I am a junior (year-1) UG student, I have noticed that there are 2 different types of papers / publications, research and review papers. I would like to ask as a total beginner in reading papers, if I am interested in a particular topic (for me it is organic chemistry, biochemistry and cell biology), which type of papers is better, as to understand deeper into the topic and the general paragraph structure and uses of words in a formal paper?


1 Answer 1


Research papers by their very nature need to often focus on a very, very small and specialized topic. This means that it is hard to get an overview of the field by just reading research papers. Reviews are generally better at that. However, those reviews often still depend on the reader being familiar with what was previously done in that field. So beginning students often still struggle with these papers. Of particular use to students and researchers entering a new field are reviews aimed at a more general audience. For example, in economics there is an entire journal aimed at this type of review: the Journal of Economic Perspectives. Once you have an overview of the field, you can decide what kind of sub-topic interests you and find a research article. You can use those articles to refine your knowledge, and learn about the typical structure of a reseach article.

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    Thanks a lot. So to start off: I should first find review papers for the general audience, after acquiring some basic knowledge on the topic, then dive into some research papers aimed at some very specific topics?
    – user138351
    Apr 11, 2021 at 9:53
  • Yup! Thats the way to go about it!
    – Academic
    Apr 11, 2021 at 10:52
  • Correct. Also textbooks are a good alternative to review articles for a general public. Textbooks have similar purpose, but they have more space to explain more and/or cover a larger area. Apr 11, 2021 at 11:03

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