Let us get closer to the key point in the guidelines on how to critique an article – specific instructions regarding the stages of successful completion of the project.
Stage 1: Active Reading
Only thorough understanding of the article you have read can bring you to an effective critique. It is not a fast process, as the articles taken from the journals can be rather long. Besides, some of the covered aspects or terms can be complicated for understanding. It will not be enough just to look through the article or read it once. What you need to do is close reading and conducting some related research defining the key terms.
Reading should be accompanied with close observation of details mentioned in the text with identification of the author’s opinion and key arguments applied for ensuring support to that opinion. Thus, we recommend you to have either a pencil with a notebook or a mobile application to take notes.
Scanning the article, you should detect such research aspects as:
- Research goal;
- Research problem;
- Methods of the research;
- Research participants;
- Key findings;
It will be much easier for you to handle this stage if you have read the article more than once. Why should you do this? Do not forget that it is important to take notes while reading; besides, they should not be concise. If you take only brief notes, the entire idea may be lost as the academic paper you are working on is really complicated.
If you have chosen a sophisticated text for analysis, you will have lots of ideas which you may forget in the course of writing. Note-taking will be a great solution for you with the minimum efforts taken to overcome the obstacles.
Stage 2: Making a Preliminary Outline
You have collected a lot of notes online and now you can proceed to writing an outline for your paper. You have thorough understanding of the content but you cannot make a final outline yet as your critique is not completed. Just try to foresee the key points you will cover in your paper.
Stage 3: Question the Key Opinions of theAuthor
Your professor will check whether you have gained an insight into the essence of the assignment. The most serious mistake of yours will be summarizing the content of the article instead of making a critique. You are supposed to analyze the content you have read. Besides, in your article critique assignment, you should sound convincing although you are not supposed to persuade your audience. You should focus on the logical flow of the author’s thoughts and conduct some extra research to make your analysis well-supported with evidence. Besides, you should find some similar examples to make a comparison between them and the hypothesis of the discussed article.
Start with the comparison between the conclusion and introduction and see whether the sections match.
Besides, question not only the logic of the flow and the key message, but also the following aspects:
- Research methods;
- Elements of the style.
One of the elements of your critique assignment can be your comments on the incomprehensible style of the author.
When questioning the key points of the discussed article, you should keep in mind that your main purpose is not mere seeking faults. You may sound positive although the name of the writing type will still be a critique. It is fine to agree with the main points of the article. It is still fine to disagree with them. Still, a typical approach is to take some position in between and put an emphasis both on the positive and negative aspects of the article with the use of strong arguments.
Stage 4: Start writing
Having collected piles of notes and a structure for your ideas, you can start discussing the article.
- Reveal your key argument in the introductory section
An introduction is not a complicated section to work on. Give background information about the article, mentioning its title, name of the author, the date of publication in a journal, and its name. Let readers know about the focus this article has and add an impressive thesis statement, which is placed in the introduction. Make sure your introduction gives an outline of the key argument and reveals the main points.
- Work on the paragraphs of the body
It is the time for making critical remarks, each of them should be given in a separate paragraph. It is possible to use the subheadings to structure the article critique, as it is different from a common five-paragraph essay. A topic sentence should open each body paragraph to ensure its further development in a particular section. Make sure that the paper sections are connected logically with sufficient transitions.
- Give a summary of the arguments
A concluding part has to give potential implications and summary of the critique you have made. One of the options is to recommend conducting additional research to study more aspects related to the topic and fill the available gaps.
Stage 5: Make necessary amendments
This stage is typically disregarded by students as they believe that it does not deserve spending time on it. Still, if you want to prove to your professor that you are well aware of the standards on how to critique an article, this stage is essential for you. Your current project is really serious and it is supposed to show that you are capable of brilliant writing, making arguments, and critical thinking. Possible minor and major flaws will spoil the impression your paper can produce on the target audience.
Mind the references and in-text citations. Check whether all the mentioned sources are formatted accordingly. Edit and proofread the list of sources as well! If you find it difficult to remember the standards of formatting, look through the guidelines on the formatting styles.
You have decided to cope with a complex project independently without any external support. Thus, you have to show your best. You need to demonstrate that you are able to criticize the work of some reputable author, questioning the stated arguments and giving your own views and perspectives.
Your career advancement will depend on your critical thinking skill and this particular assignment will help you master it. Your efforts taken in this writing task will definitely be rewarded.