If your instructor wants you to write an article critique, there are a few things worth bearing in mind. First, an article critique provides a deeper understanding of the strengths and weaknesses a paper might possess. A critique thus evaluates the success of any work presented. Prior to writing any article critique, you need to have a thorough understanding of its contents. Some formatting styles such as APA have laid out guidelines on how to write an article critique. However, the basic requirements of an article critique are largely similar.
Before you even start writing the critique, you need to be aware of the kind of study the article represents; in other words, is it based on a quantitative empirical study or it qualitative in nature, and mostly a meta-analysis of previous studies, borrowing largely from a review of the literature? Demarcating the type of study will lay the foundation for the key tools to use in your critique. In most cases, the lecturer will issue a guideline on how critique the article, from the author’s credentials and qualifications, the scope of the study, the problem statement, objectives, methodology used, data analysis tools, documentation of findings and the future directions provided in theory and practice.
The most basic information in an article need to be included in your critique, starting with the journal article title, the authors, publication details, major problem, objectives, methodologies, hypothesis, and conclusions. Most of this information can be easily gleaned from the ABSTRACT. Needless to state, your work is to critique the work (that is find strengths and weaknesses) of the article given the type of study, the concentration, and generally accepted research and scholarly ways of documenting findings. In other words, you need to provide a QUALIFIED opinion of the work upon critical evaluations. How can you achieve this?
The first step in writing an article critique involves reading through the material without making any notes whatsoever. This assists the writer to gain an insight of the arguments presented in the article to be critiqued. The next step entails the second reading, where you pay close attention to the theme of your contents and the supporting arguments advanced. With the second reading, ideas presented by the author should generally run through your mind. However, if this is not so, do a third reading, as it ensures that you did not miss any important details in your reading.
After the third reading, the next step in your article critique is laying out the author’s credentials. Ask yourself some of these questions: Does the author have any previous works? What are their outcomes? Did s/he get a number of critiques? If so, from whom?. Additionally, your article critique should consider the credentials of the sources used in the article. In the latter regard, ensure that they are related and do not negate the authors claims. Points to look out for here will include: are there any errors in the interpretation of sources? is the literature pertinent? is it over or under-emphasized? are there some sources that you would consider deleting? is the author consistent in citing the external sources used? As earlier noted, the lecturer will most likely issue a guideline on what specifically too look out for, which helps structure you critique.
If the mentioned sources are in order, then embark on writing your article critique. Note that an article critique is preceded with an introduction. The introduction of an article critique bears the authors name, article title and the, main points. The next step in writing an article critique involves summarizing the main points presented by the author.
Nevertheless, remember that the whole idea behind coming up with an article critique is determining whether the main ideas presented hold up. This can be achieved by dividing the article and comparing it with your own ideas on the issue. Here, you should assess how the author navigates the problem in light of it’s significance in literature and practice, the objectives of the study, the scope, literature used, methodologies, data analysis, main findings, results discussion, conclusions drawn and directions for future studies. Finally, your conclusion in a critique paper should have a general opinion, focusing your agreements and disagreements on the author’s ideas as presented and the reasons for the same.
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