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BIOS 251 Spring 2023

Review articles--value for writing textbook material

Textbook writing and review articles, a type of scholarly article that does what it says, involve different styles of writing. In a way, certain review articles can serve as a bridge from textbooks to more focused or granular scholarly articles.

However, a good review article can help summarize recent developments in research that you might want to mention in your textbooks writing.

Also, like textbook writing, writing review articles involves synthesizing lots of material, even if these two types of writing differ in other respects.

See below box about review articles.

Review Articles: Finding and Writing


"Review articles" are a type of scholarly article that gives a bird's eye view of the latest developments in a field or niche within a field. They can contain valuable bibliography. .

The titles of these articles often have a more generic quality than the titles of  articles reporting very specific research findings. For example, compare these titles:

  • Physiological responses of coastal and oceanic diatoms to diurnal fluctuations in seawater carbonate chemistry under two CO2 concentrations
  • History of Seawater Carbonate Chemistry, Atmospheric CO2, and Ocean Acidification

Which sounds more like a review article?

To see what goes into writing a review article, take a look at Ten Simple Rules for Writing a Literature Review (from Computational Biology


Look for the ability to restrict to review articles in the databases you use; for example, Web of Science allows this. 

After doing a Web of Science search, limit your results to just “review” articles. If you already did a Web of Science search while doing the class exercise and forget the search you ran, go to search history (upper right) in Web of Science and click on the search you already ran. Then, in the search results look under “document type” on the left and limit the results to review articles.

Look for the "Review Articles" link on the left side of search results after you do a Google Scholar search.

Another source (among others!) of review articles is the following database, which is dedicated to this type of article.  Tip:  sort the search results in descending date order so you see the most recent articles for your topic.)