How to Write a Review of an Article

An article review aims to critically assess the information presented in an academic or journalistic paper. The task is somewhat subjective as you can judge an article’s contents. While an article review shares similarities with a response paper, they have differences as well.

In this guide, our experts describe the main differences between the two and explain how to read, summarize, and evaluate an article for your review. We’ve included a template and an example to illustrate the process of crafting a skillful article review.

๐Ÿ’ญ Article Review Definition

First, let’s figure out the exact definition of an article review and highlight its differences from a response paper.

An article review is a formal and specialized analysis of a scholarly article that follows strict requirements. To write an article review, you must present an in-depth analysis of the source’s main arguments, constructively evaluate the literature in the related field, and critically reflect on the paper.

In contrast, a response or reaction paper is an informal and creative analysis of a popular article. Such a piece has fewer rules and a looser structure, offering a personal opinion on the given text. Both paper types commence with a summary of the source, but what follows diverges. An article review presents a critical evaluation, while a response paper offers a subjective reaction.

What Are Good Articles for a Review

Students are usually assigned to review a scientific article; we want to describe these types of articles comprehensively below. To make it more clear, we contrasted scholarly articles with popular ones. The latter are rarely a good idea for a scientific article review and are more appropriate for a reaction paper.

FeatureScholarly ArticlesPopular Articles
AudienceScholars, students, and researchers.General audience.
AuthorAn expert, scholar, researcher, or a group of experts in the field.A professional journalist or writer who is not required to be an expert in a particular field.
VocabularySpecialized terminology that is often difficult to understand by non-experts.General-use vocabulary.
LayoutThe layout is formal and well-structured, with necessary sections like an abstract, objectives, methodology, analysis, evidence or results, discussion, conclusion, and list of references. The layout can be informal and creative. The author can invent sections, and it is not required to provide supportive evidence.
ReferencesMust contain a list of references, including the publication year and page.Rarely provide the sources of information described.
ReviewersReferees with experience in the field can review scientific articles. Several peer reviews are necessary.Editorial staff verifies the format and style.
ExamplesNature Communications, Chemical Engineering Journal, The New England Journal of Medicine, and others.The Economist, The Guardian, The Nation, The New York Times, and others.

๐Ÿ‘€ How to Write a Review of an Article

The guide below applies to critical review or the analysis of a scholarly article only. If you are curious about other forms of literary analysis, check out the guide on writing book reviews and literary analysis.

Step 1: Carefully Read the Article

Before starting to write a review, it’s essential to read the article to understand the text fully.

Ask the following questions while reading the text:

  • What’s the topic discussed?
  • What is the type of the article?
  • What are the author’s main ideas?
  • How do they prove their ideas?

Step 2: Create a Summary of an Article

To summarize a text, first, it’s necessary to highlight its main ideas. It’s best to do it during the second reading while taking notes. Sectioning the text and paying attention to headings, thesis statement, conclusion, and keywords will be helpful.

What did the author want to say in each paragraph? Write your interpretation in short phrases to use them later. Then, summarize each section in one sentence and find the evidence that supports the main ideas. Try to express each section in one sentence.

Step 3: Reflect on the Article

How you evaluate the text depends on the topic and the type of article. Here are some of the questions that can help you with this task.

Purpose and Argument Assessment

  • Is the article’s purpose clear from the thesis statement?
  • Does the abstract summarize the key points and argument?
  • Does the objective of the article introduce anything new to the field?
  • Is the argument discussed throughout the main body?
  • Is this discussion cohesive?

Presentation and Organization Assessment

  • Is the title clear and appropriate?
  • Does any place of the article require elaboration?
  • Does any idea seem out of place?
  • Are the author’s statements clear and reader-friendly?
  • How does any ambiguity in the text affect its credibility?
  • Does the author remain objective?
  • Does the overall structure of the article fit its purpose?

Methods Assessment

  • Are the methods and design appropriate for this study?
  • Is the description of the technique sufficient?
  • Have any critical aspects been left out?

