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Dental Hygiene Portal

Writing a Research Paper

Writing a research paper can be hard, but there are a lot of helpful resources out there! Here are just a few of those:

A Process Approach to Writing Research Papers - UC Berkeley

Academic and Professional Writing - University of Wisconsin-Madison

Research Process Demystified - University of Pittsburgh, University Library System

Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab)

The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University has a vast amount of writing resources and instructional material. 

Welcome to Purdue OWL 

Purdue OWL Site Map

What is Peer Review?

The Oxford English Dictionary defines peer review as: "The process by which an academic journal passes a paper submitted for publication to independent experts for comments on its suitability and worth; refereeing."

For more about peer review, you can visit the peer review page of HSLS's Scholarly Communication guide.

Scholarly, Trade, and Popular Journals -- The Differences



Peer Reviewed or Scholarly Journals

Trade Journals Popular Magazines
Audience Researchers, students and professionals Members of an industry or profession General public
Content Research projects, reviews of the literature Trends in profession/industry General interest
Reviewers Peer reviewers Editorial review Editorial review
Authority Articles contain references Occasional bibliographies Often lack references
Example(s) Journal of Dental Hygiene Access Magazine TimeGlamour


Types of Reviews

Narrative Review

Narrative literature review articles provide knowledge on a broad topic. Though these reviews provide analysis, the source and selection of references and studies have the potential to be biased. They do not ask or answer a specific research question. They tend to be qualitative.

Systematic Review

This is the definition of systematic found on the American Dental Association Website:

In the hierarchy of evidence, systematic reviews are preferable to narrative reviews for answering focused clinical questions. They are conducted according to transparent and repeatable processes considering all of the published evidence, not just that of which the reviewer may have prior knowledge or favor. The process also includes assessing the quality of each study, the overall quality of the body of evidence, and a summary of the clinical results. A systematic review typically involves:

  • An exhaustive search for studies (the evidence).
  • Procedures to maximize objectivity and minimize bias.
  • Selection of best available evidence having the strongest study design.
  • Critical appraisal of the quality of each study.
  • A summary of the results of the included studies.
  • Interpretation of the evidence for clinicians and researchers.

A  meta-analysis is a subset of systematic review.  It takes data from each individual study and pools them together and evaluates the data quantitatively.

Videos on systematic reviews and meta-analysis:

What is a Systematic Review?

Intro to Systematic Reviews & Meta-analyses