Search Share A good peer review requires disciplinary expertise, a keen and critical eye, and a diplomatic and constructive approach. Writing a good review requires expertise in the field, an intimate knowledge of research methods, a critical mind, the ability to give fair and constructive feedback, and sensitivity to the feelings of authors on the receiving end. As a range of institutions and organizations around the world celebrate the essential role of peer review in upholding the quality of published research this week, Science Careers shares collected insights and advice about how to review papers from researchers across the spectrum. The responses have been edited for clarity and brevity.
Avoid common errors of punctuation and grammar. Use the first person I, we rather than the passive voice. Link your ideas into a sensible sequence without repetitions or discontinuities. Get feedback on your article from colleagues. In this Background section, make the topic interesting by explaining it in plain language and by relating it to actual or potential practical applications.
Explain any scientific principles underlying the topic.
Define and justify the scope of the review: Be specific about any database search you performed. Include the key words you used, and the ways you refined your search if necessary. We read 47 of these as full papers.
Of the 41 papers cited in this review, we were able to obtain the following only in abstract form: Do not give a summary paper-by-paper; instead, deal with themes and draw together results from several papers for each theme.
I have identified four themes for this section: These themes are dealt with under subheadings. I encourage you to use such subheadings, which will make it easier for you to write the review and easier for others to read it.
Quality of Published Work Look critically at any published work. The fact that something has been published does not mean the findings are automatically trustworthy. Some research designs are better than others see Hopkins, a. The most trustworthy conclusions are those reached in double-blind randomized controlled trials with a representative sample of sufficient size to detect the smallest worthwhile effects.
The weakest findings are those from case studies. In between are cross-sectional studies, which are usually plagued by the problem of interpreting cause and effect in the relationship between variables. How subjects were sampled is an important issue.
Be wary of generalizing results from novice athletes to elites. Something that enhances performance in young or untrained individuals may not work so well in highly trained athletes, who may have less headroom for improvement. There are big differences in the way data can be collected.
At one extreme are qualitative methods, in which the researcher interviews subjects without using formal psychometric instruments questionnaires.
At the other extreme are quantitative methods, in which biological or behavioral variables are measured with instruments or techniques of known validity and reliability. In the middle are techniques with uncertain precision and questionnaires with open-ended responses. Qualitative assessment is time consuming, so samples are usually small in size and non-representative, which in turn limit the conclusions that can be made about effects in a population.
The conclusions may also be biased by the prejudices of the researcher-interviewer.
Quantitative data collection is more objective, but for some projects it could miss important issues that would surface in an interview. A combination of qualitative methods for pilot work and quantitative methods for a larger study should therefore produce valuable conclusions, depending, of course, on the design.
You will probably find that your topic has been dealt with to some extent in earlier reviews.
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Cite the reviews and indicate the extent to which you have based your review on them. Make sure you look at the key original papers cited in any earlier reviews, to judge for yourself whether the conclusions of the reviewers are justified.Choose our professional online paper writer service.
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