Review Essays for the Biological sciences

Elements of a review paper

This guide explains each section of a review paper and gives specific information about what should be included in each.

Title Page

On the title page include the title, your name, and the date. Your instructor may have additional requirements (such as the course number, etc.) so be sure to follow the guidelines on the assignment sheet. Professional journals may also have more specific requirements for the title page.

Abstract

An abstract is a brief summary of your review. The abstract should include only the main points of your review. Think of the abstract as a chance for the reader to preview your paper and decide if they want to read on for the details.

Introduction

The introduction of your review should accomplish three things:

Discussion

The discussion section is the body of your paper. The discussion section contains information that develops and supports your thesis. While there is no particular form that a discussion section must take there are several considerations that a writer must follow when building a discussion.

Conclusions

Because the conclusions section often gets left for last it is often the weakest part of a student review paper. It is as crucial a part of the paper as any and should be treated as such.

A good conclusion should illustrate the key connections between your major points and your thesis as well as they key connections between your thesis and the broader discussion—what is the significance of your paper in a larger context? Make some conclusions—where have you arrived as a result of writing this paper?

Be careful not to present any new information in the conclusion section.

References

Here you report all the works you have cited in your paper. The format for a references page varies by discipline as does how you should cite your references within the paper.

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