How to Write an Article Review or Critique Paper

author By Mary Boies

Often students get assigned to write article reviews to fulfilling course requirements in various subjects and fields of study. For instance, nursing students might be asked to review scientific nursing journals, either qualitative or quantitative. At the same time, a student taking an English composition class might be asked to write a review of an article published in a newspaper or magazine. So, we are saying that there are different types of article reviews, as we clarify further in this article.

The entire process of writing an article review entails locating the article, citing the article, and writing the critique that encompasses summarizing, classifying, analyzing, critiquing, and comparing facts and knowledge from the article.

When analyzing an article, you need to compare the contents against theories, ideas, research findings, and knowledge relevant to the discipline the article addresses. It is a reaction or response to what the authors have presented and not a chance to introduce new ideas. Sounds interesting, right?

To get into more details and make you a pro at writing article reviews, we will share with you the A to Z of how to write a brilliant article review. In this comprehensive guide, you will learn:

For the records, an article review is not the same as an annotated bibliography. We put this disclaimer here because we have seen people hurriedly confuse the two.

What is an article review?

An article review or critique is a specialized form of academic writing that entails evaluating or critiquing a published work (usually a journal article or a research article). It is typically written by a scholarly expert to provide the reader with an independent assessment of a specific piece of written work.

Some professors refer to it as scholarly critique or review, which means the same thing as above. You begin by providing a summary of the source and then evaluating the source. In engaging the scholarly source, you will report the authors' main ideas or gist, positions, findings, styles, and approach to determine how it contributes to knowledge in a specific discipline.

While scholarly experts typically write article reviews, they can also be written by college students. College professors occasionally ask students to write them. They do this to enable students to learn new concepts by forcing them to read specific published works critically. They also do this to see how students understand particular concepts/ideas.

There are several types of article reviews based on the type of article being reviewed.

  1. Journal article review. A journal article review is probably the most common type of article review at the college level. This article review evaluates a journal article's strong and weak points. A good journal article review provides an in-depth analysis and evaluation of a journal article to show its scholarly value.
  2. A research article review. A research article review is a type of article review that evaluates the scholarly significance of a research article. It does this by assessing the research method used in the article and the information gathered and presented. A good research article review demonstrates the value of a research article.
  3. A scientific article review. A scientific article review is a type of article review that analyzes a scientific source. A good scientific article review will look at the scientist's research method and compare it with the methods used by other researchers for the same kind of research. It will make it clear whether the technique was good enough or not. It will also specify the strengths and weaknesses of the scientific article.
  4. A newspaper article review. A newspaper article review is an article review that evaluates a newspaper article. It looks at the subject the author is discussing, how it is being discussed, and the important takeaway points. In short, a newspaper article review explains the value of a newspaper article and provides a bit of critique. Because newspapers are written for a general audience, newspaper article reviews are easier to write than academic article reviews.

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Structure of an Article Review

A college article review is an essay. This is because it is a short academic piece of writing in which the author shares their arguments or thoughts. Because a college article review is like an essay, it has the same key elements present in every college essay. These elements include a title page, an abstract, an introduction, a body, a conclusion, and works cited or reference/reference list/bibliography page.

  1. Title page. This is the first part of every academic paper. It is where you are supposed to share your review's title, name, and submission date.
  2. Abstract. A typical abstract is about 250 words long and doesn't have references. It is a summary of the article review that captures its most important aspects, such as the review question, the study reviewed, and the key conclusions. You are supposed to write your abstract to give the reader a good summary of your review.
  3. Introduction. The introduction is the first part of your actual article review. It should indicate background information about the article you are about to review and how you will review it. In other words, it should give the reader a preview of your review.
  4. Body. The body is the main part or element of your article review. This is because it is where you do the actual review. An article review's body is typically composed of several body paragraphs. Each body paragraph should focus on one aspect of the article you are reviewing. This will make your article review much easier to understand and follow.
  5. Conclusion. The conclusion of your article review is the last part of your review proper. It is where you are supposed to wrap up your review nicely by stating whether the work you have reviewed met its objective. Therefore, you should put in good effort when writing the conclusion of your review to ensure it correctly captures what it focuses on.
  6. List of References. This is the last page in a typical article review. It is the page where you are supposed to properly add all the references you've used in your article review. At the very least, your article review's works cited page should reference the article you've just reviewed. Like other academic and professional papers, an article review requires citing information from other scholarly sources. Therefore, you should include a reference page and in-text citations. Having citations shows that apart from reading and focusing on the assigned research article, you have gone further to research to provide a comprehensive, evidence-informed critique.

