Getting started Our topic was caspase substrates, a diverse group of proteins essential for programmed cell death and thus important to our understanding of how to kill cancer cells. I hope the following tips will help other scientists who find themselves in this kind of uncharted territory.
This was easy in my case, because my adviser and I both preferred that I be the main researcher and writer and that he act as a consultant on high-level issues.
However, I often ended up with a strong scaffolding onto which I could later add some of those dense, fact-laden sentences. Knowing that I work better when I focus on one project at a time, I spent the next two months carrying out all of my regular lab work while only pondering the review article and skimming the literature when I had time.
In the end, I finished by the deadline well, plus one two-week extension the editor agreed to grant me and was very happy with the product and with all I had learned about caspase substrates, about the scientific literature and about the review-writing process.
Rather than asking one or two people to help you edit the entire article, break it up into sections and ask a different colleague for his or her expert help in revising just one section on a topic with how to write a literature review scientific you know he or she is familiar. Impose some structure on the mess that is the scientific literature.
Narrowing the scope of the article to conform to these boundaries was perhaps the biggest challenge of this process.
He or she is your target audience and will let you know if there are sections that need to be revised for clarity. I worked my way backward to a set of about 10 key papers.
Your labmates and collaborators also can help you with the editing process.
Look for areas that have not yet been thoroughly reviewed or areas for which you think you have a fresh take on old data. Another strategy is to give part or all of your article to a first-year graduate student or to a scientist in a slightly different field. Your labmates and collaborators are invaluable resources.
Distilling all sorts of data from experiments done by scientists all around the world into a coherent story turned out to be very satisfying. I found nothing of the sort, so I plowed ahead on my own, inventing techniques for myself.
First, I found the most recent papers on the topic and went through them, picking out what looked like important references. I would work for 60 minutes, then take a sanity break, then work for another 60 minutes, and on and on.
Next, I combined those summaries into a single table. I developed a strategy for each research topic that I wanted to review including the broad survey section in the first half and the vignette sections in the second half.
On the other hand, with the Internet and all my PDFs in front of me, I tended to generate sentences that were very dense with information but not necessarily closely related to each other — and not always pertinent to the specific scientific narratives I was attempting to compose.
That was fine with me — as a fifth-year graduate student, I had learned to cope with, and even prefer, extreme independence. I tried to reassure myself by remembering that I had been rather good at writing term papers in college; but this was a larger task and one with the potential for having an impact on someone, somewhere, sometime who wanted to learn about caspase substrates.
Yes, I sometimes wrote things that were wrong or at least imperfect when constructing a section from memory. Get familiar with software like Papers or any other PDF-management softwareEndNote and Adobe Illustrator or whatever graphics program the journal suggests.
I did this by hand on paper; an Excel spreadsheet also would work. This usually is done by following the permissions instructions on the website of the journal in which the original figure appeared.
On days when I struggled with concentration, I often used a timer to structure my day. However, I am keenly aware of other cases that did not work out nearly as congenially. Make sure to get permission to reproduce any figures in your review. Tips for writing your first scientific literature review article BY Emily Crawford Emily Crawford often retreated to her apartment rooftop in San Francisco to write her review.
I was running a protein over a nickel column on a Sunday evening in February when my adviser approached me about co-authoring a review article for Annual Review of Biochemistry. Make an outline, keep lists of topics that are and are not within your scope, and remind yourself to stop any time your reading wanders outside your scope.How to Write a Mini Literature Review A literature review is a piece of discursive prose, not a list describing or summarizing one piece of literature after another.
This page features a discussion of each of the following components of writing a scientific review article: Choosing a topic and finding articles; What questions to answer in your review; Which sections to include and tips for writing them; Other tips and tricks are featured underneath this box.
Here you have a to-do list to help you write your review: A scientific literature review usually includes a title, abstract, index, introduction, corpus, bibliography, and appendices (if needed). Present the problem clearly. Mention the paper’s methodology, research methods, analysis, instruments, etc.
A literature review may constitute an essential chapter of a thesis or dissertation, or may be a self-contained review of writings on a subject.
In either case, its purpose is to: Place each work in the context of its contribution to the understanding of the subject under review. When I undertook the task of writing a scientific literature review article last year, I had hoped that a Google search would reveal a handful of how-to pages thoughtfully created by veterans of this particular writing process.
Why do we write literature reviews? Literature reviews provide you with a handy guide to a particular topic. If you have limited time to conduct research, literature reviews can give you an overview or act as a stepping stone. What should I do before writing the literature review? Clarify.
If your assignment is not very specific, seek.Download