Literature review articles are a critical form of publication. While all research articles require a literature review section, some articles are purely dedicated stand-alone literature reviews only, published as review articles or survey articles by journals. There exists a certain journal dedicated to such articles.
Review articles are extremely popular with professionals, young students, and novice researchers benefiting immensely from such evaluations of the existing literature in their fields of expertise. Review articles also tend to be highly cited, making them appealing for both journals and authors.
Here are some key tips on how to write a good literature review article for journal publication.
Depth of knowledge: depth and breadth of knowledge is necessary to produce a truly insightful and useful literature review for publication in a journal. A review article is not just about reporting recent literature on the subject that you have come across, but really about giving a unique perspective that threads all these together. One has to read the articles, grasp their essence, and then write about it with authority and interpretive wisdom which is intellectually challenging. While most journals prefer to invite experienced experts to write literature reviews, some do accept unsolicited author submitted manuscripts for publication provided they are of high caliber.
Choice of topic: The topic must not too broad and not too narrow and choose one correctly for the type of review you would like to write. Pick a narrow topic if you intend to write a short crisp review, either about a certain procedure/methodology being explored in your field or certain types of experiments being conducted. For a wider and theoretical exploration of new ideas or burning issues in your field, choose a topic that is wide enough so that you will be able to find enough articles to discuss.
Define the scope of the article: It is very important to limit the scope of the article in order to ensure that you do not lose focus. The point of a good literature review is sharing your perspective while amalgamating various perspectives or viewpoints. It is critical not to be deviate in your discussion by shifting focus to what the others were trying to say. Remember, people will read your article for what you want to say.
Thorough background research: a literature review requires thorough background research. You have to extensively read on the subject, even if you are not covering or referencing every article that you read. While the seminal works deserve a focus, remember there are many others who might have contributed to the field as well. It is critical to develop a wider perspective and then focus and cite some key articles only in your manuscript.
Constructive criticism: A review, while being critical, should not be about nitpicking. You may differ with some authors, or highlight some lacuna that needs to be explored in the field. However, your manuscript must reflect areas of development and encouragement for your readers, and offer new grounds for academic activism on the topic. Only then will a journal consider it for publication.