Data Assessment

  • Did the author use relevant and credible data?
  • Are there any things that could be improved in the calculations?
  • Is any content duplicated without a good reason?
  • Are there any factual or interpretation errors? (Compare the article with the references cited).
  • Did the author use proper literature?

Step 4: Write a Review of the Article

An article review comprises several parts: introduction, summary, review, and conclusion. If you follow this simple structure, you’ll be safe. It’s also important to remember the rules of academic writing. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

๐ŸŽ“ Use academic style.Always choose the formal variant when doubtful of how to say or express something. Note that words of Latin origin are better than phrasal verbs (which should be avoided). Write “consider,” not “have a look at.”
๐Ÿ”ค Avoid contractions.Words like “isn’t” and “don’t” are a no-go! This rule doesn’t apply only to direct quotations.
๐Ÿ™… Avoid familiarity.Avoid addressing the readers with “you.” Likewise, use “we” sparingly and abstain from referring to yourself in the first person (“I”).
๏ธ ๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธ Use whole phrases.Digits, abbreviations, FANBOYS (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so) can appear anywhere except for the beginning of sentences. Instead, use more literary terms like “nevertheless,” “furthermore,” and “however.”
โœ’๏ธ Follow grammar rules.Each sentence must have a subject and a predicate followed by subordinate clauses or objects. Whenever using two independent clauses in a single sentence, separate them with a semicolon, not a comma.
The picture provides a brief description of an article review outline.

๐Ÿ“ Article Review Outline

We have already stated that it is essential to maintain an objective tone and academic language, but what about the components? Use this structured outline to create a comprehensive and well-organized article review.

  1. Introduction
    • Briefly introduce the article, its title, author, publication date, and publication source.
    • Overview the article’s main topic, thesis, and purpose.
    • Include a thesis statement or the main point you will address in your review.
  2. Summary of the Article
    • Provide a comprehensive summary of the content.
    • Summarize the main arguments, key findings, evidence, and the author’s methodology.
    • Don’t express your opinion in this section; present the article’s content objectively.
  3. Author’s Background and Credentials
    • Introduce the author, their contributions, and expertise relevant to the topic.
    • Explain why the author’s background makes them a credible source in the field.
  4. Evaluation of the Author’s Arguments
    • Assess the strength of the author’s arguments, evaluating their logic and persuasiveness.
    • Discuss the quality of the evidence presented โ€“ whether it is relevant and reliable.
    • Identify any logical fallacies or biases in the author’s reasoning.
  5. Comparison with Other Works
    • Discuss how the article fits within the broader scholarly discussion.
    • Mention other works that have a similar or contrasting viewpoints.
    • Evaluate how the article contributes to the existing literature.
  6. Methodology and Research Design
    • Analyze the research methods, data collection, and analysis techniques used in the article.
    • Consider whether the methodology is appropriate in addressing the research questions.
  7. Critical Analysis
    • Express your opinion on the article’s strengths and weaknesses.
    • Address issues like the clarity of the writing, organization, and structure.
    • Highlight any limitations of the article or areas where further research is needed.
  8. Conclusion
    • Summarize your key points, reiterating your overall assessment of the article.
    • Restate your thesis and discuss whether the article achieves its intended purpose.
    • Offer recommendations for how the paper could be improved.
  9. References
    • Include a list of references and citations used in your review.

๐Ÿ“œ How to Cite a Reviewed Article

To cite a reviewed article, students are typically asked to follow APA, MLA, or Chicago citing style. The exact citation style may vary depending on your academic institution’s requirements. Use these rules to cite a reviewed article:

MLA Format

In-text citationThe author’s last name and the page number. If you’re citing a review by John Smith on page 42:

๐Ÿ—จ๏ธ (Smith 42)
Bibliographical EntriesWeb-published article citation must include the authorโ€™s last and first names, article title, information about the website, URL, and the date you accessed it:

๐Ÿ—จ๏ธ Smith, Bernard, et al. “Benefits of Animal Testing.” 2010, URL, Accessed on 9/5/2022.

