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What is an article review?

The purpose of an article review is to provide readers with an informed and succinct analysis of one or several articles so that they can decide whether the article/s is useful to them. The review:

provides a brief description of the purpose and content of one or more articles analyses the strengths and weaknesses of the article/s in terms of their value to a specific field of knowledge shows how the article/s contributes to that field of knowledge.

As a reviewer you are usually expected to draw on a broad knowledge of the content area for each article under review. Article reviews have three main parts or stages

a heading which provides all the necessary bibliographic information about the article/s a summary which outlines the article and reports briefly on its purpose and overall argument a critique which uses knowledge of the field to evaluate the quality the article.

The summary and critique follow one another without the use of subheadings. More information about summarising and critiquing is given below. Steps in writing an article review When preparing to write an article review you undertake a number of different activities:

reading and noting writing the first draft revising and redrafting using feedback

Reading and noting


Before you begin reading your article/s you need to start thinking about yourself as a reviewer. This means you must have a clear idea about your purpose so that you can approach the article and the related readings with useful questions in mind. You may need to allow quite a lot of time for thinking about the topic, reading and analysing the article, and reading more widely. Brainstorming the topic can be a good starting point before you start your detailed reading. To brainstorm you use a piece of paper to jot down all that you know about the topic and all your questions about it. Ask yourself whether you know about alternative views that have been presented on this topic. This can help you to identify the strengths and gaps in your knowledge and it may prompt questions that will guide your initial reading of the article as well as your wider reading. Some of the following questions might be helpful in your reading of the article/s:

What is the authors stated purpose? Where and how is this stated? Who is the intended audience? Is it a specialised or general audience? What is the main line of argument? Is the main line of argument logical? What arguments does the author use to support the main line of argument? What evidence does the author use to support the main line of argument? Does the author define important terms? Is the evidence well presented, sufficient and convincing? Are there alternative points of view or lines of argument? Where does the author stand in relation to other points of view on this topic? Does the text present or refute opposing lines of argument and evidence? If the article reports on an experiment or study, does the author clearly outline methodology and the expected result? Is the article lacking information or argumentation that you expected to find? Is the article organized logically and easy to follow? Does the writers style suit the intended audience? Is the style stilted or unnecessarily complicated? Is the authors language objective or charged with emotion and bias? If illustrations or charts are used, are they effective in presenting information?

Clearly some of these questions will be addressed through your wider reading on the topic. Your notes provide a record of your thinking and they will help in writing your review. Notes on the main article/s should include an outline of the authors argument and the framework of the overall article/s for this forms the basis of your summary. Noting the relevant bibliographic details about all sources (author, date, title, publisher etc) ensures that you have the information you need when you start writing. Writing the Article Summary Introduction -- Give the title of the article and name of the author(s) and provide a full citation of the article. Identify the writer by profession or importance. -- Identify the purpose of the article. -- Tell what the research question is and explain why it is interesting and important. Give your overall impression. -- It is important that the introductory paragraph include a thesis statement which identifies the main points you will be discussing in the body (analysis) of the review. Body (Analysis) -- Briefly describe the methods, design of the study, how many subjects were involved, what they did, the variables, what was measured, and where the research was conducted. -- Describe the results / what was found. -- Write an analytical summary of the main findings, arguments, or conclusions of the article / study. -- Discuss the strengths and usefulness of the article / study. -- Discuss the weaknesses, limitations, or problems of the article / study.

-- Discuss what you learned from the article and if you recommend it to other students. -- Support your analysis with quotations and/or specific examples throughout. Conclusion -- Summarize the previous discussion. -- Make a final judgement on the value of the article. -- State what you learned from the article. -- Comment on the future or implications of the research.