I have been recently invited to contribute to a review article. I have never written one before. How do I go about it?
Congratulation on being invited to contribute to a review article! The best way to go about writing a review article would be to use the PRISMA checklist. PRISMA stands for the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses.
Although PRISMA is mainly focused on the reporting of reviews evaluating randomized trials, it can also be used as a guideline to put together systematic reviews of other types of research. PRISMA can be used by both the authors who write the review as well as the evaluators of the review i.e. the editors and peer reviewers.
The PRISMA guidelines for drafting a review article are in the form of a checklist as well as a flow diagram. Both of these are easily available on the PRISMA web page (http://www.prisma-statement.org/). The checklist can be submitted along with the manuscript to simplify the review process for the editor and the peer reviewer.
This checklist covers seven main aspects of the review paper namely the Title, Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion and Funding through 27 pointers. The PRISMA flowchart is also applicable to any type of review article. However, there is an optional section at the end of the flowchart that asks for the number of articles that were meta-analysed. If your review is not a meta-analysis, you can either ignore it or enter ’0’ there. This flowchart helps the author to keep an account of articles that were accessed to put this review together. It allows you to keep a track of the articles that were retrieved through various search strategies. There is also a provision to account for duplicates.
If you need further details or help with writing a review article, you can subscribe to our Enago Learn course titled How to Structure a Review Article written by Prof. Roger Watson. This course will cover the following points- i) Understanding how review articles gained importance in scientific research, ii) Importance of PRISMA checklist and flowchart, iii) Quality assessment in systematic reviews iv) Writing a review article