Why should you work on a review paper before selecting a topic for research?

Selecting a research topic is one of the most important aspects of a research journey. It forms the base of the entire research and dissertation/thesis. Choosing a topic requires expertise in the relevant field. The topic selected must be significant, feasible, unique and manageable. Topic selection involves working on a review paper and brainstorming ideas.

Review paper provides a systematic and comprehensive summary of techniques & results in the given field of study, thereby enabling the researcher to view the topic under consideration in a new perspective. Review paper includes both qualitative (narrative) and quantitative (meta-analysis & systematic review) components. 

Although the purpose associated with a review paper varies depending on the type of research, it is vital to work on them owing to the number of benefits offered by the review papers. 

  1. Identifies the cause of the problem - Review paper helps the researcher to figure out the causes of the problem and provides new understandings regarding the causes of the problem. It also determines the inconsistencies in the existing research methods & techniques and suggests new possible research approaches & techniques. 

  2. Determines & fills the research gap - It offers synthesized & integrated summary of the present knowledge state and suggests missing aspects in the existing research. It guides on how to interpret the results, how to perform analysis, and where & how to look for relevant answers. 

  3. Resolves conflicts in literature - It suggests possible approaches to resolve the existing controversy. Review paper also aims to determine potential assumptions which must be investigated carefully and demonstrates arguments for & against when reviewing theoretical base & research question. 

  4. Suggests scope for improvement - Review papers gives a scope of improvement and explains the benefits of improving a study. It presents the aspects that are the least satisfactory and aspects that play a major role in significant improvements. 

  5. Evaluates criteria - Review paper suggests the use of specific criteria and reasons to opt it. It also determines the benchmarks and assesses the process involved in operationalizing the criteria (For instance, the steps involved in determining user-friendliness when evaluating electronic gadget). 

 The technical sophistication and methodological rigour imply that the studies focus on problems with fewer constructs. By summarising and synthesizing key results, reconciling conflicting issues, and drawing a big picture of review papers not only provides solid direction for future research, but also extends insights into new areas. 

However, not all review papers offer these advantages. A good & potential review paper includes the following three key factors. 

  1. The review paper should include analysis techniques, literature collection, and depth & breadth of literature coverage. 

  2. It should enable researchers to uncover the incremental insight, determine and draw obvious connections. 

  3. The research field should be well-suited & relevant to a review paper. If the existing research reveals heterogeneity or theoretical inconsistencies, then the body of the previous research should make the synthesis and integration valuable. 

Review papers can be useful for the progress of a research domain. From integrating insights from existing research, synthesizing the key results to identifying key conflicts & dilemmas that propose future research direction, review papers are worth working upon. 

Category : Research
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