I have written a review article with a target journal in mind. The content focuses on a particular technique in biology, and in the paper I propose a data analysis approach to be used for future studies. To help explain the intuition behind the technique, I have produced some straight-forward simulated data, organized into a a handful of figures. The experimental results are not particularly novel, but they are most valuable to illustrate a point -- how different quantitative methods compare to each other.

How would you suggest I write a review that includes primary (but not novel) results, in the framework of a review? My current organization is an extended introduction > short methods > results > discussion and future perspectives. A trivial matter could be to move the methods to the end, but I wonder if having discrete results and discussion sections is appropriate.

2 Answers 2


I have seen examples of the type of paper you're writing, but it's not a very common format. Most likely, the journal is going to dictate what you need to do. That said, my decision in this situation would depend on how much your simulated data contribute to the overall manuscript.

For instance, if your example is included solely as a sort of cartoon illustration, then very little or no explanation of how it was generated would be necessary. This does not seem to be the case with your example though.

An alternative approach would be to give a bare minimum description of how the data were generated in the same paragraph where you describe or expound on the theoretical point you're illustrating. Whether or not this makes for a clunky paragraph depends mostly on how much information you think you need to convey.

One final thought: if the simulated data are enough to develop into a separate methods manuscript, you might want to go that route, and leave your review article a standard synthesis of previous work.


Does the journal dictate a specific format? Usually this is not the case for review papers, but sometime bio journals are very particular.

If not, you could organize the paper along the natural lines of the flow of ideas, rather than trying to fit it onto a Procrustian bed of methods/results Introduction --> Review of Technique ---> Explanation of Need for Analysis Problem --> Proposal of New Analysis Method --> Verification on Simulated Data --> Discussions and Future

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