How To Write An Article Review: Guidelines, Formats, And Tips

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Article reviews offer a focused discussion on a particular subject or topic. They play a critical role in the scientific community. These reviews provide the historical context of already published articles while discussing the future of the field. The reviewer’s job here is to analyze, critique, and summarize the article written by the author.

Article reviews are commonly assigned to college and university students. The objective of giving them such assignments is to familiarize them with the published work of renowned authors. Furthermore, writing article reviews allows students to improve their writing, analytical, and critical thinking skills. 

When you are reviewing an article, you have to assess someone else’s work responsibly. The expectation is to form an opinion or point of view wherein you agree or disagree with the author. If you’re a student who has never written an article review, you might find the task challenging. But, with some preparation, you can nail your article review with ease.

In this article, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to write an effective article review. Before we begin, let’s start with the definition of article review. It’s essential to understand the basics of writing an article review before you start writing.

So let’s begin:

What is an article review?

An article review is a type of academic paper where the writer constructively critiques a piece of literature. It is a critical analysis of previously published data or material. It requires the reviewer to comprehend, summarize, and compare the existing research and present their understanding. 

The purpose of writing an article review is:

  • To organize research literature.
  • To evaluate existing research.
  • To synthesize current research.
  • To understand the trends in literature.
  • To identify research gaps and recommend future research trajectories.

You will evaluate the article’s strengths and weaknesses. Furthermore, you will assess the authority of the source, the topic, and the problem that the piece addresses. When writing an article review, you should consider things like “What is the goal of its creation?” and “How to write a critical review of a journal article?”.

An article review is written for a reader who is knowledgeable in the discipline. Usually, it is written for professors, lecturers, fellow researchers, etc. The length of a review article varies greatly. Narrative reviews can be anywhere from 8,000 to 40,000 words long, while a systematic review is fewer than 10,000 words. 

What are the different types of article reviews?

The primary categories of article reviews are as follows:

Literature review

A literature review is also known as a narrative review. A narrative review is published material that analyzes existing research or literature. It provides an extensive overview of the literature. Such reviews allow the writer to identify critical theories, methodologies, and gaps in existing research. 

Systematic review

It is a systematic and explicit review of the evidence on a clearly formulated question. In a systematic review, the writer identifies, selects, and critically appraises relevant primary research. They also extract and analyze data from the studies included in the review.

Scoping review

It is also known as evidence review. Scoping reviews give a broad overview of the research evidence already available. They don’t necessarily provide a concise answer to a specific research issue. In such reviews, the topic of discussion is rather generic. In scoping review, the research synthesizes research material with transparent methods to produce reliable results.

The basic structure of an article review

Independent of the type, the basic structure of an article review consists of three parts. It includes the introduction, main body, and conclusion. 

Introduction

The introduction of the article review should establish the following:

  1. Define the topic.
  2. Provide context for the review.
  3. Demonstrate your point of view and purpose of the review article.
  4. Include the sequence of information.
  5. State the scope of the review.

Main body

The main body of the article review must contain the following:

  1. Organize the information into subsections.
  2. Give insights between the main topic and the broader subject area.
  3. Include the evaluation models used.
  4. Summarize the findings and results.

Conclusion

The conclusion chapter is relatively short compared to other sections. It must include the following:

  1. Summarize essential aspects of the existing literature.
  2. Analyze the current trends in the reviewed literature.
  3. Identify the gaps in the existing knowledge.
  4. Propose the direction of future research.
  5. Highlight the connections between your research and the existing literature.

Now depending on what type of review you are writing, you may have several more sections. This may include chapters like Title, Abstract, References, Table of Figures, etc. It is always best to confirm with your advisor what structure you should follow for your article review. That way, you don’t end up submitting the wrong format and losing crucial marks.

An example of narrative review structure:

  • Title
  • Abstract
  • Table of contents
  • Introduction
  • Main body
  • Conclusion
  • Reference list

Another example of systematic review structure:

  • Title
  • Informative abstract
  • Introduction
  • Main body
  • Conclusion
  • Reference list

Pre-writing requisite: Creating an article review outline

As with any writing process, creating an article review outline is the best way to write the report. This is because an outline gives you a clearer picture of the scope of work you need to cover. Essentially, it reduces the chances of you missing out on integral discussion points in your article review. Furthermore, creating an outline decreases the number of revisions and edits. 