For an article published in a journal, a citation must include the authorโ€™s last name, first name, article title, journal title, volume, number, year published, and pages:

๐Ÿ—จ๏ธ Smith, Bernard, et al. “Benefits of Animal Testing.” Journal of Animal Rights, vol. 32, no.2, 2018, pp.33-37.

APA Format

In-text citationHere, you need to include the author’s last name and the publication year in parentheses:

๐Ÿ—จ๏ธ (Smith, 2020)
Bibliographical EntriesFor a web-published article, provide the authorโ€™s last & first name, year, website page title, name of Website, and URL:

๐Ÿ—จ๏ธ Smith, Bernard. (2020, January 24). Benefits of Animal Testing., URL.

For a journal-published article, include the authorโ€™s last and first name, year of publication, article title, journal name, volume, pages, and Doi:

๐Ÿ—จ๏ธ Smith, B., Jeninns, E. (2020). Benefits of Animal Testing. Journal of Animal Rights, 32(2), pp. 33-37. https://doi

For more details and instruction, refer to official guidelines on how to cite in different styles:

๐Ÿ“ Article Review Samples

The best explanation is demonstration! Look at these article review examples that weโ€™ve gathered for you. Pay attention to the structures, language choice, citations, and other elements required for this format.

๐Ÿ“Œ Citizen Perceptions of Local Government Responsiveness in Sub-Saharan Africa by Bratton: Article Evaluation

This is the review of the article “Citizen Perceptions of Local Government Responsiveness in Sub-Saharan Africa” by Michael Bratton, where he discusses the relationship between citizens and local government leaders in Sub-Saharan Africa. Exploring the concepts of governance, responsiveness, and performance, the author states that local government units in Sub-Saharan Africa were perceived as weak and unresponsive by citizens. The study highlights the significance of understanding the factors influencing local government performance. However, the reviewer marks particular issues, such as the lack of a clear research design, methodology, and sampling criteria. The author proposes to improve the research by incorporating these elements, comparing local governors’ performance based on their duration of operation, and outlining specific data analysis methods, like the Cronbach alpha coefficient, to enhance the study’s authority.

๐Ÿ“Œ Culturally Tailored Education for African Americans with Type 2 Diabetes – Article by Carter et al.

In this review of the article “Culturally Tailored Education for African Americans with Type 2 Diabetes” by Berkley Carter and others, you will find a discussion about the significance of culturally relevant self-care plans for patients with type 2 diabetes. The authors emphasize the importance of considering the patients’ cultural backgrounds and social contexts in healthcare planning. However, the reviewer also focuses on specific challenges like dietary habits and safety concerns. In the end, the reader might discover the recommendations to involve the patient’s social network to enhance the effectiveness of self-care plans.

โ“ Article Review FAQ

What’s the Main Purpose of an Article Review?

It depends on whether you do it as an assignment or as a new publication for a research journal. In the former case, you should demonstrate your understanding of the source material. In the second, your analytical skills are more critical. But in both cases, you should evaluate how the author addresses the topic.

What Makes a Good Article Review?

A good article review summarizes the main ideas of the source text and analyzes them, depending on the requirements. Despite subjectivity, it follows a logical structure and is grounded in the original source.

How Do You Write a Critical Review of a Journal Article?

Identify the parameters to be reviewed: purpose and argument, presentation and organization, methods, and data.
Read the article, paying particular attention to the chosen parameters.
Write a summary of the article.
Outline your article review, listing the main drawbacks you spotted while reading.
Start writing.

How to Create an Article Review in APA Format?

You should follow the basic APA requirements if you write an article in this format. Pay special attention to in-text citations and bibliography. You may also need to consult your teacher to learn if there are any special requirements.

๐Ÿ”— References

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