Writing A Review Essay

How To Write An Article Review

An article review essay is a critical analysis or evaluation of literature in a given field through making summary of the article in question, comparison or classification. In case it is a scientific article being reviewed, the writer will be required to use database searches to retrieve the results of the search. It is from the searches the writer chooses the article which is appropriate. It is a common skill that is developed in school, to help the students to establish analytical skills. It means the skills are not just used in the classrooms, but also applies in the work environment. Writing an article review has over time proved to be a difficult assignment for most of the students. The fact that it involves the critical evaluation of the ideas that have been presented in the article, means it is not just a summary. For most of the students, an article review is confused with an article summary. The critical analysis of the ideas in the article means, the author has to go further than summarizing the content of the article.

Content of this article

  1. Purposes
  2. Guide for writing
  3. Writing process
  4. Sample

1. Purposes of an Article Review

  • The purpose of the article review essay is associated with the writer summarizing the content of the article, evaluating other literature content and then adding their own understanding of the content.
  • In most of the cases the article to be reviewed is going to be difficult to understand which requires the writer to read it severally before they are able to understand, which then means they will be in a position to offer insights into the content of the article in the review essay.
  • One of the major aspects to understand, in reference to the purpose of article reviews essays writing, is a professional writing skill. This is relative to, article review requires one to have in-depth knowledge of a certain field, from which the article belongs.
  • It is this information that helps in the review of the article and helps the audience to better understand the content and the argument of the writer.
  • The purpose of an article review is associated with values that the people attach to opinion from others about certain information in a given field.
  • It is also a crucial skill for journalists as they have to gather information on a given topic and to further assess how the audience view their work.
  • Overall, article reviews build on the skills of the students to become better at analyzing information that interact with and make professional evaluations and recommendations.

2. Step-by-step guide on article review writing

2.1 First Read

The first part of the article review writing process is reading the article to be reviewed for the first time. The first time helps the writer to understand what it is the article is actually talking about. If it is an assigned reading in class, the student may not have come across the article in the past and thus will need to familiarize themselves with the content and the style of the author. The first reading of the article is crucial, as it helps the reader to connect with the author of the article to be reviewed. This also means that the reader will have to take note of the key points of the author, the basic argument presented in the article and note down some of the words, phrases and concepts that are new. These are elements that will then be looked at before going into the next reading. After noting the new information, the reader is supposed to look up the meaning of the phrases, words and read up on the concepts that have been presented in the article. The information on the various words, phrases and concepts can be found online or even at the library. It helps with better understanding the article and information presented especially if the article is in an unfamiliar field. This also sets the premises for reviewing the article in question, given it is not possible to write a review of an article that one does not understand.

2.2 Close Read

This is the followed by a close reading, which is associated with critical reading of the article. In this case the, reader is not just reading to understand but to also form an opinion of the presentation of the information, the style of the author, the ease of understanding the information resented and even an opinion on the accuracy of the information presented. As such, the close reading is associated with analytical skills of the student. The writer is supposed to take notes of the various aspects of the article that they are going to include in the article review essay. It is crucial as it makes the work or writing the review much easier, relative to collated information that is then sorted out for inclusion in the essay.

2.3 Identify Ideas

After identify the main ideas in the article, the writer may now develop the essay using their own words.

2.4 Present a Unique Article Review

The point behind an article review essay to develop the skills to analyze information gathered from the various sources and presenting in a unique manner that reflects the ideas of the essay and presented in a manner that also shows the opinion of the writer. The writer has to be in a position to present the ideas in a professional manner, showing in depth understanding of the information found on the essay.

3. Article review writing process

The first part of the article review essay is the title, which informs the readers what the essay is about. The title is supposed to be short and precise, giving all the information that the reader may need to understand what the essay is about. At the same time, the title is supposed to be catchy, such that it gets the readers interested. For example, the title may be phrased as follows: “Evaluating the rise home grown terrorism”.

This is then followed by the correct citation of the article to be reviewed. Ideally it does not only give credit to the author of the article to reviewed, but also gives the readers a chance to check out the article that is being reviewed. It is crucial, as some of the readers may want to first read the article under review or may want to compare and make opinions of their own other than what is established in the review essay. In an example the reference to an article home terrorism may be cited as follows:

Park, S. (2016). Counter-Terrorism in France : Home-Grown Terrorism and the Change of Counter-Terrorism Policy. The Journal Of Peace Studies, 17(3), 117-140. http://dx.doi.org/10.14363/kaps.2016.17.3.117.

Within the text of the essay, however the writer will acknowledge the work of the author as follows (Park, 2016).

When identifying the article, it is crucial that the writer selects an article that talks about a topic that they are familiar with. This will help them to better analyze the article as they have some background information. Choosing an article that the writer is not familiar with, will further complicate the analysis process. If for example the writer chooses an article on calculous and they are not familiar with the field, they will have difficult time analyzing the same and may actually distort the meaning presented in the article.

