a scholarly article, scientific paper, political article, book report, research paper, or any publication your teacher or professor assigns. It requires an in-depth understanding of the subject matter as well as the ability to critique someone else work.
What Is an Article Review
An article review asks the writer to evaluate another person’s work - understand it, analyze it, present it concisely, and question the conclusions drawn by the author. They are often used by teachers to introduce students to experts’ work in the field and to test their critical thinking skills.
This assignment isn’t like a typical essay. It answers how to review an article, but it doesn’t follow the classic 5 paragraph style of formal essay writing - there are other steps you have to follow. This makes writing one a new challenge for students, but don’t worry, this article will cover everything you need to know about how to write article review.
Article Review Types
There are several different types of article reviews, most of which you don’t have to worry about because they are either very specialized or are meant for professionals. Some examples of these are scoping review, systematic review, umbrella review, meta-analyses, and more complicated sounding names. Here, we’ll talk about the types of article reviews students usually have to deal with.
Narrative Article Review
A summation and analysis of a particular publication. It focuses on critiquing the biases of the author as well as logical inconsistencies. These can be book reports, film critiques, story critiques, etc.
Systematic Article Review
Using multiple sources to summarize information about a specific topic. This is a more complex type of article review that uses systematic methods to evaluate available research. These tend to be more technical in nature and are used often in the sciences and quantitative humanities.
Evidence Article Review
Focuses on analyzing the evidence and the findings based on that evidence. Whereas a systematic review’s primary focus isn’t the evidence, it is for this type of review.
Journal Article Review
An analysis of any type of publication focusing on the article’s opinion and subject matter. It answers how important the article is as well as analyzing the article itself.
Research Article Review
A subset of a journal article review that analyzes literary publications. It summarizes the presented research and evaluates the conclusions the original author draws.
Science Article Review
A subset of journal article reviews that analyzes scientific journals. As such, it focuses on the research methodology used and the conclusions based on the evidence.
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Article Review Format
Following instructions is absolutely critical to getting a good grade. An article review has a very particular format that must be followed. Read an article review example to get a sense of what it’s like and take a look at the Template and Outline section further down for a step by step guide on how to structure your paper.
One key thing to note is the citation style. Your professor or teacher will specify which citation style to use between MLA and APA. While both styles require in-text parenthetical citations, how to write an article review APA or MLA differ slightly in style.
APA Article Review Citation
APA stands for American Psychological Association and is generally used for social studies. If you need to write an APA format article review, these are the structures.
Journal: Author’s last name, Author’s first initial. Author’s middle initial. (Year, Month Date Published). Article title. Journal Name, Volume (Issue), page number(s).
Newspaper Print: Author, A. (Year, Month Date of Publication). Article title. Newspaper Title, pp. Xx-xx.
Newspaper Online: Author, A. (Year, Month Date of Publication). Article title. Newspaper Title, Retrieved from newspaper homepage URL
Website: Author’s last name, Initial(s). (Year, Month Day of publication). Title of work. Website. https://URL
Follow this citation article review examples to write a perfect apa style article review.
MLA Article Review Citation
MLA stands for Modern Language Association and is generally used for arts and humanities subjects. For the MLA format , these are the structures.
Journal: Last, First M. “Publication Title.” Journal Title Series Volume. Issue (Year Published): Page(s). Database Name. Web. Date Month Year Accessed.
Newspaper Print: Author's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Article: Subtitle if Any." Name of Newspaper, Date of Publication, p. Page Number.
Newspaper Online: Author's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Article: Subtitle if Any." Title of Website, Date of Publication, URL. Accessed Day Month Year site was visited.
Website: Author's Last Name, First Name. Title of Website, Name of Organization Affiliated with the Website, Date of copyright or date last modified/updated, URL. Accessed Day Month Year site was visited.
The Planning Stage
What’s the structure going to be?
Knowing the different sections of a review article before reading the original article will help you process information in a useful way. Read an example of an article review to give you an idea of what to expect. There are 3 main parts to keep in mind.
- Summarize the article by identifying the most important points of information and the main claims made by the author
- Talk about what the author gets right. An analysis of the positive elements of the author’s opinions, research, and conclusions
- Discuss what the author could have done better. Think about shaky conclusions, inconsistent research, and unanswered questions.
Your first read
Do a quick read of the article. Start by reading the title, abstract, introduction, headings, the first few lines of every paragraph, and the conclusion. This should give you an idea of what the article will be about. Then read the article taking note of terms or concepts you don’t understand. After your first quick read, research the concepts that you aren’t familiar with to make sure to get a better understanding on your next read-through.
Your second read
Now read the article slowly and deliberately, highlighting important information and taking notes. Connect information with knowledge you already have on the subject. Think about what new information is being presented in the article and how it differs or supports what you already know. Read the article as many times as you need to so that you understand it perfectly. It’s impossible to write a good review if you don’t understand the article itself!
