How to Deal with Writing an Article Review

At some point or another in your college career you will be asked to write a critical review of an academic article. It's a popular assignment that challenges you to break down a published work into several components and provide an assessment of whether or not it has accomplished in its attempt to clearly and concisely make an argument on a particular topic. If you're new to this type of assignment you're likely a little panicky about getting started. Here's how to deal with writing a winning article review:

Read the entire article.

The first step is the easiest and requires you to simple read the entire article. There are many approaches and you may want to try a few of them out before settling on just one. Some people like reading the article in its entirety. Others prefer to work section by section and re-reading any section that doesn't make sense. Whatever your method make sure you've covered the entire article before making any notes.

Reread with a marker or pen.

Read the article again, but this time use a marker or pen to take notes, underline, or highlight key elements of the source article. Underline topic sentences, the thesis statement, pieces of evidence and any conclusions made throughout the paper. These are all content pieces you need to write your review, and you could save yourself a lot of time if you mark these up for reference before you start your writing.

Make an outline of your paper.

Just like every other kind of academic writing, you will be benefit from starting out with a detailed outline of the content you will include in your paper. In this case, you may want to review a couple of published article reviews to understand the structure, or you may want to download a sample outline to base your own off of. You don't need to write out complete sentences in each bullet point, but you should be able to make sense of your paper's intended logic and flow.

Make sure you write on each essential part.

Your instructor may request for you to include specific parts in your review, but generally it should always include a brief summary of the source article, its major arguments and evidence used, and your opinion of whether or not it succeeds in making an effective argument. Additionally, you'll want to say why or why not the article proved or missed its point. Double check your instructor's prompt to make sure there are no additional parts he or she would like to see.

Reread your content and revise for simplicity.

After you have written your entire review, it's important you revise to take out any information that doesn't directly address the intent of your paper, which is offering a critical opinion of the source article. Take out extraneous phrases and words, remembering that your colleagues want to get a quick glimpse of whether or not the source article would be valuable to their own work.