We highly recommend that you use the outline template given below to create your article review. If your professor or advisor doesn’t want a particular section in the report, leave that section aside.

Title Page

Mention the title, name, date, list of articles reviewed, author’s name, department, university name, and email id. The word count should be 200-300 words

Abstract

Write a summary of the leading research question, the preliminary study reviewed, and the result of your research. Also include the materials and methods used for research. This chapter should be around 200-300 words.

Table of contents

Showcase the organization of the text throughout the paper. It’s an optional section. Some review journals use this chapter, while others do not. It is best suited for narrative reviews.

Introduction

Include the name of the topic, the purpose of the review, and an outline of the entire content. It should give the reader a background about the different sections of the article review.

Body

It contains the analysis and results. The main body should be divided into headings and subheadings. Each heading and subheadings should be further divided into paragraphs.

Conclusion

Summarize the main points and answer the research question. Write about your interpretation of the findings and future implications of the results. Identify the problems or gaps in the existing research and make recommendations.

Acknowledgments

It’s an optional section that should only be included if the professor has requested it. Acknowledge and express gratitude to the people who have helped your research. Specify the contribution of each person involved in the process.

References

Include every reference cited in the content of the article review. The range of references should be around 50-100. 

Illustrations

Describe the relationship between different studies, methods, concepts, or theories. It is an optional section and can be used to explain complex relationships.

Once you familiarize yourself with the outline, you can start your writing process. But, before that, ensure that you have planned and prepared for the assignment. Below are some pro tips to bear in mind before your start composing the article review:

  • Assign yourself sufficient time to read the article and write the report.
  • Plan your work so that you don’t face time constraints towards the end. 
  • Read the article thoroughly and take notes.
  • Understand why the author wrote the article and their point of view.
  • Identify and note down the main points.
  • Determine if the author left behind any questions unanswered.
  • Critique the article’s accuracy, strengths, and weaknesses.
  • Create the outline and write as per the appropriate article review format.

How to start writing an article review

Start with the title

You should choose an intriguing title for your review paper. It should be creative while being informative, interrogative, or declarative. Your review title should let the reader know what the paper is about. It should aptly describe the research topic or question. The title page should reflect the main focus of the research work. 

Cite the article correctly

After the title page, add your citations next. Failure to cite the article can lead to allegations of plagiarism. So, handle this chapter with utmost care. You must include every resource you have used to create this article review. Most importantly, ensure that you use the appropriate citation style as requested by your instructor. 

Add article identification

Next, write the article identifications. It should include the following details:

  • Title of the article.
  • Name of the author. 
  • Title of the journal. 
  • Year of publication.

Write the introduction

The introduction of your article review should provide an overview of the topic. The summary should give some background information to the reader. You should always add a hook in the introductory paragraph. You should follow the format below for your introduction:

  • The thesis of your article review.
  • A summary of the main points.
  • Strengths, facts, and positive attributes of the study.
  • Critique of the published article alongside weaknesses, gaps, contradictions, and unanswered questions.

Frame the main body

The main body is the most crucial part of your entire review. The content included in this chapter should support the central thesis and be backed by solid evidence. You need to plan the headings, subheadings, and paragraph structure. Also, you must curate and organize the content for each paragraph in different sections. Here is how you can structure your review:

Summarize the original literature

When composing the content for the main body, insert a summary of the original article. You create a discussion around the central idea and arguments presented by the author. It’s best to create a list of pertinent facts, evidence, and findings presented in the original article. Also, ensure that you include the author’s conclusion.

Critique the article

You must write a critique objectively. It’s crucial to conduct an in-depth evaluation of the article and project your assessment with clarity. You must support your criticism with well-founded evidence. Additionally, you must highlight the gaps you find in the author’s treatment of the literature. 

Formulate the conclusion

The conclusion must briefly summarize the entire article review. It should describe the article’s overall contribution to your understanding of the topic. You should also mention its significance to the growth of knowledge in this particular discipline.

You may draw comparisons to other writings in the same field and highlight the superior points discussed by the author in the article. It may also be feasible to provide remarks about the future study or discuss the issue further.