Outline of an Article Review

Creating an outline for your article review is vital before you start writing it. Doing so will make it easy for you to write the review since whenever you are stuck, you can simply refer to it for information on what to write next.

Below is an article review outline template you can use to create an outline for your article review.

Related Reading: How to tell a peer-reviewed article from a non-peer-reviewed article

Steps to take to write a Great Article Review

Being asked to write one can sound intimidating if you've never written an article review. However, it should not be. By the end of this step-by-step guide, you should be able to write an excellent article review when asked to write one.

1. Read keenly and take notes

Noting down what article you want to review will make it easier for you to review it. To know what the article is all about, you need to read it from the first paragraph to the last paragraph. Then, read the article very slowly and closely and reflect on its effectiveness in achieving its intended purpose.

When reading the article, you should note its thesis and main points. These things are essential to understanding the article and will help you write its summary after reading it.

In addition to noting the article's thesis and main points, you should also mention its vital aspects (positive points) and gaps (contradictions/inconsistencies).

Lastly, you should note down if there are any questions that you think were unanswered in the piece. You should do this when you are done reading the piece.

As you read the article, here are some questions to ask yourself. And as you ask yourself, record your thoughts on paper for the evaluation stage.

2. Evaluate the article

After noting down what the article is about, you should evaluate the article.

Evaluating the article will make reviewing it easier. You should start the evaluation by looking at and analyzing its title, abstract, introduction, opening statements of body paragraphs, and conclusion. Looking at these article features will give you a rough idea of what the article is all about.

Read the article thoroughly to understand it from start to finish completely. The first step above and this step will provide you with all the information you need to organize your article review perfectly. Organizing your article review is key to ensuring it is a breeze to read and understand.

3. Create an article review outline

After evaluating the piece, you need to create an outline. An outline is a blueprint for your article review paper. A well-written article review outline will tell you what exactly to write or focus on in each paragraph of your article review. It will also give your article review a coherent structure.

Like most academic writings, article reviews have three key sections – introduction, body, and conclusion. In addition to these three key sections, article reviews also have the following sections:

Using the article review outline template above, you should create an excellent outline for your article review.

4. Start writing your article review

Upon creating an outline, you should start writing your article review. You should start by writing down a nice title for your article review. The title of your review should capture what your review will focus on. It can be declarative, descriptive, or interrogative.

After writing the title of your review, you should cite the article you are about to review. Again, use the citation style recommended by your instructor. A typical article citation will look something like this:
Jane Doe. "High Blood Pressure in African American Women in Mississippi." New England Journal 79.2(2001): 121-78. Print.

After citing the article just after your title, you should provide article identification information, including the article's full title, the author's title, the journal's year of publication. You should do this in the first paragraph of your article review. A typical article information paragraph will look something like this:

The research article "High Blood Pressure in African American Women in Mississippi" was written by Jane Doe – a professor at the University of Mississippi – in 2001.

5. Write the introduction

This is where you learn how to start an article review. You should begin your introduction paragraph with information that captures the reader's attention. You should follow this with information that presents the article to be reviewed to the reader and then your thesis for the review.

Your article review outline will have all the information you need to write in your introduction. All you need to do is to read what your outline says you should write in your introduction paragraph and expand that in your actual article review.

6. Provide a summary of the article

After writing your introduction, you should start writing the body section of your review. A typical article review body section will have two distinct parts – a summary of the article and its critique.

The first part is the summary. But first, you should provide a strong article summary highlighting its main points, gaps, key findings, and conclusions.

The article summary usually is two to three paragraphs long. However, if you want your article review to be short, there is no problem with making it just one paragraph long.

7. Critique the article

Your critique of the article should follow your article summary. Critique simply means detailed assessment. It is in your critique that the honest or authentic review of the article should happen.

Your critique should start by highlighting the article's contributions to the existing body of knowledge. The strengths and weaknesses of the article should follow this. Finally, if you discovered any article gaps, you should highlight them in your critique.

Your critique should ideally form the bulk of your article review paper. It usually takes between three to four paragraphs. The first paragraph of the critique focuses on the article's contributions to the existing body of knowledge. The second focuses on the strengths and weaknesses of the article. The third focuses on the gaps. And the fourth is a general assessment of the paper as a whole.

8. Write the conclusion

You should follow your critique with a solid conclusion. Your conclusion should revisit your piece's main points, findings, and the highlights of your critique.

It should also discuss the accuracy and relevance of the findings in the article and present recommendations for future studies.

