Learning how to critique an article

First of all, let us find out what an article critique actually is before we learn how to critique an article. This is an objective and fair analysis of a piece of work (can be literature, scientific, art, movie, music or any other work) with the purpose of evaluating whether the author reached his goal, whether he supported his ideas appropriately and effectively, whether the work has an impact on a reader and so on. If you're reading this, you are most likely assigned to critique an article. This kind of academic writing requires, of course, deep concentration, learning, analyzing the article and being able to defend your point of view.

How to read actively

Before you proceed to criticizing, you have to read the article several times until you know and understand it perfectly and you are ready to formulate your judgement. Your judgement can be positive or negative, sometimes it can also be both. Whatever you find appropriate will work, as long as you are able to prove your rightness.

  • Read the article first time to find the main idea.
  • When reading the second time, make notes of the most remarkable quotes or information that you will use in your paper.
  • Write down your comments once they come to your mind in order not to forget anything.
  • While reading the third time, develop your personal concept and position regarding the issue discussed in the article.

Where to look for evidences

Well, primarily you need to decide whether the arguments provided by the author of the article sound logical.

  • Do you find connections between his ideas? Does every argument in the article prove his main idea?
  • Do the introduction and the conclusion parts of the article match each other?
  • Are there any obvious questions left uncovered in the article?
  • What is the final goal of the article?
  • Do you agree or disagree with the main statement?

Looking for bias in the article

Bias can be both intentional or unintentional, but in any case they don't make the article any better. Keep in mind that if the conclusions provided in the article serve personal interests of the author, there is a great chance that you will find bias, especially intentional. For better understanding take a look at the following:

  • Ignoring obvious facts or any evidences that don't serve the purpose of the author.
  • Playing with evidences representing them in such a manner that they change their meaning.
  • Some of the ideas are supported with arguments and related sources, while others are not.
  • Prejudice in regard to religion, race, social status, etc.

How to come up with your judgement

Keep in mind that there is no need to be exclusively negative or positive. Your task is to be as objective as possible, so if the author made some mistakes but his article still sounds convincing and strong, motivates to further research of the discussed problem or inspires to certain action, or even if it's just logical and enlightens an old issue from a new point of view, you don't have to make a negative judgement. What you should do here is point at his mistakes and holes in the content (if such exist), but also explain what makes this article important to the particular field of studies and why you support the author's point of view.

There is also a chance that you will find the article absolutely remarkable and perfect with no bias or mistakes in it. In this case, all you have to do is to say as it really is. However, remember supporting your viewpoint with evidences, just like you would do if you were trying to prove the opposite.

When your judgement is ready

It is important that your judgement is presented appropriately. Keep in mind all the weaknesses in the article you criticized and don't repeat those mistakes in yours. When your paper is ready, read it as if you are criticizing it to make sure that it sounds strong and convincing.

If you feel like you need any kind of help to understand how to critique an article, please consider using our professional help.