How to Write an Article Review Essay
Writing an article review, which is also sometimes referred to as an article critique, is a special type of writing that involves reading an article and then providing the reader with your personal take on its content. In general, article review essays should start with a heading that includes a citation of the sources that are being reviewed. The first paragraph, which is the introduction to the article review, should provide a summary of the article highlights. This summary should not provide every last detail about the article being reviewed.
Rather, it should only discuss the most important details. If you find yourself carrying on or needing more than one paragraph to write your summary, you need to revisit the paragraph and find ways to trim down the length of your summary. Following the brief summary of your article, you will then need to explain why the article is significant. Questions you should ask yourself when writing these paragraphs include: Does the article fill a void within the literature that already exists on the topic? Does the article contain any information that would be considered “breakthrough” information?
Will the information contained within this article cause other people in the field to change their ideas about the subject matter or does it simply revisit information that is already known in the field? In your final paragraphs, you will need to present your personal evaluation of the article. Some questions you should ask yourself in order to come up with your personal evaluation include whether or not the article is well written and clear. You should also consider whether or not any information was missing and if more research is needed on the topic.
If you are writing the article review for a class, try to connect the article to organizational and industrial experience and try to connect the content of the article to information that you have been studying in your course. As you write your article review, keep in mind that you are doing more than just a book report. Rather than focus on telling what the article was about, your article review should reflect your personal opinions on the article as well as how it affects you or the field in which it was written. After you have finished writing your article review, be sure to go back and re-read it.
This way, you will be able to look at it with a fresh set of eyes and you may notice errors that you had not previously noticed. Outline of the Article Review Please include the following categories in your article review. Full Bibliographic Reference Introduction: Objectives, Article Domain, Audience, Journal and Conceptual/Emprical Classification Very Brief Summary Results Contributions Foundation Synthesis with other materials Analysis & Additional Analysis General Critique) Further Critique of a Conceptual Article -or- Further Critique of an Empirical Article Issues (in your opinion)
Questions Annotated Bibliography Citation Analysis Appendix
1. Full Bibliographic Reference
State the full bibliographic reference for the article you are reviewing (authors, title, journal name, volume, issue, year, page numbers, etc. ) Important: this is not the bibliography listed at the end of the article, rather the citation of the article itself!
2. Introduction: Objectives, Article Domain, Audience, Journal and Conceptual/Emprical Classification
Paragraph 1: State the objectives (goals or purpose) of the article. What is the article’s domain (topic area)?
Paragraph 2: State whether the article is “conceptual” or “empirical”, and why you believe it is conceptual or empirical. Empirical articles and conceptual articles have a similar objective: to substantiate an argument proposed by the author. While a conceptual article supports such an argument based on logical and persuasive reasoning, an empirical article offers empirical evidence to support the argument. Empirical articles offer substantial, detailed evidence which the authors analyze using statistical methods.
Empirical articles must include hypotheses (or propositions), detailed research results, and (statistical) analyses of this empirical evidence. Empirical research includes experiments, surveys, questionnaires, field studies, etc, and to limited degree, case studies. Conceptual articles may refer to such empirical evidence, but do not provide the detailed analysis of that evidence.
3. Brief Summary
For an article review, do not spend much space summarizing the article. Instead focus on analysis of the article. Thus, in this section, summarize the article only very briefly.
Paragraph 1: what is the problem or opportunity being addressed
Paragraph 2: which solution is proposed (the solution could be a new model or a theory that explains the problem)
Paragraph 3: what evidence is put forth that this solution is appropriate (If this is an empirical article, be sure to briefly describe what kind of empirical study was done as part of the evidence)
Very briefly summarize the important points (observations, conclusions, findings) in the article. Please do not repeat lists of items in the articles – just summarize the essence of these if you feel they are necessary to include.
An article makes a “contribution” by adding to the knowledge of researchers in a research field. An article can make a contribution to the research field in many ways. Does it provide a new way to look at a problem? Does it bring together or “synthesize” several concepts (or frameworks, models, etc. ) together in an insightful way that has not been done before? Does it provide new solutions? Does it provide new results? Does it identify new issues? Does it provide a comprehensive survey or review of a domain? Does it provide new insights? Also, is it salient (relevant and current) to a particular scientific issue or managerial problem?
