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how-to-write-an-article-critique-a-short-guide January 28, 2019

A critique paper is usually aimed at estimating and summing up the main points in a concise and straightforward manner. It can include a whole range of subjects to write about:

  1. Creative output – poetry, movies, paintings, novels, expositions.
  2. Works in the field of science – concepts and theories, monographs, systematic reviews, articles published in journals.
  3. Media – feature articles, news reports.

How to Write an Article Critique

When beginning, you may be doubtful how to write an article critique and what components it is made of. This type of an academic paper is quite similar to an essay. The writing style should be formal with a brief and well-ordered structure. The basic template of the article should consist of such elements as the introductory section, the main body, and the conclusion. Even though a critique is focused on summarizing and describing a book or a film, it also brings in the positive outcome and tells how useful and informative it is. It is also essential to state in which way the evaluated piece influences the audience.

What is a Critique?

First of all, you should be aware of the answer to the questions ‘what is critique?’, ‘what are the things the critique is set out to?’ and ‘why do we complete it?’ These are the skills we polish when writing a critique article:

  1. A student has a possibility to keep up with the current publications and innovations in the subject area of the work.
  2. We can estimate a piece according to certain factors, for example, the aim of the work, its target audience, the way the argument is developed, author’s own style of writing, presented evidence to support claims.
  3. We learn to reveal the strong and weak sides of creator’s work.

An Approach to Get Started with the Process of Writing

The task might seem to be tedious from the first glance, but if you have a plan to follow, it is much easier to cope with it.
To start with, you should study the work itself. Do not forget to note the thoughts that come to your mind when reading the chosen article or watching a movie. Write down the key points and important details of the work as you notice them. Try to catch the author’s purpose and carefully go along with the argumentation development. Give an answer to the question how meaningful the work is in the broader context of the branch of science.
There are many methods to structure a critique, but you may organize your article in the way that you find the most fitting. It may also happen that you will find a number of practical ideas to assist you in the material presented in your textbook or on a blackboard.

How To Critique A Journal Article

Students may often work with feature articles, so here are our tips on how to critique a journal article. They are not the same for all articles, so identify the type of the one you have been assigned. It may be a research or empirical article, etc. Mention the title of an article, the author’s name, the journal where it was published, the exact time of publication (date, month), state the number of pages, the problem that is discussed, the aim of the author, and which methods he used to achieve it.
The critique should be done professionally, in other words, not from the point of view of an outsider. Therefore, research the issue more deeply in order to be aware of the tendencies in the sphere.

Article Critique Format

Here is a template that may come in handy for you:


In most cases, this part takes not more that 10% of the entire article. It should cover the following points: a title of the work you are going to evaluate, the date of publication, description of the main arguments, and the purpose of the work. You should put forward some information on the background of the work, and the historical context of the time when it was created. It is necessary to identify the place of the work. Digging deeper, you have a possibility to interconnect the motives of the piece of art and the creator’s biography. At the end, make a concluding section that gives a hint on what is going to be discussed in the further parts of the article. Show if the point of view will be negative, positive or a mixed one.

The Main Body

Shortly summarize the most crucial components of the work. You should be objective enough to give a detailed account of the plot, used techniques, characters, media, and symbolism. This incisive conclusion should not be the central point of the whole critique paper. Comparing to critical evaluation, this summary is much shorter.
Critical evaluation should be coherent and consistent. It contains an all-encompassing gauging of the separate elements you have paid attention to. All the points should be systematized and characterized in a way that will cast light on how the author was effective in achieving the purpose of the work. Having selected a painting for assessment, you should talk about the colors, light, and brush strokes. If the subject of your analysis is a book, you may mention your ideas concerning the setting of a story, composition, and culmination.
Do not consider critical evaluation as the means to point out only the negative sides of the work. It should highlight the advantages and disadvantages of the piece of art. It puts forward the success of the author’s creation in correlation with its aims.
State the right questions to stress the information you need:

  • What is the personality of an author? What is the manner, in which the work is written, is it subjective or objective?
  • What are the purposes of the work? How efficacious is it?
  • Were any special techniques applied? How appropriate are they?
  • What are the motives and main focus of the work?
  • Are the assumptions well proved? What evidence is presented?
  • What type of organization did the author apply?
  • Is the work’s outcome valuable for the field? How does it change the view on the researched things?

This part should be written so that the reader can notice the strain of logic. Make sure that you do not puzzle the potential audience going off the track and broadening the topic. Ideas should be grouped into paragraphs according to their relevance.


The summary should be short and clear. It serves present the complete overview of the article. You may start with a sentence that tells about the overall assessment of the work. Then, explain why this very critique was completed.

Reference list

Look for the rules to cite the sources you have used. Make up a list of the articles, books and other materials you applied in the course of evaluation.
Now you are armored with a number of ideas of how to complete a perfect critique article. Select a piece of art for assessment and go on.

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