Article Review Guide

An article review is a critical evaluation of an article’s pro and cons by assessing the content and ideas detailed in the article. It summarises, analyses and interprets the various elements included in an article. When drafting the review of an academic article, the focus needs to shift to the structure and extract of the topic or issue being discussed in the article. Academic articles may contain theoretical terms and jargons as the author would have written the article assuming the possible knowledge level of readers in the concerning discipline. Therefore, remember, here the reader is both knowledgeable in the subject matter and is curious not just in the description of the article being reviewed, but also in the critical evaluation of the facts and arguments that are being brought out by the author. Hence, if you are planning to write article review of any sort, you need to evaluate the article in a logical manner, without missing any important elements as well as its essence. Here are a few guidelines for writing an article review.

Prior to the reading of an article,

  • Check if the title of the article makes you expect anything or not.
  • Analyse whether the sub-headings help you to understand how the author organized the article.
  • Go through the synopsis or abstract for extracting the important elements in the article
  • Study the reference list to identify works that complemented the author’s findings. Also, check the authenticity and validity of the references.
  • If necessary, have an understanding of the author, the designation, authority etc.

While reading the article, consider the following factors:

  • Skim the article for an overall idea. This time, take notes only for recording important terms and arguments that you require to define. Search for a textbook for unfamiliar words or concepts.
  • Read the article again, carefully. Pay a thorough attention to the methods, elements and findings in the article. Closely analyse the variables, samples if there are any, controls, graphs and diagrams, other statistical databases, etc.
  • Carefully interpret the data analysed in the work. Ensure that you have analysed and examined the article wholly.

While preparing an outline of the review,

  • Keep in mind the audience- the intended readers and their knowledge level.
  • Discuss the purpose of the author. Is to summarize or to survey or to present an argument or to compare and contrast another author’s argument?
  • Find whether the author described important and key terms?
  • Understand the nature of information in the article? Are they facts or just opinions or arguments? In the case of facts and arguments, check if they are verified or not. Also, ensure if the information supports the purpose of the author.
  • Comprehend the author’s principal arguments and conclusions. Check if they are stated explicitly or not. Are they defended by proper evidence and analysis?
  • In the case of an investigative study or experiment, confirm whether the author described the methods and expected outcomes or not.
  • Confirm that the article does not lack any arguments or information that you expected.
  • Check whether the article can be easily followed and orderly organized.
  • Does the author’s style fit the intended audience? Is the style unnecessarily complicated? Check if the author's language is objective or charged with prejudice.
  • If charts or illustrations are used, are they useful in presenting information?
  • Look for minor criticisms and limitations if there are any such as misspelling, wordiness, time and cost constraints etc.

When drafting the review,

  • Go through your notes. Select a statement that implies the central purposes of the article. Consider the author’s intentions and carefully convert them into your review. Chuck out all the unnecessary and irrelevant points in your note
  • Follow a format or style.
    •  A title that indicates the essence of your review.
    •  The first paragraph of the review may include a statement of the article, the purpose of the author, remarks on how the article correlates with the literature in the same area and also, information regarding the author and author’s designation in the field.
    •  The body should contain your critiques - arguments and comments on the article. It should follow a logical progress of ideas that you planned in your outline and also include the quotes from the article that demonstrate your focal points.
    •  The concluding paragraph may include the summative points of your review and also restate the thesis.
  • Revision and proofreading
    •  After organizing your points in a logical sequence, ensure that you revise the rough copy at least for two days. While revising, check for grammatical and punctuation errors, logical development and sound support of your ideas, errors in references and quotes etc. Get someone for proofreading your review.
    •  Bear in mind that you are critiquing the article, not the author. Also, you need to ensure that your review is well balanced by properly mentioning the positive aspects of the article along with your criticism.

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