An article review is one of those academic tasks students face quite often during their education. At first glance, it may seem like a very simple and straightforward task. But article review writing has its peculiarities and pitfalls that can make the process extremely challenging. Knowing how to avoid them can help you save lots of time and nerves and, at the same time, ensure an excellent result. But, how to do it?
If you were assigned to do such a task and have no clue how to write a review of an article, you’ve come to the right place! In this article, we will share with you the most effective tips and tricks that will make writing simple and enjoyable. Let’s dive in!
An article review is quite a common form of academic assignment in schools and colleges. In a nutshell, this paper requires students to read a specific article, critically evaluate it, and write their observations in the review.
Basically, your review is a constructive, critical assessment of someone else’s work. It explores the strong and weak points of the given piece, gaps, inconsistencies, and other issues, and gives the whole piece an objective evaluation based on all these points.
Working on such an assignment requires excellent analytical and critical thinking skills, as well as the ability to present ideas and arguments in a well-structured way. Therefore, handling this task can be rather difficult.
To help you get on the right track, here are the basic features of article review writing:
All reviews follow a similar structure and pursue the same goal. However, there are different types of reviews that require a different approach to each.
All in all, we can distinguish three types of this paper based on the kind of article that is being reviewed.
If you are reviewing a journal article, you should focus on assessing the strong and weak points of the piece. You should share your own interpretation of the article and provide its in-depth analysis to highlight the value and importance of the piece.
This type of work is probably the easiest and least formal of all.
When writing a review of the research article, you also have to read, analyze, and evaluate the piece. However, this type of paper needs to have more depth to it compared to a review of a journal article.
The biggest distinctive feature of this work is that along with assessing the strong and weak sides of the article, the author should also evaluate the research methods and use this assessment to conduct further analysis and critique.
Finally, the last and the most complex type of review is a review of a scientific article. Since scientific articles provide more information on the background of the subject matter, you can use this info to make a more thorough analysis of the piece.
If you are wondering which format to use for your critical review of an article, the first thing you should do is check with your professor. Typically, a professor should provide you with clear guidelines for writing your paper. If you didn’t get any guidelines or something is unclear, don’t hesitate to ask your professor to clarify it for you.
Some of the main questions you should ask in terms of formating are:
Having the answers to these questions will help you create a high-quality paper that fully meets the requirements of your professor. So, be sure to clarify them.
Just to give you an idea of how everything should look, let’s consider the two most common formats for this type of work. Below, you can find examples of MLA and APA format article review.
APA style article review is one of the two most common formats. In a nutshell, if you were assigned to write an article review APA, it means that you will need to format your citations according to this style manual. The rest of the paper will have standard formatting.
If you are wondering how to write a review in APA style, here are some tips that will help you create correct bibliographical entries for the most commonly-used sources:
The second common style is MLA. Here is how to format your citations if you are assigned to write an article review in MLA:
Of course, writing a review itself is the biggest part of the task. However, as we all know, no task can be completed well without some basic planning and preparation. The pre-writing process is necessary to get you ready for the writing stage and that’s why it is so important.
So, what do you need to prepare?
First and foremost, you need to understand the essence of this task. It is vital that you know what an article review is, what purpose it has, and what is expected of you. Once you know this, there are a few more pre-writing steps to take.
Before you can get to reading and evaluating the given article, you should have a clear idea of the organization of your future review. Knowing how your paper will be structured will give you an idea of what you should focus on when reading the article.
To help you get started, here is how your review should be set up:
Start by quickly skimming the article. During your first reading, don’t cling to any details. Instead, go over the article’s title and abstract, study the headings, opening sentences of the paragraphs, etc. Then only read the first several paragraphs and jump to the concluding paragraph. These tricks will help you quickly grasp the overall idea of the article and the main points the author makes.
Next, read the entire article to get a complete picture. Here are a few tips to help you make the first reading as effective as possible:
After you give it the first round of superficial reading and note down everything that seems unclear, you can finally read the article closely.
Follow these tips to make the most of this stage:
Putting the article into your own words is a great trick that will help you define how well you understood the main points. Also, this is a good practice for your writing stage.
After writing down your own interpretation of the article, highlight the main parts that you’d like to discuss in your review.
Based on your interpretation and highlighted points, make a preliminary outline. Then review your outline to cross out everything unnecessary or unimportant.
The last stage of preparation is making an outline. Get back to your notes, summary, and preliminary outline to define what to include in your review. Based on this, create a clear, well-organized, and detailed outline. In the next section of our guide, we will give you more tips for making an effective outline.
Writing an outline is the best way to organize all your thoughts and create a solid base for your future paper. It will help you follow the right structure and focus on the right points in your review. Also, an outline will help you see if anything is missing or, on the contrary, if there is anything else you should exclude from your paper.
How to create a good outline? First of all, ensure you are well aware of your teacher’s requirements. There are two sections of the review that are optional - a personal critique and a summary section. You should define if your professor wants you to include these sections or not. If yes, you will also have to add them to your outline. If not, you can follow a standard template.
What parts are included in an outline? The review itself, like any other academic paper, should consist of an introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. However, additionally, you may need to include some other sections to your review, such as:
Need more help with making an article review outline? Here is a basic sample outline that can serve as a template for your future review:
First, create a relevant title that goes in line with the core focus of your paper. Make sure it is clear and concise, but attention-grabbing.
Next, you will need to cite the article you are reviewing according to the required citation style.
Here is a sample citation in the MLA style:
Abraham John. “The World of Dreams.” Virginia Quarterly 60.2(1991): 125-67. Print.
Following the citation, you need to provide the identification details of the article, such as:
The article, “The World of Dreams,” was written by John Abraham and published in Virginia Quarterly in 1991.
To create a great introduction, start with the basic info about the article and the thesis for your paper. Move on to a brief summary of the article and its main points.
Provide a more thorough summary of the article. Pay close attention to the key statements, ideas, theories, and findings offered by the author.
Make a critical assessment of the article. First, discuss the positive aspects of the work, explain what the author did well, and support your ideas with arguments. After the positive aspects, discuss what gaps, inconsistencies, and other drawbacks are present in the article.
Revisit all the points you’ve discussed in your review and shape a clear and logical conclusion.
If you take a look at a truly well-written example of an article review, you will not find any typos or grammar mistakes there. Although the content of your review plays a big role in your success, the quality of the text is also vital.
Although many students still prefer to skip the post-writing process, they make a huge mistake here. If you don’t bother to proofread and edit your review, you risk getting a low grade just because you didn’t fix the errors. That would be a pity, right? That’s true, so here you have all the reasons to devote some more time and energy to revise your draft.
But how to proofread and edit your review effectively? Here are some key tips that should help:
Now that you have all the tips for effective proofreading, here is a checklist that will help you define whether you checked everything:
If you have never dealt with this type of assignment before, you are probably wondering how to write article review the right way and avoid common mistakes. We already told you about the main steps in writing and shared some handy article review examples to help you get started. But, we have even more tips in store and we are willing to share them with you.
In the list below, we’ve gathered some of the main tips on what you should and should not do when writing.
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