An article critique is an assignment that requires you to identify, evaluate, and respond to the ideas of a research or journal article.
Your goal is to determine the purpose and background of the article and the main idea the author is trying to communicate.
When it comes to evaluation, you will specifically be looking at whether the argument posited by the author is convincing or not, the assumption of the argument, how applicable the article is, and how the article compares with other current research and theory.
The last part of a critique article is where you respond to the article. This involves giving your analysis, identifying the issues raised, and writing down the issues the article avoids.
It is also important to note there is a fine difference between an article critique and an article summary. An article summary intends to produce a shorter version of an article while a critique objectively criticizes the article. An instructor will require both or one of them in the course of schooling. As such, how to summarize and critique an article is a significant question a student will be inclined to answer at one point.
However, this guide only teaches you to critique an article, step by step. To learn how to summarize an article please review more articles on the blog.
How to Critique an Article: The Main Steps
Step 1: Read the Article Actively
Journal articles tend to be quite long and also use technical terms you may not easily understand. This is why you must read the article actively and closely.
At the same time, do research to enable you to understand any new and complex terms.
Reading helps you to identify details and facts about the text. You will know the author’s main point as well as the arguments they used to back up the point.
You will, therefore, need a marker on hand and an app to enable you to take notes or just a notebook. As you read, ensure you identify the following important parts of the research:
This stage will probably require you to read the article several times before you are done with it. With each reading, you will get to discover new ideas about how to critique the article. Write down these ideas, too.
Don’t write brief notes. This is a technical type of paper and you are critically analyzing an advanced piece of article.
This means you can easily forget some ideas when you now get down to writing. Therefore, write your notes as comprehensively as you can.
Step 2: Collecting Evidence
Check the text for any biases or particularities, whether intended or unintended. If there is something that the author can gain from the conclusions in the article, it is likely that they have demonstrated some bias.
Consider how the author has interpreted other texts. Does the author make a claim regarding another person’s work? If so, you need to check the original piece and determine whether you are in agreement with the analysis offered in the text or not. You may not entirely agree with the analysis, but check whether the author’s interpretation can be defended.
Note if the author has cited untrustworthy evidence. Has the author cited an immaterial source from 50 years ago that doesn’t hold true today? Unreliable sources can greatly affect the article's credibility.
Check the stylistic elements. There is no doubt that the most important part of your critique is the article content. However, do not ignore the literary techniques used by the author. Take note of any obscure word choices, as well as the tone of the author in the entire article. Style and formats are especially important when critiquing non-scientific articles that deal with, for instance, aspects of literature.
Interrogate research methods the author has used. When you are writing a critique of an article that contains a scientific theory, make sure to analyze the research methods used in the experiment.
Delve deep. Use your educated opinions, existing knowledge, and research to either agree or disagree with the article. Back up your stance with empirical arguments.
Step 3: Writing Your Critique
Write an introduction outlining your argument. Your introduction should be two paragraphs at most, and you should use it to lay the basic structure for your critique.
Begin by stating where the research succeeds or fails most spectacularly and why.
Make sure the introduction part includes the author's name, the title of the article, publication, or journal in which the article appeared, date of publication, and the thesis statement. Support your arguments with evidence in the body of your critique.
Each paragraph needs to talk about a new idea or even expand further your argument. Each body paragraph needs to start with a topic sentence summarizing the content of the following paragraph.
When it comes to ending a paragraph, the best way is to use a transitional sentence that gives a hint of the content of your next paragraph.
For instance, you can write “Although the author shows that childhood obesity cases in the US are rising fast, there are examples of reducing obesity rates in key American cities.” This sets the tone for your next paragraph, where you can now provide specific examples.
Complicate your argument as you come to an end of the critique. Irrespective of how concrete your argument is, you can always end it in a dramatic way or offer a final twist that takes your argument to the next step and suggests possible implications. This is best done in the final paragraph of the body to give readers a final and memorable argument.
Write your arguments in an objective and well-reasoned tone. Do not write in an extremely passionate or overzealous tone. This is because it can turn off many readers. Show your passion in doing research and articulating yourself effectively.
Conclude your article by recapping your arguments and offering suggestions on potential implications. Make sure you summarize the main points that you have talked about in the entire article. More importantly, you need to show the reader the importance of your critique to the discipline as a whole.
Step 4: Revise Your Work
Before you finish your critique, go through it to check for any grammar or style errors.
The best thing is to take a small break before editing it. This allows you to have fresh eyes to read through it.
You may also want to give your peer time to go through it to spot any errors you might have missed.
Writing a critique is simply questioning a non-fiction work by presenting arguments of whether you agree with the author’s position or not.
To write a great critique, make sure you read the article closely and actively, collect evidence of failures or successes of the author, and write your piece.
Make sure you present your arguments in an objective and well-reasoned tone and also proofread your work before submitting it.
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