9. Make sure your review is professional

After you write your conclusion, you should ensure it is as professional as possible. You add direct quotations from the article every time you reference it. However, you should only limit quotations to a maximum of three. In other words, quotations should appear in your review but only where absolutely necessary.

Another thing you can do to make your review professional is to format it as per the formatting style properly and the article review format recommended by your professor.

10. Proofread your work

The very last thing you need to do is to proofread your work. Correctly proofreading your work will ensure it is 100% ready for submission.

Some students ignore this step, not knowing it is the step that turns average article reviews into excellent article reviews.

The correct way to proofread your article review paper is to read it while looking for grammar errors, typing errors, punctuation errors, and so on. Then, remove all the mistakes you catch and rewrite sentences that are not 100% clear.

After proofreading your entire article, you should repeat the process to ensure it has no mistakes and is clear from the first sentence to the last.

Your article review will be ready for submission after you finish the repeat proofreading.

Format of an Article Review

Always check the assignment prompt or instructions to clarify the specific format to write your article review. In most cases, the preferred citation will depend on your discipline.

For instance, most nursing and health sciences article reviews are in APA or Havard citation format. On the other hand, humanities and English prefer either MLA or Chicago. Nevertheless, your instructor's word on the right citation format overrides the common preferences.

If you are unsure about what and how to go about the article review, it would be prudent to ask your professor questions, including the number of articles to review, the length, whether to include a summary and use outside sources and if there is need to bring the printed copy or attach the soft copy of the article you are critiquing.

MLA Format for Article Review

Below are some suggestions on how to write the full citation of the article you are reviewing. Remember, this comes right after the title of the review and should be a full citation as appears on the works cited page.


Last, First M. "Publication Title." Journal Title Series Volume. Issue (Year Published): Page(s). Database Name. Web. Date Month Year Accessed.


Last, First M. "Publication Title." Newspaper Title [City] Date, Month, Year Published: Page(s). Print.

Website Article

Last, First Middle Initial. "Publication Title." Website Title. Website Publisher, Date Month Year Published. Web. Date Month Year Accessed.

APA 7 Format for Article Review

When writing an article review in APA, format the citation as follows:


Author [last name], A.A [first and middle initial]. (Publication Year). Publication Title. Periodical Title, Volume(Issue), pp.-pp. DOI/URL.

Newspaper articles

Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Date). Title of article: Subtitle. Title of Newspaper, page numbers of the whole article. (Print)

Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Date). Title of article: Subtitle. Title of Newspaper. URL. (Online newspaper)

Website Article

Author, A. A. (Year, Month Day). Title of online content: Subtitle. Website Name. URL.

Ways to do the critique or analysis the right way

When writing an article critique, you do not have to focus on the negative aspects of the article. Instead, you need to balance your presentation and offer an objective analysis of the article in question. The review or critique aims to contribute to existing scholarly knowledge on a topic of interest. You are saying whether or not you liked the article, but it has to be in the most thoughtful way. You can write a good review of any article by:

Writing an article review or critique is a scholarly engagement and evaluation journey.

The hints we have covered above only give part of what to consider. There could be more. And most of the time, instructors will include the key areas to focus on in the instructions. Your only job as a reviewer is to demonstrate your understanding of the ideas in the article and develop a thoughtful response to the ideas.  

If you have most of these points covered in your journal article review, you will get a top grade because you would have given a qualified opinion and evaluation of the article.

Tips to Help You Write a Perfect Article Review

Now that you know how to write an article review, it is time to discover tips that will help you to craft the perfect article review.

  1. Plan to write your review early enough. When you are asked to write a review, you should plan how to write it and complete it before the deadline. This will ensure you do not rush the review at the "last minute," as many students do, leading to average article reviews.
  2. Read the article twice before you begin the review. This is very important. It will help you fully understand the article you are reviewing and give a more balanced or objective assessment of it.
  3. Create a comprehensive outline. Before writing your article review, you should create a comprehensive outline. Such an outline will make it easy for you to write the actual review because all you will need to do is to expand the points in it.
  4. Focus on the critique. The most important part of your article review is the critique. You should ensure this part counts by writing it carefully and capturing everything that stands out about the article.
  5. Proofread your work twice. This is important to ensure your paper has no issues or errors. Thoroughly proofreading your article review paper will transform it from an average paper to an excellent one.

Final Words

Article review assignments are not among the most manageable types of assignments to complete. An article review paper can be between one to 4 pages. However, if you are writing a review article to submit to a journal, it is between 3000-3500 words.

Related Reading: How to write a perfect case study report (for business students)

 A good article review does not just summarize the contents of an article. Instead, it critically identifies the content's methodological issues, strengths and weaknesses, and research gaps.

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