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Lehigh University Libraries - Library Guides

RARE/BDSI: Library Resources

Review Articles

Review articles give a bird's eye view of a field or niche within a field.The titles of these articles often have a slightly higher level or "generic" quality than the titles of  articles reporting very specific research findings.

Values of review articles:

  • can help supply background knowledge to supplement other sources of same
  • a recent, good review article will summarize the state of the art
  • They can contain valuable bibliography.
  • older review articles can you help you trace the history of work on a subject; for reasons why that's valuable, see here.

Some databases give you the ability to limit your search results to review literature.

  • Web of Science:  do a "topic" search. When the search results come up, look for the category "Document Types" on the left. Look for "review" in the list of document types. Refine your research by restricting to those.You might have to click "more options/values..." to see if any review articles come up.
  • PubMed, after you do a literature search, look in the upper left; see "Article types", under which is "Review". Click to get review articles.
  • Annual Reviews:  enables you  to cross-search for a wide variety of subjects covered in the many subject specific review journals that comprise Annual Reviews. Make sure to find a recent review article by sorting the search results so that most recent articles appear first.

Writing a Review Article

This  article has pointers about writing review articles. The reason why it's in this library guide is that it might give you pointers, useful for doing presentations (even if you are not writing a review!) that involve synthesizing and giving a good overview of scientific literature.

An informative presentation that gives an overview of a field will have some of the same features as a good review article.

The ability to synthesize and then write clearly and accurately about a body of literature, in whatever form (written or spoken), is a valuable skill in whatever you do!