August 9, 2017

A review, in a broad sense and more often, is a critical evaluation of goods, services, companies, or any types of publications. It is a summary subjected to the thorough analysis, classification, and comparison. Nowadays, it is rather hard to decide what movie to watch, what song to listen to, what video game to play, or what book to read, as there are way too many options available. The same relates to choosing an event to visit, a trend to follow, and the information to deem reliable. Here is where the reviews come especially handy.

What is a review paper and how it should be composed are not the only topics of the discussion in this article. This guide also describes the literature review as one of the works that are requested quite often in various educational institutions. The emphasis is made on the definition of the term itself, the structure, outline, and overall requirements for writing this type of the paper, including step-by-step instructions, which are recommended to follow when dealing with the literature and its analysis, synthesis, evaluation, and interpretation.



In order to organize a time effectively, it is reasonable to invest it in examining the already existing opinions based on the objective findings from the reliable sources. The opinion or judgment should comprise solid pieces of evidence and objective reasoning. It is not necessary to read the whole book from cover to cover to eventually, find out that it was not worth reading at all, especially when you don’t have much time, and there are many other things to do.

The following set of recommended steps can help you to determine what to write in a review of the required type.

Book Review

The main purpose of a book critique is to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the chosen literary piece. It focuses primarily on the analysis of the content, incorporating the summary of the plot when it supports the analysis. The summary can also be introduced in a short section at the beginning of the work, namely in the introduction. If the summary is longer than five sentences, it should be written in a separate paragraph after the introduction. The summary should be provided to help readers grasp the context in relation to the thesis statement.

The basis for the thesis statement should be the assessment of the objective and the claims of the author. The statement should tell whether the critique reckons that the author met his/her objective and whether the claims made by the author are valid. The evaluation should be supported by the pieces of evidence in the form of the certain examples from the book or other reliable sources that can substantiate the evidence.

What is review writing in terms of the main elements of evaluation? There is a great diversity of the possible things to consider, including genre and structure, the writing style and the theme, the characters, and narration. However, it is noteworthy that they should relate to the thesis statement. Each section of the body should provide the reader with the claim proving the statement, and include examples from the book as evidence.

Finally, the critique should restate the initial statement, list the main points, and offer the reader the general evaluation of the book. To sum up, you can state whether the text is worth reading, and suggest the target audience from your point of view.

Film Review

A film reviewer needs to aim at evaluating the overall quality of the movie and defining whether it is worth watching and recommending. This type of work combines the analysis of the formal techniques and thematic content of the film with personal reactions and judgments regarding it.

Film reviews imply a thorough preparation before watching the movie, as it can be rather useful to research the creators of the film and imagine what kind of meaning they might have put into it while watching. Exploring the previous works by the same director, writer, or even actor can enable you to determine their individual style, the connection, and tendencies in the chain of the previous works, and apply this knowledge to the context of the film under review. As a result, it will be easy to distinguish weather the film is a continuation of the distinctive trends or the disruption in the creators’ individual style.

In order to get a sense of the movie, you should devote some time to multiple viewings of the piece of work. After the first view, you will probably have no idea how to write a good review because the plot will fascinate you and grasp your attention. However, watching the second time, you can examine the interesting elements of the movie.

These elements can be divided into two main groups:

  • Formal techniques including cinematography, genre, lighting, editing, sound, mise-en-scene.
  • Thematic content that can be connected with such issues as history, gender, class, race, environment, or sexuality.

After making the notes of the main groups of elements of the film create the central idea that links them together. Continue watching it again and again till the core idea takes shape in your mind.

Although there is no fixed method, there are certain common steps to write a review:

First, you should provide some general information about the movie, such as its title, director(s), screenwriter(s), main/popular actors, and the year of production. The next step is to introduce the reader to the preliminary evaluation and the core concept of the assessment.

In the next section, provide the summary of the plot for those who have not seen the film yet. Afterward, describe your impression, communicating your sense of the visual, audial, or emotional content, which drew your attention and evoked certain emotions. The analysis characterizes the next step. It is based on the explanation of the watching experience from the perspective of the formal techniques and the thematic content.

To sum up, restate and summarize your impressions and recommend the film implicitly or explicitly.



A review paper aims to summarize the current state of work in a certain field. For those who are proficient in a particular field, reviews can be useful to keep up on their subject, and for those who do not understand a thing in the field under analysis, the reviews will be even more helpful. Such types of papers provide the main information on the subjects, involving a wide range of aspects.

This kind of work can be done either by an expert or by a relative beginner in the field. A review usually organizes, evaluates, and synthesizes the literature under study. Moreover, its purpose is to identify patterns, trends, as well as gaps in the literature, suggesting new research ideas and areas afterward.

To illustrate how to write a review paper, we will describe the most popular paper in this area – the literature review. The latter is an academic study of a number of works in the specific area, which focuses on a specific topic and analysis of the relationship between different works, relating this research to your work. It can be written as separate paper or be included in the research papers, even major ones such as thesis or dissertation.

The literature review writing tips can be introduced in the form of the steps to follow:

  • Make sure that you are aware of the required formatting style and will write the paper in accordance with the main rules of the style.
  • Choose the topic relevant to the one that you intend to implement in your future literature review of your final project.
  • Identify the sources that will be reviewed.
  • Analyze and organize the literature.

The main task on the analysis stage is to look through the articles to understand the main purpose and the content of the material. Sort the articles into categories, pointing out the topics and subtopics.

Take the necessary notes while conducting the analysis. Determine the core terms and note the differences in the way they are defined in different sources. Write down the primary statistical data, which can be used in the introduction of the paper. Find the useful quotes and note them in conjunction with the source details.

To avoid a simple description of various articles, focus on the strengths, weaknesses, and the main issue under study. Discuss the research methodologies, and point out the difference between the author’s statements and the actual research results.