The introduction of the article review essay should be catchy and inform the readers about the topic that they are going to discuss. This is then followed by the introduction of the article to be reviewed, with close reference to the main ideas and arguments presented by the author. The writer then introduces the author of the article and where the information is available, the credentials of the author and some of their other works. If for example the author of the article is a senior lecturer at the local university and working with local antiterror agency, this should be brought to the attention of the readers as it builds on the credibility and authority of the information presented in the article.

The critique section of the essay is organized into three main parts, the introduction of the field in which the article belongs and the wide issues. This is then followed by the article content and later on the review of the ideas and concepts of the article according to the writer. This means that, this is content that has to be unique to the writer. If for example, the writer do not agree with the strategies of reducing home terrorism, they may state so in this section and support their argument with facts.

In the conclusion, the writer summarizes the main points of the article and also connect the same wit their opinion on the matter.

3.1 Proofreading

To make sure the article review essay is professional, the writer has to read through it and make all the necessary corrections such as grammatical errors.

4. Sample of article review

What is a literature review?

A literature review is a critical analysis of published sources, or literature, on a particular topic. It is an assessment of the literature and provides a summary, classification, comparison and evaluation. At postgraduate level literature reviews can be incorporated into an article, a research report or thesis. At undergraduate level literature reviews can be a separate stand alone assessment.

The literature review is generally in the format of a standard essay made up of three components: an introduction, a body and a conclusion. It is not a list like an annotated bibliography in which a summary of each source is listed one by one.

Why do we write literature reviews?

At university you may be asked to write a literature review in order to demonstrate your understanding of the literature on a particular topic. You show your understanding by analysing and then synthesising the information to:

  • Determine what has already been written on a topic
  • Provide an overview of key concepts
  • Identify major relationships or patterns
  • Identify strengths and weaknesses
  • Identify any gaps in the research
  • Identify any conflicting evidence
  • Provide a solid background to a research paper’s investigation

How to write a literature review

Determine your purpose

Work out what you need to address in the literature review. What are you being asked to do in your literature review? What are you searching the literature to discover? Check your assignment question and your criteria sheet to know what to focus on.

Do an extensive search of the literature

Find out what has been written on the topic.

What kind of literature?

Select appropriate source material: Use a variety of academic or scholarly sources that are relevant, current and authoritative. An extensive review of relevant material will include — books, journal articles, reports, government documents, conference proceedings and web resources. The Library would be the best place to search for your sources.

How many resources?

The number of sources that you will be required to review will depend on what the literature review is for and how advanced you are in your studies. It could be from five sources at first year undergraduate level to more than fifty for a thesis. Your lecturer will advise you on these details.

Note the bibliographical details of your sources

Keep a note of the publication title, date, authors’ names, page numbers and publishers. These details will save you time later.

Read the literature

  • Critically read each source, look for the arguments presented rather than for facts.
  • Take notes as you read and start to organise your review around themes and ideas.
  • Consider using a table, matrix or concept map to identify how the different sources relate to each other.

Analyse the literature you have found

In order for your writing to reflect strong critical analysis, you need to evaluate the sources. For each source you are reviewing ask yourself these questions:

  • What are the key terms and concepts?
  • How relevant is this article to my specific topic?
  • What are the major relationships, trends and patterns?
  • How has the author structured the arguments?
  • How authoritative and credible is this source?
  • What are the differences and similarities between the sources?
  • Are there any gaps in the literature that require further study?

Write the review

  • Start by writing your thesis statement. This is an important introductory sentence that will tell your reader what the topic is and the overall perspective or argument you will be presenting.
  • Like essays, a literature review must have an introduction, a body and a conclusion.

Structure of a literature review

Introduction

Your introduction should give an outline of

  • why you are writing a review, and why the topic is important
  • the scope of the review — what aspects of the topic will be discussed
  • the criteria used for your literature selection (e.g.. type of sources used, date range)
  • the organisational pattern of the review.

Body paragraphs

Each body paragraph should deal with a different theme that is relevant to your topic. You will need to synthesise several of your reviewed readings into each paragraph, so that there is a clear connection between the various sources. You will need to critically analyse each source for how they contribute to the themes you are researching.

The body could include paragraphs on:

  • historical background
  • methodologies
  • previous studies on the topic
  • mainstream versus alternative viewpoints
  • principal questions being asked
  • general conclusions that are being drawn.

Conclusion

Your conclusion should give a summary of:

  • the main agreements and disagreements in the literature
  • any gaps or areas for further research
  • your overall perspective on the topic.

Checklist for a literature review

Have I:

  • outlined the purpose and scope?
  • identified appropriate and credible (academic/scholarly) literature?
  • recorded the bibliographical details of the sources?
  • analysed and critiqued your readings?
  • identified gaps in the literature and research?
  • explored methodologies / theories / hypotheses / models?
  • discussed the varying viewpoints?
  • written an introduction, body and conclusion?
  • checked punctuation and spelling?

Further information

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