paper is based on original research and the analysis of raw data. 

As such, the research paper seeks to answer various research questions by conducting experiments to investigate a given phenomenon. This is in contrast with the review paper that only seeks to establish the extent of research within a given topic.

Literature review vs research paper

Like the review paper, the literature review differs from the research paper based on its purpose. The literature review is a section of a research paper that gauges all the sources related to a field to highlight research gaps.

The literature review also offers a summary of existing knowledge and, unlike the research paper, does not tackle original insights into the field. 

How to review a paper

The approach taken to write a review paper is a great determinant of the quality of your paper and your writing experience. Some of the steps to consider when writing a review paper include:

  1. Skim through the paper

Before evaluating the key points in your paper, gauge the paper to identify the main question, the relevance of the research paper to the field, the consistency of the conclusions, and flaws in various arguments. 

In this step, you may consider searching for counterarguments to the topic for easy analysis of various inconsistencies within the paper.

  1. Gauge each section of the paper

After skimming through each section of the paper, gauge each chapter to identify the flaws in the argument and provide the reasoning for various conflicting arguments. 

  1. Outline your review paper

After familiarizing yourself with the literature under study, develop an outline of the major claims you intend to tackle within your review paper. the outline will allow you to organize your arguments and also help you overcome confusion as you write your paper. 

  1. Draft and edit your paper

After outlining your paper, write the first draft and review it to rid your paper of errors that may compromise your final score. You may consider reaching out for expert help to pinpoint the errors that you might have easily glossed over. 

Review paper outline

The review paper outline is divided into an introduction, a body, a discussion, and a conclusion. The introduction covers a fifth of the paper’s wordcount and carries the hook and relevance of the research.

The body expands on the evidence of your work and the arguments contained within the item under review. Your conclusion then summarizes your paper, highlighting the state of research on a topic and recommending the research that’s needed to tackle the gaps within the existing research. 

Final take

We hope that this guide on the review article vs research article has answered any questions you had regarding the review paper. You must read a paper review example to better familiarize yourself with the review paper.