An article review is a piece of writing where you summarize and assess someone else's article. The goal of assigning article reviews is to get the students familiar with the works of the renowned specialists in a particular field. These specialists also have to review each other’s articles on a regular basis. To summarize the article properly, one needs to comprehend the essence of the work, its argument, and its main points. You are expected to assess the main theme, its supporting arguments, and the perspectives for further research in the given direction. Like any other written piece, an article review requires thorough preparation. Hence, article review writing process consists of two stages: preparation and writing.
You write it not for the general public but for the readership familiar with the field of knowledge. This review is to summarize the essence of the article, its key arguments, and findings, and the author's attitude towards the subject-matter. You also assess the new knowledge that the author has brought to the discipline and its application potential.
Writing an article review is not just about expressing your opinion on the work. It is a fully-fledged evaluation of the author's ideas expressed in the article. As you analyze the article, you use your own ideas and research experience. Your overall conclusions about the article base off on your own judgment backed up by your experience in this field and your common sense.
You only talk about the research already performed by the article's author. You do not perform any new research yourself.
You should know exactly how you will be writing your article review before you even read the article in question. This is because you should know which points of the article are most important to your review in advance. The article review outline usually goes like this:
Browse through the article’s title, abstract, headings. Read the introduction, the conclusion, the first sentences of each paragraph. Then read several opening paragraphs. This should be enough to get the initial grasp of the author’s main points and argument. Only then you should read the whole article. This first reading is only for getting the overall idea of the point that the author sought to make with this article.
Carefully read the article several more times. If you are reading it from a screen, use a highlighter for the most meaningful parts. If you are using a print version, use a pen. The most meaningful parts here are the main points and the facts to support them. Don’t be tempted to just highlight every paragraph. Instead, make notes on the margins and draw connections between different parts of the article.
It is best to do it in written form, such as an outline or a piece of free writing. Basically, you just put the information you have just read in your own words. This should include the author's claim, the conducted research, and the argument(s). You need to be careful and accurate not to miss any important details.
This text is only for your use, so it does not need any editing or proofreading, but it needs to be clear so that you could return to it at any time and not spend time remembering what exactly you meant by this or that.
Look at your summary to see if the author was clear about each of them. Mark the points that could use some improvement, as well as the ones where the author was clear and accurate and where s/he pointed out something innovative. Then put together the lists of strong points and drawbacks and summarize them. For example, a strong point may be the introduction of new information, and a drawback may be the lack of accuracy in representing the existing knowledge on the topic. Add these outcomes to your study and back them up with evidence from the text of the article.
Answering these questions should facilitate your outline writing:
It is crucial that you provide a non-biased judgment, so you need to try and steer clear from being judgmental and giving too much personal opinion.
The title of your review should hint on its focus that you have chosen in one of the previous steps. A title can be descriptive, declarative or interrogative.
This should be placed under the title. Remember to use the specified citation style (APA, ASA, Chicago / Turabian, MLA). The main body of your review should start right after this citation, without skipping a line.
For example, here is how you cite an article in Chicago / Turabian format style:Smith, John, and Jane Doe. “Studies in pop rocks and Coke.” Weird Science 12 (2009)
Start your review with mentioning the title of the article under review, its author(s), as well as the title of the journal and the year of publication.
For example: The article, "Studies in pop rocks and Coke" was written by pop-art enthusiasts John Smith and Jane Doe.
Your introduction should be the utmost laconic gist of the article under review. Here, you state the author's thesis. If the thesis is not stated in the article, it is up to you to figure it out yourself. The introduction should also include article main theme and the author's main claim.
Use the formal style and narrate impersonally or from the third person, avoid the first person.
Use your own words to explain the article’s main claim, main points, and research results. Your summary should be of help here. Demonstrate how the evidence supports the argument in the article. Mention the conclusions drawn by the author. Your tutor will determine how long the introduction should be, but normally it takes several paragraphs.
Be as laconic as you can and include as much information as possible. For this purpose, avoid mentioning the information that your reader is already familiar with.
This is the core of the review. Check with your summary and describe how well the topic is covered in the article. Here you assess how clear and insightful the article is. Usually, you will be required to talk about each of the article's main points separately and describe how well the given evidence supports them. If you have spotted any bias, you should mention it. Finally, you pass the judgment as to how the author contributes to the understanding of the subject-matter and, hence, the article's overall importance. Also, you agree or disagree with the author and ground your opinion. You conclude the main body of your review by suggesting your reader what exactly they can bring out from reading the article.
Remember to stick to the point and make sure that there is no unrelated information. It should be about the article’s strong points and drawbacks with their descriptions ultimately interconnected to form your own reviewer’s thesis.
The conclusion is usually one paragraph long and takes no more than 10% of your article review. This is where you briefly restate the main points of the article, as well as your judgment as to how well-written and important the article is. You can also make a suggestion as to the direction for further research on the topic.
If possible, put your draft aside for a few days or at least hours, after which give it a fresh look. Pay special attention to typing and spelling errors, grammar and punctuation, and – of course – the factual data. Additionally, double-check if all the information is to the point and exclude everything that is not so relevant, but don’t get too fanatic about it: a review has to talk about no less (and, preferably, no more) than 3-4 most noteworthy issues.