Tips: How to Write a Good Article Review

An article review is a standard academic assignment that serves a twofold purpose: First, it helps students to develop an understanding of academic literature by asking them to actively engage with a piece of academic literature at a critical level. Second, it offers students the opportunity to build critical thinking skills that can sharpen their reasoning and make them more critical consumers of information. However, the article review process can be challenging. There are a few steps, however, that will make it much easier to critically evaluate any academic article.

Step One: Read the Article

This might seem like the simplest step imaginable, but it is astonishing to realize that as many as half of all students begin writing their article reviews before they have finished reading the article. You should begin by reading the article all the way through and making sure that you understand every part of it. Academic writing can be more complex and less clear than other forms of writing, so you’ll want to be sure you have a good handle on what the author(s) said and what the article is trying to say before you start the writing process. After all, you can’t review what you aren’t able to explain.

Step Two: Develop a Point of View on the Article

What did you think of the article that you read? It’s important that you develop a clear point of view before you begin writing so you can make sure that every part of your article review supports your main point of view. To that end, you should try to write a thesis statement in which you state your opinion of the article and indicate the main reasons that you feel that this was an effective or ineffective article. Try to avoid using opinionated, value-laden terms like “good” or “bad.” As a critic, your job is to evaluate whether the article was effective, whether its methodology was correct, and whether there were areas for improvement that you saw in the text.

Step Three: Create a List of Specific Examples

Before you write your review, make notes about specific examples from the article that support your point of view. Identify the article’s research question, hypothesis, and methodology so you can report them to your readers. These examples and specific pieces of information are essential for any review, so picking them out ahead of time will save you time and keep you from having to go back and re-review the article as you attempt to summarize and critique it.

Step Four: Write Your Review

Now you’re ready to write your review. To do so, you should begin with an introduction that briefly summarizes the topic, leading to your thesis statement. The main body of the review should summarize the article, indicating the research question, the hypothesis, the methodology, and the results. After briefly summarizing the article, you should critique it with specific examples indicating what elements were effective and which were not effective. Conclude by explaining to your readers whether the article achieved its goals or whether more research is needed to draw firm conclusions about the topic.

Step Five: Proofread Your Work

This may sound like an obvious step that you will do automatically, but it’s nevertheless one of the most important. In academic writing a careless typo (a plural in place of a singular noun, for example) can completely change the meaning of research results. It’s very important that you carefully review your paper for mistakes and typos. At this point, it’s also a good idea to double check the original article to make sure that your conclusions about it are in line with the article and accurately reflect a fair reading of the article. Once you’ve done that, you’re all done!

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