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Literature Review Biomedical Sciences



A review is an academic paper that provides an overview and critique of relevant literature published on your topic of investigation. You are experienced in reading and writing research papers that make an academic contribution through their own unique data set (scientific articles). Although a review uses no new or original data, it still provides an academic contribution through the interpretations it makes and the conclusions it draws. A good review provides a comprehensive summary of that field (comprehensive but not exhaustive- you are not writing a textbook). It should demonstrate that you have knowledge of the relevant research done in the field. The review should describe relevant pathologies/ mechanisms and interactions relevant to your subject. As well as describing and summarizing research done, the review also provides a critique. The review should highlight relevant debates, contradictory results, and disputed theoretical approaches. The review should identify innovative research and, where relevant, weaknesses in studies. The review provided an interpretation through the way the information is organized (argument) and the conclusions that are drawn.

The literature review should be in narrative (essay) form. It should include a summary, introduction, main body and conclusion sections. Use sub-headings within your sections. You are not writing a systematic review. You do not need to list the search terms you used in your literature search, nor do you need to give inclusion, exclusion criteria for articles chosen. You do not need to include a methodology and you do need to perform a meta-analysis or other statistical calculations.

max 3000 words.

Course objectives

The student has:

  • demonstrated understanding of the subject area

  • identified key contributors to the field

  • recognized the current state of research in (frontier of science)

  • identified major debates e.g. conflicting theories/ contradictory findings

  • critical engagement with the subject – through own conclusions/ interpretations

  • produced a well argued paper (scope/direction/coherence/categorization)

Supervision and evaluation
A scientist active in the field chosen; this may be a teacher from a BW subject. If you need help finding a supervisor, contact the course coordinator.

Send a short description of the subject, and the name of the supervisor, to the coordinator for approval. Supervision will also be given by one of the CIS teachers. If there is sufficient interest a workshop can be organized.

The review is to be written during the first semester of the third year.

Assessment method

The final grade is determined by the course coordinator, based on the grade of the content supervisor (70%) and CIS (30%).