While reading the sources, try to identify the major themes and patterns related to the reviewed topic. This stage requires you to synthesize the data and generalize it across a wide range of studies. You can also add the information on the inconsistencies across the relevant studies. Do not forget to pay attention to the gaps in the literature, trying to discuss the reason they exist. In addition, it is important to determine how the studies are connected and if you can use them all in your work. Make sure that the literature that you read is relevant to the topic.

Here are some review paper writing tips to consider:

  • Summarize the literature in a table format

This step benefits the writer in overviewing, organizing, and summarizing the results, and entails including the definition of the key terms and concepts, demonstrating the research methods and summary of the results. If the table is included in the paper, it should be accompanied by analysis, which synthesizes, summarizes, and interprets material that has been included in the table.

  • Synthesize the literature

The literature review paper outline should be developed from the notes mentioned above and the summarized information from the tables. The core elements of the outline are characterized by certain actions to be undertaken, which have to be subjected to the synthesis of the literature.

The first thing you should do before writing the paper and after making notes and creating tables is take the purpose of the survey into account. Define whether it should be connected to your final project or if you are writing it to show your command of the field of study, demonstrating the understanding of main concepts.

It is important to plan how the paper will be structured and organized in terms of the main findings. The results should be incorporated into the analysis of the idea that you have grasped while reading the literature and making notes. It is not just about listing the main ideas from the literature. You are supposed to describe the holistic picture of what you have read in terms of the chosen topic. You should not describe the trees. Moreover, you should not describe the forest, but create the new forest, using the trees found in the materials you read.

Afterward, think about the main idea of the paper. What is a review about? Identify the main theme of the paper, namely the main argument or statement. The text should support and underpin the main idea. Then, reassemble the notes in accordance with the flow of the argument. Make sure to discuss differences among studies, indicate the gaps in the fields of study, mention and explain the relevant theories and their relation to the individual studies. In addition, you can compare and contrast opinions of different writers regarding the issue under discussion, group those with the same or similar viewpoint on the problem, criticize the methodologies used, and indicate the areas where the views do not coincide.

Provide a summary in each section of the body and at the end of the whole work. Think about the conclusion – it should provide the reader not only with the comprehensive overview but also suggest the possible directions for future research. Finally, provide the outline with the data from your analysis.


Structure & Topic Choice

All writings have a structure to organize the text in a certain order. In this particular case, the paper consists of the introduction and background, the body of the paper, conclusion and the cited literature section. The introduction should be short, approximately 1/5 of the total length of the paper. It should be compelling and attention-grabbing, providing the background information on the topic.

The review paper topics vary from subject to subject, and from the field to field. They can be assigned by the tutor, or chosen by a student. However, the topic should not be too broad, as it can be rather difficult to organize the paper discussing a vague subject. It should also not be too narrow, as it can appear that there is no relevant literature on the issue.

It is noteworthy that the topic should be appealing to you, sparking the interest and motivating you to conduct the necessary research. To come up with a good topic, it is recommended to read several related to the issue concepts, and then decide on the number of possible topics and choose the strongest one.

The review structure is introduced by:

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Discussion
  • Conclusions
  • List of References

The main part of the paper describes important results from the recent sources, explains those findings from the perspective of the current understanding of the topic, describes the types of experiments conducted, and points out the corresponding data. In addition, this section of the paper should highlight the controversies in the field under research and use figure and/or tables to provide the reader with the synthesis of the original data made by the writer.

The conclusion should list the main points of the review, highlight the significance of the findings, discuss the issues that lack research and suggest how they can be addressed.

The literature cited section lists the sources used in the review. Normally, the number of sources that should be used is provided by the tutor.

Let’s review the critical review structure as an example:

  • Introduction
  • Summary
  • Critique
  • Conclusion

At the very beginning, in the introduction of the paper, the title of the article and the author should be mentioned. Then, the topic and the purpose of the reviewed work have to be indicated and commented on in terms of the importance. Provide the reader with the thesis statement and indicate whether you accept/ reject or partly accept the statement. In the body of the paper, you need to support your point of view on the matter in the critique.

The summary section aims to give all the necessary information for understanding the critique introduced after the overall summary. The latter should be objective, excluding any personal interpretation and discussion. When a research-based article is under review, provide the reader with the summary of each part of the paper, including:

  • Introduction, describing what exactly was done and whether the research is qualitative or quantitative
  • The background, indicating the purpose of the research
  • Hypothesis, discussing the idea proposed by the author and indicating facts used in the paper to support the hypothesis
  • Methods explaining the process of the research
  • Results and discussion introducing the findings and their meaning
  • Conclusion wrapping up the text

The critique aims to provide the reader with the comments and evaluation of the writing under review. The critique contains personal judgments, comments, and points of view. Here, one can discuss the argument and the perspective of the writing, the main terms, the arguers, and the evidence.

The conclusion of the critical review rephrases the most important comments presented in the introduction and sums up the main points of the critique. The conclusion can be introduced in the following main points:

  • The restatement of the purpose of the article/book
  • The judgment about the author’s success in achieving the defined goal relying upon the critique
  • The restatement of the reflection on the book/article being reviewed from the introduction.
  • The comment on the contribution of the reviewed material to the already existing literature in the area

The review is a rather challenging task to complete, but it also develops the writing skills as well as critical thinking, which are very important not only within the walls of the university or college but are also in demand in career building and life.

The writing services like Pro-Papers strive to raise the awareness of the stakeholders on the wide range of the papers, including the reviews. In addition, the professional writers are ready to help you with papers within the chosen deadline. You are welcome to order the customized review with our professional team anytime, and we will make sure you receive the work that will help you score a decent grade.


Category: Review paper writing

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