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What is an article review and how to write it?

Review papers

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Writing an article review by hand

When writing an article review, you always need to remember the specific purposes of this type of academic paper. The work includes the most important points of the article without any additional information and professional critique as well. Moreover, writing such kind of work means properly evaluating the organization of the text and its relevance to a particular field of study.

There are a few reasons why students get such kind of task. First of all, obviously, it comes to the basics of learning something new about a specific field of study exclusively or doing research on a certain problem. Another significant purpose of writing a review paper is developing the skills of a chosen profession.

How to start an article review?

  • First of all, it is important to choose the piece you will be working with. In most cases, you will be given a specific source or at least the list of sources. Choosing from the list, be sure to read short descriptions or abstracts of the articles and pick the one you find the most interesting.
  • When the choice is made, it is time to read. At first, read the text and mark all the terms that you do not understand. It is important to find the definitions of these terms, write them down, and reread the paper. If there are still some points you struggle to understand, try to find the explanations on the Web. In case the info you have found is not clear or extensive enough, it is necessary to ask your classmates or the professor to provide you with the explanation.
  • When all the points are clear, the next step is making the list of positive and negative aspects of the article. Read it as many times as you need in order to compose a detailed list. Once you are done, check all the points you have written down and choose the most significant ones.

If you are working on the research article review, be sure to use specific points for analysis:

  • Firstly, assess the topic choice.
  • Then take a look at the goals of the research and the thesis statement. Note what the author was aiming to accomplish and whether he/she eventually did it.
  • Take a critical look at the sources mentioned in the paper, and check their trustworthiness and applicability to the research.
  • See whether the methods used to conduct the research were suitable in the case and if there were any other ways to make the study more precise.
  • Finally, think about the overall impression the piece makes, and what its significance for the field is.

While assessing a certain article, make sure to take all the above-mentioned points into consideration. Come up with the structure that would present your appraisal consistently, and do not forget to support the claims you make.

When your paper is completed, proofread it, and if possible, give it to one of your friends or family members to read. This way, you will find more mistakes and check whether your work is good enough to submit. As soon as you have made the necessary changes and corrections in the paper, consider your assignment done.

Review article outline

Writing an outline is an important aspect of any academic paper. Crafting a plan, you get a better understanding of the paper objectives as well as the problem that has to be considered. Here is the brief example of a good outline:

  • Introduction
    • Hook phrase
    • Thesis statement
    • Supporting sentences
  • Body paragraphs
    • Introductory sentence
    • Main ideas and arguments
    • Strong evidence and examples
    • Conclusive sentences
  • Conclusion
    • Restated thesis
    • Supporting sentences
    • Final sentence that calls for further reflections.

Article review format

The requirements for review article format are actually the same as for other types of academic writing. As you know, there are a lot of formatting styles, but the most widely-used are APA, MLA, and Harvard.

How to find out what format you need? First of all, ask your teacher. If you are in school, then the format is probably MLA. If you are a university student, it is better to visit a writing center of your educational institution or look through the website.

Usually, there are a lot of formatting guides on university websites. However, we also decided to explain the main features of the three abovementioned styles briefly in case you are choosing among one of them.

Tips from experts

Meet our advisors

A critical review/appraisal is the review of someone’s work. It could be text, film, or art.

There are a few things you need to cover:

  • Thesis statement – upon reviewing the text, film, or art materials, decide on your position. State your position in 2-3 sentences.
  • Support – find sources to support your position and justify your statement. Don’t be “obvious” (i.e., I like this text) – state facts about your position.
  • Argument – Line up your sources in a logic persuasive manner. Take a stand. Prove your point. Use quotes. Stay on track – be focused.
  • Defense of your thesis statement. Be thorough with your sources. Don’t let anyone challenge your position. Be confident.

Bottom line: Don’t make an argument you can not defend.

Penny J. Larsen

College professor with 30 years of teaching experience


  • Mostly used for papers on Education, Psychology, and Sciences.
  • Considered to be one of the easiest styles.
  • APA 7th title page is separated and contains title, student’s name, institutional affiliation, course, instructor, and due date.
  • It is usually required to include an abstract, which consists of 150-200 words. However, it is better to ask your professor whether it is needed or not.
  • The font used in APA is Times New Roman 12 pt.
  • The list of references is called simply “References.”


  • Most commonly used for writing papers on Liberal Arts and Humanities.
  • The title page is basically non-existent. You just need to include student’s name, professor’s name, course, and date aligned to the left side of the first page of your review.
  • Requires including a page number in the in-text citations.
  • All the pages of the paper have to be double-spaced.
  • List of references is called “Works Cited.”


  • Harvard style has many variations, which depend on university or college. So it is better to clarify what type you need to stick to. Just ask your teacher or visit your university writing center to find it out.
  • Used for a wide variety of subjects. Most often, it is assigned for Business and Economics papers.
  • Title page includes capitalized title of the paper, name of the author three lines down, as well as name of the class, professor, school, city, and date.
  • List of references is called “Reference list.”
  • Harvard has a very specific running head. There should 5 spaces between the shortened title and page number.

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