To view or to Review?

Writing Reviews

Essentially the difference between a review and a resume is the lenght of your document. A review should be no more than few pages and be very direct and to the point. In the same style than an executive summary. On the other hand a resume is more like a shortened version of the book, with a lenght of no more than ±10% of the book. Note that these are general guidelines and each review or resume is particular and need to be addressed on a per case basis.

Don't try to search for a review on the internet using a search engine and then present that review as if it were yours. This is called plagiarism and will get you into so many troubles that it is better to avoid it altogether. I would also advise against reading few reviews/resumes before writting your own. If you do so you will have troubles not rewritting what you read. Better to read the book and make your own conclusions. This will result in a stronger argumentation in your review/resume. having finished your review/resume you can then check and compar with others to see if you have missed any key point(s).

Critical Approach

Remember that a review is not a survey. It is not about comprehensively listing all features or items and giving some information about each. It is about writing a critical view of a topic, giving your judgment with argument and also declaring your opinion.


Be methodical in your review, rely on reputable sources for your search of bibliography and published material.

Once you have selected your search engine, be aware that some are behind a paywall and require logging in. You need to type in keywords, but it is best to build a combination of keywords to cover every way the topic of your review has been covered in publications.

Once you have collected around 15 to 2o publications, read the abstracts, and classify them according to their relevance, in how close are they to the topic you are reviewing. Some papers will have to be read in full, while other will only need to have their abstract read. Interestingly, all the papers will have references that can lead you to further material.

Building the review

Once you have a good collection of papers, books and other publications, you can start to write down what are the key points and facts that are relevant to the field that you are reviewing. You can also start building an informed opinion about the field, which will form the basis of your review.

Remember that a review is not a survey, so you should not report on all the material you have looked or read, only the material that helps you build a narrative, i.e. your review.