How to Critique an Article

An article critique is a common academic assignment given in order to test a student's research and analysis skills. During the course of study, the student has to read numerous articles. It is, therefore, important to be able to analyze them and highlight the essential parts of your studies.

The task is all about identifying the main problems covered in the piece and analyzing the way the author finds solutions. A student should be able to define the effectiveness and usefulness of the specific writing. Providing an objective assessment instead of subjective judgments is critical. To do so, a student should consult other sources to collect more information. Those sources are:

  • Books and e-Books
  • Magazines and newspapers
  • Journal and scholarly articles
  • Websites
  • Videos

Secondary sources like polls and interviews may be helpful as well. The idea of critique is to make the student explore the topic in-depth, studying it from all possible angles. By the end of the observation, a student should become acquainted with the issue even better than the piece's author. The requirements for the structure and content are different from the typical essays.

The most challenging part is to define the credibility of the dissected article. A student has to prove whether the readers can trust the source or not. Many students wonder how to write an article critique and not to get stuck in the process. While going through the text, be attentive and note down the key points that can in the future help you with the final draft.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

The biggest mistake of many students is that they just put down a summary instead of an analysis. It is important to challenge your personal skills and develop a personal approach to exploring the issue. Here are the top pitfalls to avoid while working on this type of project:

  • Do not focus on negative critique alone. The primary goal is to investigate and evaluate the value of the written piece, and the writer should say something positive to dilute the impression from the essay.
  • Avoid including too much background information. It is enough to recall what is mentioned in the article. There is no need to paraphrase it or offer a detailed overview - it will make the paper boring and useless.
  • Failure to come up with the thesis statement. The student should be able to identify the main problem discussed in the text and develop the main argument based on that issue. Mention your stance on the issue while writing up the central argument.

Article Critique Outline

Most often, such type of assignment is written in APA. This citation format was established by the American Psychological Association to help psychology, sociology, arts, and humanities students and professionals cite their documents. An article critique outline is close to the regular essay structure, with some nuances. The format and structure should look this way:

Abstract.

Other essays do not require one. It is a short summary of the entire paper, no longer than 1/3 of a page (approximately 250-300 words) that has to motivate the reader to finish studying the rest of the work. It explains what analysis techniques were applied to observe the issue. Put the word "Abstract" at the center top of a page and include nothing else but an abstract itself.

Body paragraphs.

The title of your analysis goes at the center of the next page. After it, move on to discuss significant information without forgetting to double-space the entire text. Recall the errors done while studying the article, used techniques, tools, etc.

References.

It is impossible to answer the "How to do an article critique?" question without mentioning the importance of bibliography. The main cited document is the analyzed article, but a student should use other primary and secondary sources to evaluate the author's opinion in-depth. Use credible, up-to-date sources to remain objective. Stick to the writing format established by one of the educational or scientific institutions. Prepare references in the following order:

  • Author's last name and initials
  • The year of the publication
  • Article's title
  • Name of the journal or another source, styled in italics
  • Volume
  • Page numbers you cite in your work

There are two types of citations: direct in-text and indirect in-text. When using the direct, copy-paste the words of another author and provide the source's info in parentheses next to the quotation marks. In case of an indirect quote, paraphrase the text you need. You will have to provide a reference in any case. Add a page number at the end of the citation.

The Best Way to Start

The most important part of the project is an article critique introduction.

Start with the most impressive or contradictory line of the analyzed piece to attract the attention of the audience. Grab all the notes you've made by this time. Organize them in a clear paper outline based on the template above. This way, you will know the logical progression and avoid getting stuck in the middle of the writing process.

An introduction is for disclosing the primary argument - thesis statement. After the hook sentence of your choice (quote from an article, rhetorical question, fact, statistics, anecdote, etc.), you should mention the analyzed piece's title, its author, journal, and the publication date. State the focus of the analyzed writing by adding a thesis statement offered by its author(s). Your personal thesis statement should show up at the end of the opening paragraph. Recall it later by paraphrasing in the essay's conclusion. The introduction has to outline the main argument. Disclose the primary thoughts in the first paragraph to let the reader know what you plan to discuss and why the article is worth reading (or is not worth the reader's precious time).

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