How to Critique an Article

January 25, 2019 in Personal life
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To understand how to critique an article, you need to know what an article critique assignment is. An article critique is an assignment, in which you need to evaluate a journal article or other type of research articles. Your task is to display whether or not the author presented solid arguments and facts to back up his/her statements.

How to Write a Critique of an Article

Although this sort of paper is quite simple, lots of students still wonder how to write a critique of an article. Basically, when students face this sort of assignment, they assume that they should familiarize themselves with an article and discuss it from a critical perspective. That is surely true. However, a critique of an article has much more challenges than it seems.
Now we will center on what in particular a top-notch critique article should convey:
When tackling a critique article, most students just give a summary of the research paper they read. In fact, that is not what a critique of an article is about. The aim of it is not to sum up the main ideas but to critique them. Journal articles already contain summaries. What your professor wants you to do is to express your own opinion on this paper and to discuss it.
However, you should not only write about your impressions of the article but also present the evidence that supports them. Additionally, you need to define the main idea of the paper and elucidate its background and purpose. In general, you will concentrate on the issues that the article brings up, as well as on the ones that it eschews.

How to Write an Article Critique APA: Step-by-Step Guideline

Most professors will require you to stick to APA format, so you need to be knowledgeable about how to write an article critique APA.

Step 1: Active Reading

You cannot possibly produce an article critique without reading and understanding the research article itself. As a rule, journal articles are quite extensive and contain terms you are not aware of. Thus, just reading the research will not suffice. You will need to practice both active and close reading and do some sort of research so that you could identify and grasp the terms you are not familiar with.
By doing that, you will not only get to know the facts and details in the article, but also will be able to grasp the main idea of the author, as well as the arguments he/she provided to support that idea.
Here a marker and a note-taking app will come in handy. However, you can also take notes in an old-fashion manner using a notebook and writing as you are reading.
Ensure that you define these main parts of scientific papers during your reading process:

  1. Research problem and research goal
  2. Hypothesis
  3. Research methods
  4. Participants in the research
  5. Variables
  6. Main findings
  7. Conclusions

To accomplish this step, you may need to review the article a few times. It will enable you to come across new findings with each reading and as a result, new ideas of how to present your critique article will spring to your mind. Jot down these ideas, too.
As for the notes, they should not be too short. Mind that this is a complex type of academic paper and you can easily forget some of your ideas when you get down to the writing process. Thus, it is better to spend more time and put into more efforts knowing that it will minimize obstacles during the writing process.

Step 2: Create a Preliminary Outline

Having a profound understanding of the article and lots of notes at your disposal, you can organize them into a preliminary outline. In this outline, you will plan the way in which you will present the main points of the article.

Step 3: Question the Author’s Main Points

It is basically what your instructor will be looking for when he/she gets down to your paper: "Was the student able to tell a summary from an analysis?" Once again, an article critique is not about summarizing, it is all about looking at the paper from a critical perspective. Your main task may not be to persuade the readers but still, you need to provide a convincing discussion.
To achieve that, you should discover whether or not the writer's overall idea makes sense. You can only do this by conducting additional research. In particular, you need to find similar works and draw a comparison between this article’s hypothesis and these works.
You can also find out whether or not the writer's overall idea makes sense by comparing the introductory part and the conclusion.
Additionally, you will need to question such aspects as:

  1. The research methods
  2. The results
  3. The discussion
  4. The stylistic elements

While critically analyzing the main elements and points of the article, keep in mind that you do not necessarily have to give a negative critique. It can be positive either. If you are in accord with what the author put forward, you may write a positive critique. If you cannot agree, you will need to provide your remarks. If you are in between, you will need to highlight both the strong and weak points of the article. Either way, you need to provide solid arguments to back up your opinion.

Step 4: Detect Contradictions

While reading, you may have noticed some contradictions in the paper. Researchers, whether consciously or unconsciously, can be biased. For this reason, they can omit contrary evidence or even misrepresent it to avail themselves of that.
The bias itself can stem from prejudices. For example, a medical specialist can have prejudices towards Chinese medicine.
Spot any biases and contradictions you come across. When the author refers to another author’s work, check that source. It presupposes some reading, of course, but it will be instrumental in detecting the negative aspects of the article, which you will be able to critique then.
If the author cited unreliable evidence, you can mention it in your critique.

