An article review is a paper that summarizes and evaluates some other academic text. College students often get this assignment. It is a good way to introduce them to an example of expert research in their field and teach them to do an evidence-based critical review. The latter is very important because it demonstrates analytical skills and student’s own ability for research. Moreover, it prepares them for impartial peer reviewing in the world of academia.
This is why simply writing a detailed abstract of an article won’t make a good article review. In this post, we will look into the process of analyzing the work of your fellow professionals and give you guidelines for writing an article review in an APA format.
What Is An Article Review?
An article review is a genre of academic writing that assesses the ideas presented in a research paper, analyzes its arguments and findings, and evaluates the impact the initial article had (or is likely to have) on the relevant field of study. Some key characteristics of the critical review of an article are the following:
- - An article review is always written in response to another scholarly article. It should not include your own research or any new information – only the evaluation of the original work. There are some rare exceptions, such as when you need to correct mistakes in the initial text or highlight contradictions to the existing knowledge.
- - The intended audience of the article review are researchers familiar with the topic or at least competent in the field. Don’t include glossaries and definitions that explain basic terms in your article review.
- - Your article review should be balanced between summarizing and critiquing. It should not only provide your evaluation but also fairly represent the ideas and arguments from the source material.
- - It should use evidence from the text and your reasoning – don’t base your critique on your impressions and opinions.
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Steps to Writing an Article Review
To write an on-par article review yourself, you will have to work carefully, step-by-step.
Prior to writing
Do a quick preview of the article.
You need this to understand its core theme, claims, and results. Identify the main points the author makes by reading the abstract, the introduction, and the conclusion. Do they align well? Did the author provide the answers to the initial questions?
Read the paper thoroughly with a pencil.
Highlight the main points, make notes on the margins if anything puzzles you, contradicts your knowledge or other statements within the text. Also, underline things you find intriguing or very to the point. If it helps, make notes as you read and write down some key statements.
Clarify anything you don’t understand.
It is crucial to fully understand the article before you attempt any critique of it. Don’t hesitate to write down definitions of any terms and concepts you see for the first time. You will not need this for your article review, but for your own benefit and understanding of the source material.
Put it in your own words.
This is important for verifying your understanding. Imagine you must brief your classmate on the article in 5 minutes you have before the workshop. Can you retell the article? At this stage, you can also write an outline for an article review and later use it in the final text.
Choose the focus of your review.
Which particular issues do you wish to discuss apart from the main issues of the article? This is a normal part of the critique; you can give more attention to some aspects of the article, than to others.
Cite the article at the beginning of your review (in APA or in MLA) and identify the author and their goal in the introduction.
Summarize the article. You can use the outline you’ve written in your own words.
Evaluate the article. Now that you have your article review summary, you must assess it’s quality. Look at the key points:
- Are the main concepts clearly defined?
- Did the article achieve what it set out to do?
- Was the evidence compelling?
- How concise was the writing overall?
Write the conclusion.
- Was the argument provided in the article accurate?
- What is the significance of the article?
- Does it forward the knowledge in the field?
- What are the implications for further research?
Read further, if you need guidelines on how to format your paper.
Choosing Your Article Review Format
APA and MLA are two writing guides that differ slightly. You are not breaking a law by using one instead of another. Just remember that you should be consistent within the paper. Also, if your instructors asked you to adhere to a particular format, respect their wish.
APA format article review
Many academic writers around the world, regardless of their discipline, adapted the rules of APA style given in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. Those guidelines on how to write with simplicity and concision became the standard. If you need to write a review on a journal article or a research paper in the field of Social Studies, you cannot do wrong by choosing APA. Here are the basics:
Follow the structure:
- Title Page
- You can forego the abstract since the article review is a relatively short paper
- include an author, title of the article, and the date
- explain how this article relates to the field and why it’s significant
- the thesis statement should be about the original article: “The purpose of this study was…”
- describe the research
- provide a thorough analysis and summary of each topic
- don’t forget to use correct in-text citation: Author, year, page in parentheses, for example, (Rothenberg, 2007, p. 9)
Follow the recommendations:
- Use 3rd person
- Paraphrase to avoid excessive quoting
- Avoid being too casual. For example, exclamation points, colloquialisms, spelling shortcuts are inappropriate.
- Use good grammar. Inconsistent verb tense is an illustrative example of the most common mistake students make
Include a separate References page for your APA list of sources. The sample of APA reference:
Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Date of publication). Title of the article. Title of Online Periodical, volume number (issue number). Retrieved from: https://example.com/full/url/
Format the paper:
- Font: Times New Roman – 12pt
- Page margins: 1’’
- Line spacing: double
MLA Format Article Review
MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing is an academic style guide by the Modern Language Association of America (MLA). It is widely used in Humanities, especially in Language and Literature Studies and related cultural disciplines.
All the good practices from the APA format are also relevant in MLA. The differences mainly concern citation format. Here what is different in MLA:
- - You don’t have to include a separate title page
- - Your list of sources should be titled “Works Cited” (instead of References in APA)
- - Include author’s first name instead of just an initial (Doe, John instead of Doe, J.)
- - For in-text citations use the following format: Author Page (Doe 17)
- - Capitalize each word in the source title
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