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What is a journal critique and how to write it?


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Writing journal critique paper on a computer keyboard

Critiques and reviews as a genre of analytical writing are considered to be immensely important because of various reasons. All academic assignments are called to develop different skills and professional experience that will be of great help for students in the future.

Writing a critique on journal articles, for example, helps to learn how to differentiate between reliable and unreliable information, as well as identify the flaws in scholarly works. While this task is both interesting and quite useful for future research and for finding credible information daily in general, it takes a lot of time to get it done right. However, we are here to show you how to do it.

What is a journal article critique?

A journal critique is a type of a scholarly paper, which is aimed at analyzing a particular article, giving information about the most important details, and present an impersonal, objective point of view regarding the text under examination. Depending upon types of assignments, disciplines, and subjects, a professor may ask to write an analysis on a scientific article in a well-known literary magazine or academic journal and so forth.

Additionally, the type of critique a student has to write depends on their degree and the final goal of this particular assignment. The main concept here is to detect strengths and weaknesses of the article, present its main issue, highlight the most important points, details, and findings, and, possibly, even provide an evaluation of what influence the article content had on its readers or how it can impact the public, acknowledged scientists, or the world in general.

How to critique a journal article?

The writing guide that is offered below is rather generic as the writing requirements mostly depend on the type of an article chosen for the analysis. Hence, to answer the question of how to write a journal critique, it is necessary to know a type of journal in the first place. However, if this assignment is rather new to you, the following tips will surely be of great help:

  • First, you need to know some general information about a piece you are to analyze such as the title of the article, the name of its author/authors, the journal’s volume, date and month, and the number of pages.
  • Read the article and take notes on the most interesting and helpful facts or parts to use this information in the paper later.
  • Try to analyze this text from every possible angle, make a list of questions you think are left unanswered, and write down some valid and invalid points made by the author.
  • Think how this article is useful to its readers, whether it is interesting or boring, and what practical appliance it may have in the future.
  • If you are knowledgeable in the field and the topic of the article, you may also analyze the methodology, choice of hypotheses, sample groups, limitations, and other, rather technical aspects.

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

How to structure a journal critique?

  • Introduction with a hook phrase and a thesis statement. It would be suitable to either cover the major strengths and weaknesses of the article briefly in the thesis or just present the article to the readers so that they clearly understand what you are about to review.
  • Summary of the article. You have to specify the main points made in the article under consideration, as well as arguments and findings presented by the authors.
  • Critique. Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the article and state your informed opinion on whether it was relevant and accurate. However, make sure that you are well-versed in the issues that were considered in this article and do your research to fill in the gaps you might have.
  • Conclusion. Summarize the key points of the article and finish your paper with the relevant comment, such as a recommendation or your overall opinion.

Journal critique format

When it comes to formatting your paper, everything depends on a university or college you are in as well as professor’s requirements, of course. There are several formats in which journal critique article can be done, such as APA, MLA, Chicago/Turabian, and Harvard and many others. If you are not sure, it is always best to ask for clarifications and a writing guide to use the correct format from the get go. From our experience, APA journal critique is the one that is requested more often than others.

How to write a journal article critique in APA format? Here are a few basics that you will need to remember

  • APA formatting is commonly used in psychology, education, and social sciences. However, sometimes, it can be assigned for any task on any subject as this style is considered to be both simple and convenient.
  • In APA, a paper has to be double-spaced and written with Times New Roman size 12 font. The margins of the paper are 1 inch from each side.
  • The title page has to include plenty of information: the title of your journal critique paper, author name, institutional affiliation, course name and number, professor’s name, and due date.
  • Usually, papers written in this style require an abstract page. It’s a summary of your work, which consists of 150-200 words. However, this aspect has to be clarified with your professor, as abstracts are mostly requested for lengthy papers.
  • It is also recommended to use italics in the text for highlighting key terms as well as names of journals, books, Web pages, etc.

There are a lot of formatting rules when it comes to citing and referencing sources. Therefore, it is better to consult the APA formatting guide while writing. If you are only citing the journal you are reviewing, here is the information you need to include:

Last name, A., & Last name, B. Title of the article in sentence case. Italicized Journal Name in Title Case, volume(issue), page-page.

We hope that these tips were useful, and you can now craft the best journal critique paper possible!

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