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Guidelines for writing a review

A review is a type of text that aims at expressing your evaluation of a text. The purpose of the
evaluation in the course Global Supply Chain Operations is to show that you can critically read a
scientific paper, comment on it and relate it to other scientific/theoretical writing. In addition, this
exercise aims at improving your academic writing skills.

Like other forms of academic writing, reviewing is subject to certain conventions. The suggestions
below should help you focus on both the form and the content of your review. We have made a
selection of general guidelines for the purpose of reviewing assignments in this course.

Before starting to write, we distinguish two steps: careful reading and critical thinking.

Careful reading
Take time to read the article several times. Start with a fast going through it by reading the abstract,
searching for the main aim and reading the conclusions. This will give you an initial
understanding of the paper.
Then read the paper at least two times in full: once to get the gist of the article, and once or twice
slowly to understand and digest the details.
The first time, determine the authors main idea(s) and the arguments presented to these ideas. The
second (and third) time, take notes while reading: underline or colour mark interesting or
important passages, and write down ideas, preliminary comments or questions in the margin.

Critical thinking and reflecting
Being a novice in the field and in science it might be difficult to even think about being critical or
even opposing arguments of well settled and well-known scientists and writers. However,
developing such skills is essential in becoming an academic. Here are two ways of starting to
develop such skills.

One way to develop this critical attitude and to reflect on points the author makes is to freewrite:
jot down thoughts in words or phrases (not full sentences) in random order. This may help you
find your own ideas and your own language to express them.

There is another way to develop your analytical skills for review writing. When an article consist
of various sections, pause after each section and reflect on the following:


- What is the author stating in this section and why?
- What is the main line of argument in this section?
- What evidence does the author give to support this line of argument?
- How does this point fit in with the authors other ideas?
- How does it fit with ideas from your course?
- So what? What are the implications of the authors idea expressed in this section?
- What does the paper add to general knowledge as expressed in textbook and other
- What question would you like to pose the author(s) of this paper?

Plan your review for each part (introduction, body, and conclusion) of your paper. When you have
carefully read the article several times and taken notes, you can now start arranging your notes and
ideas within this framework.

The introduction
Main parts of the introduction are:
- clarification of the subject of the review, including clearly addressing which paper is reviewed
(title, author, journal, volume, date of publication, pages)
- stating the main aim or the focus of the article in one sentence
- a short summary of the articles main points to show your understanding of the article.

The body text
In the body of your review, you evaluate the authors key statements and arguments.
To illustrate points that you are trying to make, you may include examples or quote relevant
passages from the article. Make sure these are accurate, and add a reference to where you found
them in the article.

The following questions may help to evaluate and form conclusions on the main points in the
- What is the purpose of the article? Is this clearly expressed in a problem statement?
- What are the authors major findings and conclusions?
- Does the author cover everything promised in the introduction?
- Does the author provide adequate argumentation and evidence?
- Does the author provide adequate background information?
- Is the approach clearly explained and well laid out?
- Does the author use important, current and adequate citations (references)?
- Has the author expressed the limitations of the research and of the authors approach?


- What questions remain unanswered?
- What exactly does the work contribute to the overall topic of the course Global Supply
Chain Operations? What general problems and concepts in this course does it engage with?
How does the article relate to the course?
In general, not all points need to be addressed. Still, be sure that even if a reader has not read the
article, he/she should be able to understand your points. Be always fair to the author by making
clear what the intended aims/contributions are and only then telling why you submit something
has not been done sufficiently or convincingly.
A possible structure of the body text might be (without numbering your actual review text):
a. analytical summary of the main arguments and conclusions
b. strengths and benefits of this article with respect to the above questions
c. weaknesses and limitations of this article with respect to the above questions
d. what you have learned from this article
e. what managers could learn from the article
f. how the findings are related to the course

Naturally you support all your claims with evidence from the article by paraphrasing, quoting or
giving specific examples from the article.

The conclusion serves to restate in a nutshell what you have discussed before and states your final
judgment on the value of the article.
In addition, list three questions on or on the basis of the content of the article that you would like
to ask the author.

Please add a cover sheet to your review with the following details:
- your initials, surnames and student numbers
- date of submission
- the name of the course
- the name of your tutorial lecturer
- your group number and team number
- the title of your review
- details of the reviewed article: title, author, journal, date of publication.

Quoting and references
If you quote from the article use quotation marks.


In a review, you document any words or ideas that you have borrowed from a source. In other
words, give a source reference for each quotation or paraphrase of part of the reviewed text.

Correct way of listing your references:
Shrivastava, P. 1995. The role of corporations in achieving ecological sustainability. Academy
of Management Review, 20: 936960.
Web references:
Forio Business Simulations, The Price Strategy Simulator: Anatomy of a Price War;
Hewlett-Packard/Compaq vs. Dell, 2001. [http://www.forio.com/pricing20010912.htm].

The main criterion for judging is quality. But less than one page probably shows too little effort
and room for a thorough discussion, whereas more than two pages show a lack of focus and
condensed writing skills.

For information on well-formed sentences, paragraphing, the use of active voice, tone and other
stylistic features, we refer you to the hand-out Writing on the Nestor site of English I for IB&M.
We expect you to proofread your review before submitting it. Check spelling and grammar, and in
case you doubt the clarity of your language, ask a fellow student or a friend to give you feedback.