A research paper is a primary source that reports the methods and results of an original study performed by the authors. It is based on original research.
A research study may vary (it could have been an experiment, survey, interview, etc.), but authors need to collect and analyze raw data and conduct an original study. The research paper will be based on the analysis and interpretation of this data, and conclusions drawn from the results of that analysis.
Research papers contains a brief introduction that often include a review of the existing literature on the topic studied, and explain the rationale of the author’s study, a methods section, where authors describe how they collected and analyzed data, a results section where the outcomes of the data analysis are described. In the discussion, authors will explain their interpretation of their results and theorize on their importance to existing and future research. References or works cited are always included.
Research papers can contain up to 7500 words but mostly 5000 words.
A review article is a secondary source that writes about other articles, and does not report original research of its own. It is based on other published articles. It does not report original research.
Review articles generally summarize the existing literature on a topic in an attempt to explain the current state of understanding on the topic.
Review articles are very important, as they draw upon the articles that they review to suggest new research directions, to strengthen support for existing theories and/or identify patterns among existing research studies.
Review papers form valuable scientific literature as they summarize the findings of existing literature. So readers can form an idea about the existing knowledge on a topic without having to read all the published works in the field.
Review articles can be of two kinds: A narrative review explaining the existing knowledge on a topic based on all the published research available on the topic; a systematic review searching for the answer to a particular question in the existing scientific literature on a topic which may or may not include a meta-analysis. A meta-analysis is a kind of research design used in a systematic review to compare and combine the findings of previously published studies, usually to assess the effectiveness of an intervention or mode of treatment.
Review articles vary considerably in length. Narrative views may range between 8000 and 40000 words (references and everything else included). Systematic reviews are usually shorter with less than 10000 words. A range of 50 100 references in most cases is appropriate.
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Institute of Nursing Research, Nigeria
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