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!
What Is an Article Review?
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:
- It always includes summarization, classification, in-depth analysis, comparison, and critiques.
- The evaluation and analysis should use research, ideas, and theories relevant to the subject matter.
- Important: A review of an article should not provide new information. Instead, it should explore and evaluate the work of another writer.
Common Types of Article Review
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.
Journal Article Review
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.
Research Article Review
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.
Science Article Review
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.
Article Review Format Tips
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 your paper writing. 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:
- What citation style is preferred?
- What is the required word count?
- Are you to include a summary, critique, or your personal opinion in the review?
- Are you expected to drive attention to the main idea or theme within the articles?
- Are you to provide background information?
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 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:
- Web: Author’s last name, initials. (Year, month date of publication). Title. Retrieved from (link to your source)
- Journal: Author’s last name, initials. (Year of publication). Publication title. Periodical title, volume (issue), pp.-pp.
- Newspaper: Author’s last name, initials. (Year, month date of publication). Publication title. The magazine title, pp. xx-xx.
MLA Article Review
The second common style is MLA. Here is how to format your citations if you are assigned to write an article review in MLA:
- Web: Author’s last name, first name middle name initial. “Publication Title.” Website Title. Website Publisher, Date Month Year Published. Web. Date Month Year Accessed.
- Journal: Author’s last name, first name middle name initial. “Publication Title.” Journal Title Series Volume. Issue (Year Published): Page(s). Database Name. Web. Date Month Year Accessed.
- Newspaper: Author’s last name, first name middle name initial. “Publication Title.” Newspaper Title [City] Date, Month, Year Published: Page(s). Print.
Preparing for Writing an Article Review
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.
Figure Out How to Organize Your Paper
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:
- Summary of the article. Begin your review by summarizing the article, its key ideas, statements, and information.
- Discussion of the strong points. Next, focus on the positive things. Tell the readers what the author does well, what good ideas he or she brings up, and share some insightful observations.
- Discussion of drawbacks, gaps, contradictions, and inconsistencies of the article. To complete your review, tell the readers about the negative aspects you’ve noticed. Discuss if there is an information gap, lack of research, or unanswered questions.
Go Over the Text
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:
- Look for the general idea and key points.
- Note down any terms, concepts, or words that are not familiar to you.
- Write down all questions you get while reading the article.
- Before you move to the next step, be sure to look up the definitions of the unfamiliar words.
Read the Text Attentively
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:
- Read the article multiple times to ensure that you got the main idea right.
- Make notes on everything that sounds important or unclear.
- Highlight the most important points and helpful quotes that you can refer to later.
- Connect the content of the article with your own knowledge of the topic. Define if the article agrees or disagrees with what you already know.
Interpret the Article In Your Own Words
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.
Create a Detailed Outline
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.
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Article Review Template & 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:
- Pre-title page that shares full information about the article that is being reviewed (i.e. the type of the article, author(s), the title of the publication, etc.)
- Optional author’s contact details (e.g. email, address, phone number, etc.)
- Running head (this element only applies to papers in the APA format)
- Summary page (used to communicate the background, define why the work was done, sum up results and discuss methods)
- Title page
- Works Cited or References
- Suggested Reading Page (optional)
- Tables and Figure Legends (if required)
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:
- Background information
- Article classification
- A brief summary
- Paragraph 1: A strong point or insightful observation + analysis and critique + supporting evidence
- Paragraph 2: A strong point or insightful observation + analysis and critique + supporting evidence
- Paragraph 3: A drawback, gap, inconsistency, or another weak point + analysis and critique + supporting evidence
- Paragraph 4…
- Summary of all discussed points
- Critical evaluation of the author’s work
A Step-by-Step Guide to Article Review Writing
- Choose the Title
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.
- Cite the Article
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.
- Article Identification
Following the citation, you need to provide the identification details of the article, such as:
- Name of the journal
- Year of publication
The article, “The World of Dreams,” was written by John Abraham and published in Virginia Quarterly in 1991.
- Make a Good Introduction
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.
- Summarize the Article
Provide a more thorough summary of the article. Pay close attention to the key statements, ideas, theories, and findings offered by the author.
- Critique It
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.
- Write a Conclusion
Revisit all the points you’ve discussed in your review and shape a clear and logical conclusion.
The Last Stage: Proofreading and Editing
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:
- First of all, be sure to give yourself a few days to rest after you are done with writing. Often, when you start proofreading the text right after you finished it, you are too tired to notice all the mistakes that might be there. So, it is always a good idea to let it rest for a few days.
- One more tip is to read your review several times. As a rule, reading it only once is not enough to notice all the drawbacks.
- Focus on one type of mistake at a time. When revising your work for all types of mistakes at once, you will most likely miss something. But, if you focus on one specific type of mistake during each round of revision, you will be able to identify and eliminate all the errors.
- Use available tools. Finally, we encourage you to make use of the tools you have to simplify and speed up the process. There are many great tools for proofreading and editing that can come in handy. Don’t rely on them completely, but let them save you some time.
Checklist for Revision
Now that you have all the tips for effective proofreading, here is a checklist that will help you define whether you checked everything:
- Text structure
- Tone of voice
- Sentence structure
- Referencing and citations
Writing an Article Review: 14 Dos and Don’ts
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.
- Read the article several times to define its main idea and understand it fully.
- Take notes while you are reading.
- Focus on the impression the article makes.
- If there are any unknown terms, be sure to look them up before writing.
- Base your work on an analysis with insightful observations.
- Check at least one example to know what it should look like.
- Write in the third person and stick to the formal style.
- Make an emphasis on your introduction to engage the readers and make a strong thesis statement.
- Don’t think it is enough to read the article only once.
- Don’t neglect the importance of creating an outline.
- Don’t go with just any title, brainstorm ideas to find a title that is both concise and attention-grabbing.
- Don’t focus only on the positive or, on the contrary, only the negative sides of the article. Instead, make an all-rounded review that highlights both strong points and drawbacks.
- Don’t skip the proofreading and editing stage.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you really need it.
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