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

An article critique is a piece of writing that presents a detailed assessment of a journal article, or any other type of 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, professors do not provide any additional guidelines or tips on the assignment what makes students think that all they are supposed to do is read the assigned article and then make its critical analysis. Such a thought is certainly correct, but the article critique is more than an arduous assignment implying the in-depth analysis.

Before explaining how to critique an article, let us discuss the major functions of the critique:

  • The chief points of the article have to be critiqued and not summarized. At this very point, the majority of students make a common mistake. They believe they have to briefly summarize the article they are working on. However, your personal opinion on the article is what your professor expects to get.
  • Alongside your viewpoint on the article, you need to provide the arguments supporting it.
  • Apart from determining the chief point of the article, you should also present its purpose.
  • Highlight the issues that are both raised and avoided in the article.
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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 an article. Below, you will find great writing prompts that will help you create a good paper.

Step 1. Reading

When writing a good critique of an article, it is impossible to produce it without reading the content. Usually, research articles are lengthy and complex and may include many terms unknown to you. It means that you need to not only read the article but also do some research to get a full understanding of the discussed notions.

In the course of reading, you will be able to determine the chief idea expressed by the author and the arguments supporting it.

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

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

To pass through this stage successfully, you may need to read the article a couple of times. Every time browsing it, you will not only identify new facts but also get fresh ideas about how to write a critical review of an article.

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As to your notes, they have to be detailed since a research article is a complicated piece of writing and you may easily forget something when it comes to writing. Though the process of both reading and taking notes takes some time, it will greatly facilitate your writing.

Step 2: Create a Preliminary Outline

Once the article is read and all notes are taken, you may begin composing a preliminary outline. Since the critique is not produced yet, the outline is called preliminary. Your outline is the so- called plan highlighting the points you intend to discuss in your paper.

Step 3: Dispute the Author’s Chief Ideas

When writing the paper, you need to make a thorough evaluation of the article and effectively present the result to readers. Your ability to analyze the author’s ideas and points is what your professor wants to see when reading your critique. The tone of your writing has to be persuasive.

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

In order 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. In case 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 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. When you see that the author makes reference to another author’s work, you are required to check that source. Certainly, it will take some time, but, as a result, you will be able to determine the weaknesses in the article what will facilitate the process of producing your critique considerably.

In case the arguments or facts provided by the author are false, you may admit it in your piece of 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 so that you are able to create a logical piece of writing including all the points which 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 which it was published in, and the date of publication. Then, you should highlight the point which the article is concentrated on. 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 which the article is based on. 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 its major ideas and give recommendations on further research which will provide a new perspective on the matter highlighted in the article.

Step 6: Revise Your Paper!

The article critique is a very important piece of writing that has to prove that you are capable of critically evaluating texts and providing 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! In case you are not aware of all formatting rules, browse the Internet to find a reliable guide.

Final Remarks

An article critique may occur to be one of the thorniest academic writing projects which students have to deal with. At the same time, its importance and value cannot be underestimated. It helps students learn how to critique an article, i.e. debate ideas and test the validity of arguments.

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When working on the papers of a critical character, you will be able to develop your critical thinking that plays a fundamental role in building any careers. Thus, do your best not to neglect this kind of assignment!

By following these article critique help instructions, you will manage to create a good paper.