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Guide: how to write article critique

An article critique is a rather popular type of assignment, which requires you to use a set of specific skills. The main goal of an article critique is to objectively assess the ideas expressed by the author of a reviewed article; it is acceptable that you include your personal opinion on the subject. Objective assessment, in its turn, implies that you pay attention to not only negative, but also to positive aspects of the reviewed article.

Writing an article critique can be done in the following steps:

  1. Identifying the overall context
  2. Identifying the main idea(s)
  3. Assessing the arguments used to support the main idea(s)
  4. Evaluating the article in general and responding

Each of these stages consists of smaller steps. Keep in mind that all of the following steps imply that you read the article at least once.

  1. Identifying the overall context
    • Research the article’s background. In general, you must pay attention to the occasion on which the article was written, and what is the author’s purpose.
    • Find out why and how is the information from the article important or in any way useful. Think on who could be the author’s target audience.
    • Consider the level of scrutiny and the article’s novelty. It might be that the article you are reviewing is written on a brand new subject: for example, as a follow-up to a scientific discovery; or, on the contrary, it could be an article written on a trivial and mundane topic, but from a new perspective, and so on.
  2. Identifying the main ideas
    • Find the thesis statement, because this is the point around which the entire article, its argumentation, and the author’s opinion on the subject revolves. Normally, it is located in the beginning of the article, and clearly states the author’s intentions.
    • The main idea in many articles is often synthesized from a certain amount of smaller (let’s call them secondary) ideas, which are also present in the text of an article. For example, the author can come up with the general idea sounding like “Corruption is bad for society,” and then “decode” it further in the article (say, using the subheadings like, “Corruption interferes with effective social management,” “Corruption decreases living standards,” “Corruption contributes to organized crime,” and so on). Each of these ideas is supported/proved by evidence: facts, interviews, analysis, and other data gathered by the article’s author. This structure can have even more branches, but the overall scheme is the same: assembling smaller details to support a bigger idea. The author should link these smaller ideas to the general thesis statement.
  3. Assessing the arguments
    • Now your task is to be as objective as possible, and assess the arguments presented by the author. Are they relevant to the main ideas of the reviewed article? Was there enough supporting evidence to prove/disprove them? Were the arguments convincing, and the author’s sources credible?
  4. Evaluating the article in general and responding
    • Here you can elaborate on the article itself). It is important because sometimes an article can be poorly written (and bad, in general) despite the arguments being sufficient, and the subject - important. On the contrary, unconvincing arguments and unclear point an author makes do not automatically make an article worse. So, here is when you should pay attention to the style in which an article is written, to the significance of problems it raises (one can write a fairly argumentative research on a totally worthless or even pernicious topic). Your subjective thoughts regarding the article, its subject, your position on it, and so on, should be included in the response.

Remember that the critique should be written in a neutral but respective manner. After you write, edit, and proofread your critical paper, you can submit it to your instructor. Good luck.

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