Dear Pharmainfo.net friends
I want to share with you my ideas regarding how a review article is to be written. We basically write a review article in a field in which we have done some research or in a field in which we are currently planning or carrying out research. You may say that a review article presents the theoretical background of your research problem, in a methodical manner, but it also contains citations of a number of national and international authors from a wide variety of journals. A review article is a systematic discussion of the state of the art in the specific area of research.
First step in the preparation of a review article is collection of literature. For this also we must follow a procedure, it must not be done in a haphazard manner. The modern method is to go into GOOGLE and type the relevant key words. When the literature turns up, we read it and keep what we want and reject what we do not want. In utilizing research available on the net, we must remember that we must take articles from authentic sources only and reject anything that is coming from biased sources. Peer reviewed journals are supposed to be authentic sources of information. The method which most of us old timers used is to go to the library and refer what are called International Pharmaceutical Abstracts. These abstracts contain abstracts from all recognized journals on all recognized key words. We search these journals for the key words. We go through all the available abstracts and record in our note book, the abstracts that are most relevant to our research. We read these abstracts at leisure and pick up the ones that are most relevant for our presentation.
The second step is to trace the original research papers and obtain them, either by going to the journal or by writing to the author and requesting for a copy. After obtaining these research papers, we carefully read them and understand them. Then we sit down with the most relevant papers and sit down to write our review article.
The title must reflect the contents in the text. Title must have technical words rather than simple words and title must be sharp and clear. This should be followed by the names of the authors. Usually the name of the person/scholar who worked on the article will be first author and the name of the guide who gave the ideas and who corrected the paper comes as second author.
This is followed by a running title which is a shortened version of the main title.
This is followed by a concise abstract. Abstract must bring out the salient features of the article because many people read the abstract only and do not get access to the main paper. This should be followed by a brief introduction and then some explanation of the background of our statement. Next we go on making different statements or different parts of the work we are discussing and support it with the reported literature. Or, we may give different literature reports and say some work supports what we stated but some other work is contrary to our statement.
After submitting all the references that we have, we conclude our paper, by summarizing our submission and recording our conclusions.
Review articles usually run into 15 to 30 pages. They contain up to date information. They are very useful sources of knowledge. They are written by scientists who have worked for long years in the field. This long period of work gives an intuitive authority to them over the field and this makes interpretation of the work very easy to them. Review articles usually contain long lists of references, running into 80s and 100s. They usually end by suggesting scope for further work. They may also make some predictions about future possibilities also.
In the year, 2004, we presented a review article on the role of chemical penetration enhancers in the International Journal of Pharmaceutical Excipients. (1).This article was written at the time our scholar, Mr. P.Bhaskar was submitting his thesis on transdermal drug delivery systems involving penetration enhancers.
We prepared another review article and published it in Indian drugs 43(8) August 2006.(2) This is also based on literature collected when we were still doing the work.
We wrote one review article with the title "Key formulation Variables in Tableting of coated Pellets" in Indian Journal of pharmaceutical Sciences, September- October 2008.(3). In this paper we introduced the topic, explained the important factors and then steadily presented the present important literature. In our conclusions, we summarized the current literature and indicated some important directions for work. This paper was prepared based on the literature collected by Mr. Dwibhashyam VSNM, when he was halfway through his work
To summarize, then, review articles usually contain, the latest updates of the research work done in a specific narrow area of research (4) . They contain a large number of references and are written by scientists who have good knowledge in the field and who have research in the field. They present the topic, give brief history, discuss the present scenario and the present the most recent research (published research ) in the field. Then they throw light on the possibilities for research in the coming period. They predict the possible ramifications in the field of research on that topic. Such review articles are later referenced by text books. Review articles play a very important role in chronicling research and in indicating the proper directions for research.
1.P. Bhaskar, Y.S.R. Krishnaiah and J. Vijaya Ratna " Transdermal Drug Delivery: Role of Chemical Penetration Enhancers- A Review" International Journal of Pharmaceutical Excipients Vol.3, No.1, pp.6-17, 2004.
2.Dwibhashyam VSNM, and Vijayaratna J, "The permeability glycoprotein (P-GP) - a threat to effective drug therapy?" Indian drugs 43(8) August 2006.
3.V.S.N. Murthy Dwibhashyam and J.Vijaya Ratna, "Key formulation variables in tableting of coated pellets", Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, September-october 2008.
4.Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, September-october 2008, Instructions to Authors, page iv.