Step 5: Writing Process

You must have made lots of notes by now. It is high time you organized them in an outline that will enable you to present your points logically. Having drawn an outline, you can get down to the writing process.

State Your Main Argument in an Introductory Part

In your introduction, you need to mention the title of the article you are analyzing, author’s name, the journal where it was published, and the publication date. After that, you need to give a thesis statement, which is basically the focus of your research article.
As a rule, the majority of academic papers have a thesis statement in the introductory part. In the critique of an article, the introduction also contains your main argument. Briefly mention the main points of your critique to give the audience the insight into what you will be discussing in your paper.

Body Paragraphs

Each of your body paragraph should outline a new idea of the article. Since this type of paper is quite lengthy, you can allow yourself to use subheadings for these sections. If your article critique is short, you do not have to do that.
Each paragraph of the body should begin with a topic sentence that you will expand upon further in the paragraph. Ensure that these parts of the paper are logically connected.

Sum Up Your Arguments

In conclusion, you need to sum up your critique and indicate its possible implications. Additionally, you can call upon to conduct further research, which will look at the issue from a new perspective and will improve the work of the writer you analyzed.

Step 6: Revision

Many people skip this step but you should not. The article critique is a serious project that should prove that you can think critically and provide solid arguments to back up your point. If you neglect revision, even the tiniest oversight may have a detrimental effect on the impression of the reader.
While revising, pay particular attention to the citations, which should be referenced accordingly. Do not forget to check the bibliography, too. If you are unsure about its format, stick to the rules of article critique APA formatting style.

Conclusion

Writing a critique article is definitely not a piece of cake. However, the importance of this paper cannot be overestimated. By working on this project, you will learn how to use the work of another writer without adopting their stance and how to question and analyze their arguments.
What's more, it will improve your critical thinking, which is fundamental in your career development. Thus, take troubles to produce a critique article of a good quality. The results are worth the effort.

Critical Analysis

The aim of a critique article is to give an evaluation of somebody's work in order to facilitate the reader's understanding of it. This sort of paper can be labeled as subjective writing as it contains the writer's viewpoint or evaluation of the text. Producing an article critique presupposes two stages: critical reading and critical writing.

Critical reading:

  1. Establish the author's thesis and purpose.
  2. Look at the structure of the passage by defining the main points.
  3. Make use of a dictionary or other sources if you do not understand the material.
  4. Draw an outline of the work or compile a description of it.
  5. Make the summary of the work.

Define the purpose:

  • To inform using factual material
  • To convince by means of reason or emotions
  • To provide entertainment (to evoke people's emotions)

Evaluate in which way the author achieved his purpose
In case the purpose is to inform, has the material been put across in a clear, accurate, coherent way?
If the purpose is to persuade, find evidence, logical reasoning, and opposing evidence.
In case the purpose was to provide entertainment, establish how emotions are evoked: does it provoke you to laugh, cry, or feel angry? Why were you touched by this?
Look at these questions: In what way is the material presented? What is the target audience? What does the author conceive of the audience? What sort of language and imagery does the writer use?

Further Tips

  • Do not present your points by saying "I think" or "To my mind." Keep the focus on the subject of your analysis, not on yourself. Stating your opinions weakens them.
  • Always mention the work. Do not presume that since your audience know what you are discussing, you can omit the work's title.
  • Other questions to take into consideration: Are there any controversial discussions concerning either the passage or the subject?
  • What in the subject matter is of current interest?
  • What is the overall value of the passage?
  • What are the weak and strong points of the work?
  • Back up your thesis with sufficient evidence from the text, which you analyzed. Remember to document quotes and paraphrases.
  • Mind that the purpose of critical analysis is not only to provide information, but also to assess the value, application, excellence, distinction, reliability, validity, or strong points of something.
  • As a writer, you are the one who decides how your paper will appear, but at the same time, you should be open-minded, well read, and impartial. You are eligible to state your opinions, but you should not forget to support them with evidence.
  • Your review must contain information, interpretation, and evaluation. The information is accountable for the understanding of the work under analysis. The interpretation will provide the sense of the work. Thus, you should possess a clear understanding of it. The evaluation accounts for the discussion of your opinions of the work and provides conclusive justification for them.

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