How to Critique an Article: Step-by-Step Article Critique Guide

An article critique is a piece of writing presenting a detailed assessment of a journal article or any other literary or scientific content. Its primary purpose is to show whether the author of the evaluated article provided reasoned arguments to support the ideas presented in the analyzed text.

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How to Write an Article Critique: Essential Information

Usually, clients do not provide additional guidelines or tips on the project, which makes them think that all they need to do is read the provided material and then make its critical analysis. Such a thought is correct, but a thorough critique involves more than just a simple analysis.

Before explaining how to critique a document, let us discuss the major functions of the critique:

  • The main points of the document have to be critiqued, not summarized. A common mistake is to briefly summarize the document, but your personal opinion on the content is what is truly valuable.
  • Alongside your viewpoint on the document, you must provide supporting arguments.
  • Apart from identifying the main points, you should also present its purpose.
  • Highlight the issues that are both addressed and overlooked in the document.
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Once we are clear with the purpose of the critique, it is time to find out how to write a critique of a document. Below, you will find great writing prompts to help you create a comprehensive critique.

Step 1. Reading

When writing a good document critique, it is impossible to produce it without thoroughly reading the content. Business documents can be lengthy and complex and may include many industry-specific terms. You must read the document and research to fully understand the discussed concepts.

During your reading, you will be able to determine the main idea expressed by the author and the arguments supporting it.

Note that it is worth writing down significant details using some computer applications or just a pen and a sheet of paper.

While reading the text, make sure to detect such aspects as:

  • Key problem and research purpose
  • Hypothesis
  • Research methods
  • Participants of the study
  • Variables
  • Major findings
  • Conclusion

You may need to read the article several times to pass this stage successfully. Every time browsing it, you will identify new facts and get fresh ideas about how to write a critical review of an article.

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Your notes must be detailed since a research article is a complicated piece of writing, and you may easily forget something. Reading and taking notes takes time but greatly facilitates your writing.

Step 2: Create a Preliminary Outline

You may begin composing a preliminary outline once the document is read and all notes are taken. Since the critique is not produced yet, the outline is called preliminary. Your outline highlights the points you intend to discuss in your document.

Step 3: Dispute the Author’s Chief Ideas

You must thoroughly evaluate the material and effectively present the result to readers when writing the document. When reading your critique, your employer or client wants to see your ability to analyze the author’s ideas and points. The tone of your writing has to be persuasive.

You must identify whether the author’s key points are logical to make your critique objective and powerful. In this case, you must conduct extensive research to be completely familiar with the matter highlighted in the article.

To ensure that the author’s ideas are logical, you should compare the introductory and concluding parts of the article and see whether their components match.

Apart from the key point and logic, you will also need to debate such aspects as:

  • The applied research methods
  • Findings
  • Discussion
  • Stylistic peculiarities

The last item matters a lot to your critique. For example, if the style followed by the author is unclear, you may use it as an important argument in your critique.

Your critique of the main points and components of the article does not necessarily have to be negative. If you agree with the author’s stance, your critique will have a positive character. If you disagree with the points provided by the author, you will present your remarks. If you have a neutral position, you will need to stress both the positive and negative features of the article. Anyway, your opinion has to be upheld by powerful evidence.

Step 4: Determine Contradictory Points

While reading the article, you may detect some contradictory ideas. In this case, you should write down the identified opposing points. You must check that source when the author refers to another author’s work. Certainly, it will take some time, but, as a result, you will be able to determine the weaknesses in the article, which will facilitate the process of producing your critique considerably.

If the arguments or facts the author provides are false, you may admit them in your writing.

Step 5: Write Your Critique

At this point, you will have enough material to produce your critique. Your task is to arrange the available information into a coherent outline to create a logical piece of writing, including all the points you want to discuss. As soon as your outline is prepared, you may begin writing.

  • Present Your Major Argument in the Introduction

In the introductory part, you need to present the title of the article you are evaluating, its author, the journal in which it was published, and the date of publication. Then, you should highlight the point on which the article is concentrated. A thesis statement has to be presented in this part as well. It will give readers a good understanding of what your critique is about.

  • Create the Body

Each paragraph of this section has to discuss one aspect of the topic on which the article is based. You can make subheadings within this part unless your critique is brief.

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Each paragraph should start with an opening sentence. Make sure the body paragraphs are connected logically.

  • Sum up Your Points

In the concluding part of your critique, you should outline the article’s major ideas and recommend further research to provide a new perspective on the matter highlighted.

Step 6: Revise Your Writing!

The article critique is a very important piece of writing that has to prove that you can critically evaluate texts and provide compelling evidence to support your claims. That is why it has to be revised thoroughly.

While revising your critique, scrupulous attention has to be paid to citations. Are all sources referenced correctly? Edit your bibliography page! If you know all formatting rules, browse the Internet for a reliable guide.

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When working on documents of a critical nature, you will be able to develop critical thinking that plays a fundamental role in building any career. Thus, do your best not to neglect this kind of task!

You will create a strong document by following these critique instructions.