Do you know how to write a journal article review, which is often assigned to students? If you have not been assigned to a peer review journal article before, it is an unfamiliar exercise; however, it is not such a complicated assignment as writing an essay which requires much library research. You should remember that it must be written not for the general reader but for the particular one, who is knowledgeable in the discipline and has interest not only in the coverage and the content of the article being reviewed, but also in your critical assessment of it.
More information about article review you can find in our blog post called "What is an Article Review".
The journal article review format includes particular sections, which have to answer the following questions:
- objectives (what is the main aim of the article?)
- theory (is there an obvious theoretical framework or theoretical assumptions?)
- concepts (are central concepts clearly defined?)
- argument (what is the central argument and specific hypotheses?)
- evidence (how adequate is it?)
How to Write a Critical Review of a Journal Article
So now, when you know which questions should guide you in the process, the time has come to begin writing your paper. Are you ready to learn how to write a critical review of a journal article? Here are three steps that will help you learn how to write a critical review of a scientific journal article.
Step 1. How to Write a Journal Article Review APA Style: Get to Know the Article
If you wonder how to write a journal article review APA style, first, look at the title, the abstract, and the introduction. These sections have to provide you with an idea of the central focus and the content of an article and the reasons for producing this article. After it, skim through the whole paper, being more careful while reading opening sentences of paragraphs, tables and other graphic materials.
Pay more attention to the first section that usually presents the main issues to be discussed and indicates the theoretical or conceptual framework within which the author suggests to work.
Then, read closely the final section where the author’s conclusion is covered and main reasons why it has been reached are summarized.
Now when you are familiar with the article, it is necessary to read the whole text carefully and develop a basis on which you will produce a critical review. It is time for the next step of writing a journal article review APA style.
Step 2. Define the Aspects of the Article You Want to Discuss in the Review
It may be the theoretical approach, the content, the selection and interpretation of evidence, the style of presentation, etc. Oftentimes, students choose discussing the main issues which are specifically examined by the author of an article.
Also, students like selecting particular issues among plenty of ones being discussed in the article because they have importance for them and for the course they are studying, even if they are not the main issues for the author.
Step 3. Make Notes
If you are interested how to do a journal article review, you should be ready to carry out research and expand your knowledge on the topic.
When you have chosen which aspects you would like to discuss in the review, read in closer detail the sections that are relevant to those issues and note key points and quotations.
Now, when you have some kind of journal article review worksheet, if you consider it necessary, read more articles or books that are relevant to the topic you are working on to collect more evidence or alternative theoretical models or interpretations of data.
Also, if you want to, look through other reviews of this article in up-to-date academic journals. Remember that you can only use them in order to support your own evaluation instead of copying or imitating them.
Journal Article Review Structure
Now it is time to start drafting and actually writing your paper. One more thing you should know when wondering how to write a review paper on a journal article is the structure of such paper. It has to include the following sections:
- The initial identification of the article, including titles of the article and the journal, author, year of publication etc., and the indication of its major aspects.
- A short summary of the content and arguments of the article. Sometimes, it is appropriate to summarize section by section but usually, to provide a brief review only the major topics are picked up. Consider that this section should take up about one third of the total paper.
- A critical discussion of just a few main issues that are presented in the article. Please note that this section has to be the core of the entire critical review of journal article essay. It is necessary to make clear the argument of the author before criticizing and assessing it. Furthermore, make sure to support your criticisms with strong evidence.
- A final assessment of the overall contribution which the article has made to your understanding of the topic. If you have a mild yen, you may include also the evaluation of the article’s importance to the increase of knowledge in this particular discipline.
Questions that Your Paper Must Answer
To check whether your literature review journal article is fully completed, ensure it fits the following requirements:
- The article is identified clearly at the beginning.
- The clear and objective summary of the author’s argument is provided in a way that allows your reader to recognize the theoretical approach and the range of material covered.
- A couple of major issues presented in this article are clearly identified and thoroughly discussed.
- The reasons for your criticism are provided.
- There is a final assessment of the importance of the article being reviewed.
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