Are the issues addressed introduced in a way that their relevance to practice is evident? Would answers to the questions raised in the article likely to be useful to researchers and managers? Note: Do not discuss the contributions of the technologies the article describes, but rather the contributions of the article itself! The article’s contributions should be original. Describe each contribution clearly in a separate paragraph or bullet point. Discuss why the contribution is important. Alternatively, if you believe the article makes no contributions, explain why clearly.
Good research often is built upon theories and frameworks that other researchers have developed. Sometimes articles will be substantially based upon this prior work, and refer back to it in some detail. (Not all research articles will do this. ) Which theoretical foundations does this article and research build on, if any? In what ways? Include references/citations of the foundation work. (You can determine this in part from the works the article cites. )Note, however, that most works cited are not core foundational work, but rather just support certain aspects of the article.
Similarly, do not confuse a general discussion of related topics as foundational work. If the article does not build upon key pieces of prior research, then write in your review “This article does not build upon any foundation research. ” (If you do not state this explicitly, you will not receive credit for this section. )
7. Synthesis with Class Materials
Synthesis means analyzing a particular topic by comparing and contrasting it with, and thinking about it from the viewpoint of, the class materials from across the semester. These materials include the articles, models, frameworks, guidelines and other concepts we’ve covered. Of course, only certain materials will be relevant for any given article. )Note: You have to do this synthesis! You need to relate this article to other things we have studied, so by definition you will not find this analysis in the article itself! You also could analyze the approach the author took to the article’s analysis and discussion. Discuss the article’s approach and results in terms of one or more of the frameworks, etc. , from the text or readings, or any you find elsewhere. As part of this analysis, reference other articles you’ve read, when appropriate.
Compare the approach, results and contribution with all articles about similar topics or with a similar approach. For all of these, do your synthesis comparison in as much depth as you can!
8. Analysis Note
Many people assume this category is the same as “General Critique”. It is not. General Critique is a different category from this, and follows below. What has changed since the article was written? How do it’s lessons, ideas and theories still apply? To what extent has its issues been resolved? Additional Analysis Optionally, try applying the article’s models, frameworks and guidelines, etc. yourself. Do you find them useful?
In addition, you may optionally add your own additional analysis in a separate subsection. (Do not repeat the author’s analysis in the paper – you could summarize this as part of the results section. ) 9. General Critique In this section you should state your opinions of how well (or poorly) the authors did their research and presented the research results in the article. Your critique can contain both positive and negative comments. Justify and explain in detail each of your critique points in a separate paragraph of at least 4-5 sentences. The following are suggestions only: Does it build upon the appropriate foundation (i. . , upon appropriate prior research)? Did the authors choose the correct approach, and then execute it properly? How confident are you in the article’s results, and why? Are its ideas really new, or do the authors simply repackage old ideas and perhaps give them a new name? Do the authors discuss everything they promise in the article’s introduction and outline? What are the article’s shortcomings (faults) and limitations (boundaries)? Did it discuss all of the important aspects and issues in its domain (topic area)? In what way should the article have made a contribution, but then did not?
Do the authors make appropriate comparisons to similar events, cases or occurrences? How complete and thorough a job did the authors do? Do the authors include an adequate discussion, analysis and conclusions? Did they justify everything adequately? Did they provide enough background information for the intended audience to understand it? For you to understand it? Were there adequate and appropriate examples and illustrations? Ask yourself these questions when justifying your critique points: why/why not? how? what distinguishes the differences/different approaches, and in what ways?
9.1. Further Critique of a Conceptual Article (only for conceptual articles)
A critique of a conceptual article examines the logic of the arguments made by the authors. Both strengths and weaknesses should be identified in a critique. Explain and justify each of your critique points in at least 3-4 sentences. Give examples whenever possible. To the best of your abilities, discuss each of the following categories in a separate paragraph:
- LOGICAL CONSISTENCY: Do any parts of the article or research contradict or invalidate other parts? If so, have the authors acknowledged and explained this adequately?
- COHERENCE: Does the article make sense? Did the authors approach this article (and this research) sensibly? Does the article develop an argument that follows a coherent line of reasoning? Are the boundaries of the argument reasonably well defined? Does the argument anticipate most, if not all, rival arguments? Does the article flow in a logical sequence? Do later parts build logically upon earlier parts?