Post writing requisite: Proofreading the entire article review

Proofreading is an essential writing step that most students skip. But, it’s vital to proofread your content in its entirety to ensure that it is without a flaw. After you are done writing, scan your document for four things:

  • Grammar.
  • Spelling.
  • Punctuation.
  • Language.

You must identify and eliminate any errors and inconsistencies that you may have left behind while composing the report. For this, you may use a grammar and spelling checker. Otherwise, you may enlist the help of a friend or peer to proofread the document for you. Once you have edited and proofread the article review, it is finally ready for submission.

How to format an article review?

There is no undermining the value of originality in academic writing. That’s why it’s crucial to cite all your sources and avoid plagiarism. Whether you use direct quotes or paraphrase the information, you must always acknowledge and accredit the original owner. When you include a bibliography or reference list in the report, you must follow a specific formatting style.

Mainly your professor or advisor will inform you what formatting style to follow for the article review. Additionally, your field of study also dictates the appropriate referencing style to be used for all academic papers. For example, the AMA style is widely accepted in the medical field. Meanwhile, the APA style is the preferred choice in Science and Education.

Ideally, articles are published in APA format in journals, newspapers, and online platforms. You can use the following format to write an APA article review:

  • Print Journal- Author’s Last Name, First and Middle Name Initials. (Publication Year). Title. Periodical Title, Volume (Issue).
  • Website- Author’s Last Name, First and Middle Name Initials. (Year, Month, Date of Publication). Title. Link.
  • Newspaper- Author’s Last Name, First and Middle Name Initials. (Year, Month, Date of Publication). Title. Magazine Title.

For the Chicago citation style, use the following structure:

  • Print Journal- Author’s Last Name, First Name. Title of Article. Name of Journal volume, issue No. (Month/Season Year): Page Range of the article. 
  • Website- Website. “Title of Page.” Accessed Month Date, Year. URL.
  • Newspaper- Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of Article.” Name of Publication, Month Date, Year.

For MLA citations and references, use the following format:

  • Print Journal- Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Publication Title.” Journal Title Series Volume. Issue (Year Published): Page(s). Database Name. Web. Date Month Year Accessed.
  • Website- Author’s Last Name, First and Middle Name Initial. “Publication Title.” Website Title. Website Publisher, Date Month Year Published. Web. Date Month Year Accessed.
  • Newspaper- Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Publication Title.” Newspaper Title [City] Date, Month, Year Published: Page(s). Print.

A handy checklist for your article review assignment

  1. Have you understood the literature’s objectives and scope? 
  2. Have you provided a quick synopsis of the content and emphasized the main points?
  3. Did you use credible libraries and databases to find sources to evaluate? 
  4. Have you used keywords in the title and abstract chapter? 
  5. Did you start the article review with an overview of the topic? 
  6. Have you presented a critical and logical argument? 
  7. Have you provided both positive and constructive criticism?
  8. Have you proposed future suggestions for research in your conclusion? 
  9. Have you conducted a final spelling and grammar check?

Additional article review tips

Here are some additional tips to help ease your article writing task:

Structural guidelines

  1. Group your entire discussion into sections and subsections. 
  2. Start each section with a brief introduction.
  3. Every subsection should have a clear point.
  4. Use transitional phrases to begin the next section.

Content guidelines

  1. Ensure all statements are adequately cited.
  2. Make a clear distinction while presenting results and interpretations.
  3. Systematically highlight discrepancies and unanswered questions.
  4. Avoid repeating the introduction in the conclusion chapter.
  5. Keep the sentences crisp and straightforward.
  6. Use the right keywords and terminology.

Grammar, language, and style guidelines

  1. Use active voice rather than passive voice.
  2. Keep the tone of voice formal and professional.
  3. Maintain visual consistency across the entire document.
  4. Refrain from unnecessary intensifiers.
  5. Avoid slang, jargon, cliches, and redundancies.
  6. Beware of gendered language and subjective phrases.

Conclusion

Writing an article review is a laborious process. It’s a colossal undertaking for students to conduct exhaustive research, analyze the literature, and form opinions on it. The best way to finish an article review assignment is to approach it methodically. You must have an in-depth understanding of the article before you begin your critique. 

We hope the tips and tricks we have covered in this guide are insightful. Using these steps will help you plan and organize your article review assignment. You must bear in mind that your analysis must be original. So, ensure that you dedicate sufficient time to writing an authentic article review. 

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