Write the article again in your own words. This will help you identify the main points, arguments, and conclusions of the article and deepen your understanding. Don’t worry about editing, this is just for yourself.
Creating an outline
Now that you’ve dissected the article and noted down the main points and arguments, you’re well prepared to work on your review outline. Creating an outline helps plan your essay and cuts down on a lot of writing and reviewing time.
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Article Review Template & Outline
Use the outline as a guide to help plan and write your review. An article review, though a unique form of writing, still follows the traditional introduction, body, and conclusion format of essays, but has several specific sections that must be included as well. Fit these into your body paragraphs.
Pre-Title Page - This section states the basics. What type of article it is, the title of the article, contributing authors, and the authors’ credentials.
Optional Corresponding Author Details - Specific details of the authors including phone numbers, email addresses, etc.
Running Head - The title of your paper shortened to 40 characters or less (only required for APA format).
Summary Page - Some teachers ask for a summary page. It’s an 800 word or less summary that gives background information, explains the purpose of the review and summarizes the results. Don’t copy pieces of text from the article or the review itself, keep the language simple, and there’s no need to use references.
Title Page - This page can be thought of as the official start of your paper. You need to include the full title, a 250 word abstract, and a few keywords.
Introduction - The beginning of your review including a thesis statement.
Body Paragraphs - Include headings and subheadings to lay out your analysis clearly.
Works Cited/References - Differs in style based on MLA or APA format. Get clarification from your teacher if it isn’t clear.
Optional Suggested Reading List - If required by the professor.
Tables and Figure Legends - If required by the type of article or professor.
Article Review Writing: Step by Step
Step 1: Title Selection
Spend some time crafting an interesting and representative title. A good title is both catchy as well as informative. It often helps to start with a tentative title and modify it as you write your paper. Your title should guide you as you write your paper, but it should also be reflective of the main purpose of the review.
Step 2: Article Citation
You need to properly cite the reviewed article. The most important thing is to make sure you are citing it in either APA or MLA format, whichever one is required by your teacher.
Step 3: Brief Article Description
After citing the article, start your first paragraph by stating the title of the article, the author, the name of the journal, and the year of publication.
Step 4: Introduction
Once you’ve identified the article, give a brief description of the main points of the article. Carefully analyze the article to identify and highlight the author’s thesis. Understanding the thesis of the main article is crucial to writing a good review, so make sure you include any sub thesis. End the introduction with your own thesis, this could include accepting and expanding on the original author’s main points, or proposing reasons why the author’s conclusions were flawed.
Step 5: Article Summary
The first body paragraph should summarize the main points of the original article including the author’s arguments and takeaways. Don’t hold yourself to just 3 body paragraphs unless specifically told so by your teacher. Explore a different main point in each paragraph and explain the author’s perspective on the issues. Make sure you review the summary paragraphs so that they accurately reflect the content of the original article and the views of the author.
Step 6: Analysis
Start with a general assessment of the clarity and usefulness of the article. Analyze each point of your summary and express your opinions on what the author did well or badly. Critiquing the article is the most important element of an article review, so devote a majority of your time and effort to this section. Analyze the main points of the article and determine if the author did a good job of backing their claims with logic and fact. Finally decide if you agree with the author’s conclusions and provide supporting evidence to substantiate your claims.
Step 7: Conclusion
Summarize the main points and lessons of the original article and then state your main critiques of the article. Specify why you believe the author made specific mistakes, and how the key takeaways should be different. If possible pose a question about further research or analysis on the topic.
The Post-Writing Process: Revision
Finishing your first draft isn’t the end of the process! If you spent enough time during the prewriting stage and made a good outline you will have to spend much less time during revision.
Checklist for revision
- Do a quick read-through of the entire paper
- Make sure it flows logically from one section to another
- Make sure sentences are clear
- Make sure each paragraph only talks about one main point
- Get rid of unnecessary information
- Check your summary to make sure it represents the original paper accurately
- Check your critique to make sure it is fair and backed up by evidence
- Check the grammar
- Check the punctuation
- Check for typos
- Check your citations
Tips for Writing an Article Review
An article review is a unique form of academic writing that has a well-defined structure and specific requirements. Follow these tips to make writing one easier.
- Make sure you understand the overall structure and format
- On the first read through of the article focus on the big picture impressions
- Do research on terms and concepts you aren’t familiar with
- On the second read through, note down key points
- Spend time preparing a thorough outline
- Come up with several title ideas and choose amongst the best
- Confirm which citation style you need to use between APA and MLA
- Follow the standard introduction paragraph style but include specific requirements
- This is a formal academic paper so keep the tone and style formal as well
- The main body consists of a summary, and then a critique of the original article
- Conclude the review by summarizing your main critiques of the article
To Sum Up
An article review tests your formal writing skills, critical thinking, ability to summarize and synthesize information, and evaluative powers. Learning how to craft a critical review of an article isn’t just helpful in academics. The skills you learn and the format will be useful when evaluating anything in your life, whether it be a movie, game review, or social media content.
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