- SUBSTANCE: Does the article provide an argument or a line of reasoning that offers insight into important issues, or does it merely summarize previous studies in a shallow way that does not reflect depth of analysis? Does the article provide ways (a model, framework, guidelines, etc. ) to guide future thinking about the issue(s) the author is addressing?
- FOCUS: Is there a clear audience that the authors address? Was the article written at the appropriate level for this audience?
9. 2. Further Critique of an Empirical Article (only for empirical articles)
A critique of an empirical article examines the strength of the empirical evidence supporting the author’s argument. Both strengths and weaknesses should be identified in a critique. Explain and justify each of your critique points in at least 3-4 sentences.
To the best of your abilities, discuss each of the following categories in a separate paragraph:
- CLARITY: Is the article’s purpose and argument clear? Do the researchers clearly develop a major research question, proposition, or hypothesis that is to be evaluated in the empirical study and discussed in this article? If the study is exploratory (preliminary), is sufficient justification for an exploratory strategy given?
- THEORETICAL GROUNDING: Is the researcher’s argument grounded in more basic theory? Is it clear whether the structure of the empirical study (i. e. what they do) was derived from theory, or just made up? In theory-building articles, is the need for new theory adequately established?
- DESIGN OF RESEARCH INVESTIGATION: Is it clear exactly how the empirical study was carried out? Is the design of the research approach (field study, experiments, questionnaires, etc. – both contents and how they will be used) adequate to address the common threats to internal and external validity? Have appropriate controls been established, and is the selection of research sites justified? Are the hypotheses and experiments, etc. significant?
- MEASUREMENT: Empirical studies can have quantitative measurements (i. e. , numeric results) and qualitative or subjective measurements. Are the measures used adequately described (i. e. , what is measured in the study and how)? Are data on the reliability and validity of these measures reported? Does the article feel anecdotal or solidly supported with evidence? For example, in case or field studies, are the results well documented? Is it clear who the subjects were, and with whom interviews were carried out? Were important results cross-checked, i. e. determined across a range of subjects or just gotten from one or two subjects?
- ANALYSIS: Is the analysis of empirical data conducted properly? Do the data conform to the requirements of any statistical tests used? Are qualitative data adequately described and presented?
- DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: In discussing the results of the empirical study, do the authors remain true to the actual findings of the study? Are the claims made in the conclusion of the article actually supported by the empirical data? If the study is exploratory, do the authors offer research questions or hypotheses for future research?
- BIASES: Do the biases of the authors affect the design of the research or the interpretation of the results? Are the authors aware of potential biases and the affect on the study?
10. Issues (listed by the author)
What open questions or issues has the author stated remain unresolved? Discuss each in a separate paragraph of 5-10 sentences. Each issue’s paragraph should take the following format: what is the issue? why do you believe this is an important issue? in what way is it unresolved suggestions for resolving it – if you give your own suggestions (instead of or in addition to the authors’, then precede each with “I would propose .. ” If it has been resolved since the article was written, then state how it was resolved.
11. Issues (in your opinion)
List several open questions or issues which remain unresolved in your opinion? For example, what possible future research questions could arise from this article? Discuss each in a separate paragraph of 5-10 sentences. Each issue’s paragraph should take the following format: what is the issue? why do you believe this is an important issue? in what way is it unresolved suggestions for resolving it
List three insightful questions of your own, arising from this article. Do not ask definitions, but rather questions that really make one think.
13. Annotated Bibliography
For every item you have cited in your report, you need a full reference and an annotation explaining it. List the full bibliographic references (authors, title, journal name, volume, issue, year, page numbers, etc. ) for anything you have cited in your review. IMPORTANT: This is NOT the bibliography listed at the end of the article. It is the bibliographic references for any readings you yourself referred to inside your review. Write 2-4 sentences describing the article. Write 2-3 sentences describing why you cited it.
14. Citation Analysis Appendix
If the article has no citations then write in that section “I found no citations in the [Science Citation Index or the Social Sciences Citation Index or on the Internet]. ” Note, if your article has more than 20 citations, you only need to include a selection of them: State how many citations each index has and the Web search found List 1-2 citations for each year in which the article has been cited. Try to include citations from several different journals spread over your selection ? Include a citation analysis to see who has cited it and how.