Critiquing a literature review in a research article

Search Share A good peer review requires disciplinary expertise, a keen and critical eye, and a diplomatic and constructive approach. Writing a good review requires expertise in the field, an intimate knowledge of research methods, a critical mind, the ability to give fair and constructive feedback, and sensitivity to the feelings of authors on the receiving end. As a range of institutions and organizations around the world celebrate the essential role of peer review in upholding the quality of published research this week, Science Careers shares collected insights and advice about how to review papers from researchers across the spectrum. The responses have been edited for clarity and brevity.

Critiquing a literature review in a research article

Critiquing a literature review in a research article

You have to compare at least a few dozen base pairs before you can see the uncanny way that organisms in the same genus match up far better than organisms in different classes for example. Here, for example, is an alignment of some cytochrome C amino acid sequences from various organisms for discussion see here.

If Wells were interested in giving his readers a useful graphic, he could have easily found something like this, published in a article of the Journal of Molecular Evolution: The following example comes from the mitochondrial DNA sequence data from Horai et al.

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See that page, notes for a course on evolution at Montana State, for further discussion. A discussion of the sequence analysis and the mathematics of nested phylogenies is here: Even when different molecules can be combined to give a single tree, the result is often bizarre: A study using 88 protein sequences grouped rabbits with primates instead of rodents; a analysis of 13 genes in 19 animal species placed sea urchins among the chordates; and another study based on 12 proteins put cows closer to whales than to horses.

What Wells isn't telling you is that some of these results are not in fact ridiculous. Cows, for example, are artiodactyls which are indeed thought to be closely related to whales, a suspicion which has received striking confirmation from recent transitional fossil discoveries see the webpage of the discoverer Thewissen, http: Sea urchins phylum echinodermata do indeed group "among the chordates" but this is because they are a sister group to chordates, not within chordates as Wells implies.

This taxonomy is a long accepted fact see e. The very paper that Wells cites recognizes these distinctions explicitly. The rabbits and rodents study, on the other hand, has methodological flaws although the two groups are indeed more distantly related than the nonexpert might expect. All of this is discussed in detail, with references, by talkorigins poster John Harshman.

The Root of the Tree of Life. The 'Tree of Life' is the idea, most famously advocated by Darwin, that all known life is descended from a common ancestor and is connected by a phylogenetic 'tree': I believe this simile largely speaks the truth. The green and budding twigs may represent existing species; and those produced during each former year may represent the long succession of extinct species.

Critiquing a literature review in a research article

As buds give rise by growth to fresh buds, and these, if vigorous, branch out and overtop on all sides many a feebler branch, so by generation I believe it has been with the great Tree of Life, which fills with its dead and broken branches the crust of the earth, and covers the surface with its ever branching and beautiful ramifications.

In IconsWells has a ball with recent scientific debates over whether or not lateral gene transfer mixed up ancient genomes so much that deepest branches of the tree are mixed up. Basically, some scientists have proposed that the idea of a single "last common ancestor" should be replaced with the idea of a "last common gene pool" that the extant three domains of of life -- eukaryotes, archaea and eubacteria, in one classification scheme -- gradually emerged from.

Carl Zimmer describes this as the 'Mangrove of Life' idea. Wells of course milks this for all it's worth, proclaiming the downfall of common descent and the 'uprooting of the tree' and whatnot, but he is distorting things.

This entire debate is, among scientists, about the very oldest part of the tree, known as the ' root. Apart from being the most remote event to study timewise, the question of the rooting of the tree is greatly complicated by lateral gene transfer, by differing rates of evolution between genes and lineages, by the fact that eukaryotes are the result of symbioses between archaea and eubacteria, and by the fact that, by definition, the Tree of Life has no outgroup, which creates technical problems for placing the root.

Scientists are attempting to discern the most ancient events in the history of life here, so complications are to be expected. One recent article that is highly skeptical of much of the work that Wells cites is Cavalier-Smith What Wells does not point out is that this entire controversy has precious little to do with eukaryote phylogeny which is coming along just fine, thank you, see e.

To see what this means, go to the Tree of Life webpage http: This is what the tree vs. If you click on eukaryotesyou have entered the zone where, regardless of the debate outcome, it appears that phylogenies will remain tree-like -- in other words, essentially the entire mapped tree.

How any of this is supposed to call evolution into question is not at all clear -- Wells certainly has not proposed a model that explains things better.

And the fact that textbooks aren't completely up to speed on current scientific debates is not only not surprising, it's the way things should be. This particular controversy is far from resolved, and until it is, there is no real advantage of putting it into textbooks.

Even if the 'mangrove' model is eventually accepted, it is rather difficult to see how this makes "descent with modification from common ancestors If it turns out our remotest ancestors are a community of gene-trading bacteria rather than a single one and it should be remembered that it is also possible that a community of gene-trading bacteria could still be descended from one bacteriathen this will be significant but hardly something that overthrows the evolutionary view of life.

And as mentioned before, there are good reasons to think that the traditional tree model will basically work even down near the root. I agree with Doolittle that the widely accepted tree needs uprooting, not because of lateral transfer, which is not seriously confusing with respect to the root, but because quantum evolution caused misrooting of the paralogue tree.

We may safely replant it as shown in Figs 1, 2 and 7.WRITING THE CRITIQUE Critical reviews for research are systematic.

What is an article critique?

They begin at the title, and review each section until the reference list at the end. It is useful to ask yourself questions about the purpose of each component of the article, and whether it. In this paper, we have taken a previously published article on nurses' judgements in abortion care performing a systematic critique of the merits of this research using a recognised critiquing framework.

Published: Mon, 5 Dec This essay concerns itself with the relationship between evidence based practice and the research process. Section A will address the definition of the research process, the various types and levels of evidence and it will describe how this is implemented into clinical practice highlighting any barriers of implementation.

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