Mini-review paper

Select a topic of your interest in the biomedical sciences to study. Write a 3-page (minimum, excluding references and figures/tables) research paper on your chosen topic according to the following guidelines:

  • Use sub-headings to organize your writing.
    • Introduction – 1-2 paragraphs to grab the reader’s interest and introduce your topic. This includes the “big picture” or why your topic is important. (2 points)
    • Headings meaningful to your topic (This is the body of your paper, but don’t call this section “Body of paper”) – This is the bulk of the review of literature. Include experimental evidence and interpretations of the cited studies. This is not a place for detailed methods, but brief descriptions that convey the knowledge learned from the other studies. Indicate where studies seem to form a consensus or where there is some controversy. Use any figures if necessary from published studies (in which case, be sure to cite the study in the figure caption) or create your own. (4 points)
    • Conclusion – 1-2 paragraphs summarizing the major points succinctly. Why is this review significant? What is still unknown that should be studied in the future? Suggest ideas of yours based on the review you have done. (2 points)
    • References – Include at least 7 references which are primary sources (see Table 1 on page 2 for a description of primary sources). Do not include references in the final page count. (2 points)
  • Formatting: <= 12-point font, 1” margins, <= 1.5 line spacing

Table 1: Descriptions of primary, secondary, and tertiary sources




Primary Source

  • In the sciences, a primary source is the original publication of new data, research or theories by the individual(s) producing the data, conducting the research, or formulating the theory.
  • Typically, primary research articles are published in peer-reviewed journal articles with standardized sections, often including a Literature Review, description of Methods, tables of Data, and a summary of Results or formal Conclusion.
  • experimental studies
  • clinical trials
  • opinion surveys

Secondary Source

  • Secondary sources are those that summarize, critique or comment on events, data or research presented previously. Since they are one or more steps removed from the event, these sources are considered less reliable in terms of evidence.
  • textbooks
  • review articles
  • magazine articles
  • news reports
  • encyclopedias and other reference books

Tertiary Source

  • Tertiary sources consist of information which is a distillation and collection of primary and secondary sources.
  • almanacs
  • directories
  • indexes and abstracts

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