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how-to-write-critique-of-an-academic-article August 27, 2018

How to Start Writing an Article Critique

You obviously cannot write a critique of an article if you have not yet read or understood the content. Keep in mind that research papers can be quite long, and they include concepts that you might not be familiar. For this reason, it is not enough to just read the paper since the result with be an uninformed critique. Instead, you will need to engage in active and close reading. You will also need to do some research so that the terms will make more sense. Of course, looking at other similar articles will also be useful since you will be able to make comparisons as you critique.

As you examine the work, pay attention to the facts and details of the article. Identify the arguments and main points that the author is making, as well as the evidence that they use to support it. It might not be a bad idea to go old school and use a yellow highlighter as you are identifying important details in the paper. Jotting down notes on the article or in a notebook is also a good strategy. Your notes should be thorough since the paper itself is complex. You want the notes to be well organized, which means you should be able to go back and find the exact page numbers and specific text that you are using to support your critique. This will save you a lot of time and effort versus constantly flipping through the article in search of important points.

How to Identify Weaknesses in an Article Critique

No research is perfect, but academics are always looking for ways to improve upon their research findings. The best way to do this is to examine research articles and offer an objective critique of what was written. You must discuss whether the author of the article’s arguments are logical by examining similar works and comparing hypotheses. You will assess the various components of the paper including the research methods, results and discussion to determine whether there are flaws in their choices of methodology and/or interpretations. You will also examine stylistic elements since it is important to question whether the article can be understood by the reader. Keep in mind that you do not have to conclude that the article is poor, especially if your assessment determines that their methods were entirely appropriate and results on par with other studies. Either way, the takeaway is that you must use evidence from the writing to support your analysis.

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How to Structure Article Critique

Once you have read the article and taken good notes, you will need to organize them properly in an outline. This outline will provide focus and guidance for the paper; in particular, the structure will follow a logical progression as you provide a critique of the article. Your paper will include an introduction in which you identify the name of the article being examined, the name of the researcher(s), the journal that published the paper, and the date of publication. You will finish the introduction by developing a thesis statement that you will proceed to support through the next section of the paper: the body.

The body of the paper is where the real critique begins. Each of the body paragraphs should contain its own topic sentence containing a main point that will connect back to the thesis in a logical way, and use evidence from either the paper itself or other works to support the critique. For instance, when reading other works you might find that there is a general consensus and that the article under examination is consistent with this. Note that article critiques are usually longer than the standard 5-paragraph essay, so you can use subheadings if it helps you to organize the sections better.

Once you finish the body paragraphs, you will move on to the conclusion - the last part of the paper. Here you will summarize your critique, restating your thesis along with the main points. You will also discuss the implications of your critique. For instance, if you found that there were glaring weaknesses related to the methods, you might suggest that a different approach (such as a larger sample size or using different variables) might lead to more reliable results. Ultimately, you are not using your paper to bash the researcher or argue that they are incompetent. Rather, the purpose of the critique is to either suggestion improves to make the research stronger or vouch for the reliability of the research.

How to Write an Article Critique

The actual writing task is where a lot of students run into problems since professors do not really provide much of an explanation beyond the initial instructions. You should keep in mind that you are not merely summarizing a paper; you are providing constructive criticism. Offer a unique opinion on the research by examining whether the article serves a purpose, contributes something new to the particular field of study, and is consistent with other similar studies. Providing some background and context is also importance since you cannot assume that the reader is fully informed.

How to Properly Title an Article Critique

The title should make reference to the article being critiqued. It should be short, to the point, and informative enough to arouse the curiosity of potential readers.

How to Format an Article Critique

When formatting, you should consult your instructor to determine which style he/she prefers. The most common are APA style, MLA style, Chicago/Turabian style, and Harvard. For scientific papers, APA and MLA tend to be the standard, at least in American colleges and universities.

How to Conclude an Article Critique

A good analysis ends with a proper conclusion. You should sum up your argument or criticism, particularly the contradictions, and discuss the benefits of having critiqued the article, including how it helps further the goals of academic research by motivating researchers to improve their methods.

Now that you have a better idea about how to organize and write an article critique, you are ready to make a good impression!

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