Learn the Basics of Article Review Writing

If you are working on an article review, then you are writing it for an audience, who is quite familiar with the topic or subject matter. Thus, your task is limited to developing a comprehensive summary of the article. You may also want to analyze the implications it may have for research and practice.

Writing an article review is more than describing an opinion or providing an emotional response. It is a piece of formal academic writing, which requires thoroughness and systematic analysis. You will have to be thoughtful and reserved when analyzing the article's content. You must use evidence to support your points.

You do not need to conduct any additional research to write a perfect article review. Your task is to summarize and evaluate the research conducted by the author of your selected article.

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Review the Way the Article is Organized

Even before you evaluate the article's content, you may cast an eye on the way it is organized. You may also want to critique the advantages and weaknesses of such organization. Thus, you will have to arrange your article review in the following way:

  • Summarize the article's content. Pay attention to the most important aspects of writing. Prioritize among the important and unimportant points. Provide the basic information about the author and the article's argument.
  • Review the strengths of the article you have selected. Tell your readers where the author has been successful and how he or she has contributed to the field.
  • Review the weaknesses, logical inconsistencies, or possible gaps in meaning. Tell your readers if you believe that the article provides sufficient information to inform future research and practice. Try to identify any questions that have not been answered. 
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Article Preview

Here, you begin with a brief review of the article's contents, from the title and abstract to the conclusion and the list of references. Then you can review the beginning paragraphs. Compare their contents to that of the conclusion. Do you see any gaps or inconsistencies? Is there something that the author says in the introduction but forgets to mention in the conclusion? Now you are ready to read the whole article. At first, you will read the article quickly to develop the basic understanding of its contents. Then you will repeat the process, making notes.

See if there are any issues in how the author presents the argument. 

Read the Article Thoroughly

Now you can read the article once more.

Do not: review each paragraph. Cover only the most valuable points.

Do: use your notes to provide additional evidence and link your review to the article itself.

  • Now it is time to link the knowledge you have gained from the article to the knowledge you already possess. You may want to revisit the themes and topics you have discussed with your teacher. Class and course readings may also help. How does the argument shared by the author fit in the earlier discussions of the same topic in class? Do you see that it echoes your understanding of the subject? What are possible inconsistencies or contradictions?
  • See if there is any underlying meaning in the article of your choice. You must read the article completely to see if you have captured its obvious and hidden meanings.

Retell the Contents of the Article in Your Own Words

You can develop a strong paragraph, which provides your readers with a brief summary of the article. However, simply paraphrase. Do not change the original meaning of the article.

  • Develop an outline of the most important things shared by the author in his or her article. Support your claims with direct evidence from the article. Do not include any opinion. Your task is to summarize rather than evaluate.
  • When you have finished paraphrasing the article, you will need to prioritize among different pieces of information. In other words, you will need to decide which aspects of the article are worth being included in the final review. For instance, you may want to highlight some information from every part of the article, or you may want to emphasize the importance of theoretical or practice part.
  • Now you can reread and improve your article review outline to make it perfect. When you feel satisfied with its quality and structure, you can switch over to developing the article review according to this outline.

Outline the Review or Evaluation Part of Your Work.

Evaluate every aspect of the article you have discussed in your summary. Your function here is to define if the author has been thorough, logical, and consistent when writing his or her article. You may want to specify the strengths of the article, both in terms of its methodology and research findings. You may also look into the weaknesses, using evidence to support your position and claims. Do not make bold statements if you cannot support them. Do not just say that the article is good or bad. Be detailed. Be convincing. You may need to do some additional research. For example, you may find out that the data provided by the author is outdated or incorrect. Then you will need to use the results of your study as the basis for making your claims. You may also use some of the questions below to guide your article review writing:

  • What was the author's intent for writing the article?
  • What theory or assumptions did he/she use?
  • Was the author explicit when defining the key terms and concepts?
  • Was evidence sufficient to prove the point?
  • Was the study based on earlier research findings?
  • Can the study contribute to future research and practice?

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