Writing critical reviews is a common experience that you will have to face during your college days. However, mastering the art of starting this kind of assignment is just as critical as continuing and finishing it. The reason is that beginnings matter—very much. If you get a false start, it is most likely you may never have the luxury of undoing it. And even if you get the chance, at times the damage could be too big to reverse within a limited timeframe. Therefore, this guide will discuss at length what you need to know about how to start a critical article review. Remain with us to discover more.
What Is A Critical Article Review?
But before delving into the details of how to start a critical article review, it is needful to define it. In short, writing a critical article review is an assignment that requires you to make a subjective analysis of a piece of writing, report, article, or book. Here, you make your arguments with two main objectives in mind, which are to:
- Explain and introduce to your readers why the literature’s writer made their arguments
- Give your personal judgement on the argument/s so you can help your readers to understand them better
To give us a better understanding, we will dig deeper into the following terms to avoid any misunderstanding:
This term does not mean you have to criticize other people negatively. Instead, it means your ability to objectively question and evaluate the information in the text you are reading and give your readers a judgement of what you make of it.
With judgement, you are not occupying the same position a court judge occupies seeking to declare a suspect guilty or innocent. Your work is to find out the merits and demerits of the arguments the author presents in the text. To make the right judgement, go beyond the text. For instance, you have to understand the author’s target audience to appreciate why they formulated and presented their arguments that way. It is also needful to understand their goal with the text.
Lastly, you have to learn how to separate the contents and concepts in the text into their main components. This way, it will be easy to understand their correlation. As such, you will be better placed to know how they connect to each other as well as their mutual impact.
How To Start A Critical Article Review: The Outline and Its Importance
Writing an effective critical analysis requires accurate ideas. However, your ideas will not impact your readers well if you have not structured them properly. It is needful, therefore, to work with a structure that holds these ideas together in a flowing and hierarchical manner. This way, it will be easy to know which ideas will go where. The reason is that the positioning of your ideas affects their impact on your readers. Also, getting your ideas to your readers in a structured fashion will make it easy for them to understand and follow them. So, get an outline before writing your review.
Your ability to excel in the presentation of your ideas depends on how you format them. This section of our guide on how to start a critical article review gives you a quick overview of how to format your paper. Your review will take the following shape:
- Introductory details to assist your audience to understand your writing
Here, you will give details about your work. They will include the following components:
- Publication information
- Statement of topic and purpose
- Thesis statement that shows your overall response to and stance on the text under review
Here, you have to summarize and describe the work. Also, you should interpret and evaluate the text you are reviewing. Under this, you have to cover the following core elements:
- Discuss how the author organized the work
- Discuss how the author organized their text
- Whether the literature is effective or not
- Discuss how you treat the topic
- Discuss how the text appeals to a given readership
How to Start a Critical Article Review: The Introduction
Your paper’s introduction is critical in all ways. The reason is that it is your only opportunity to make a strong and lasting first impression. That is why this section examines it briefly. The reason is that if you fail here, you will start your work on a limping note. You need to start the review on a captivating note to capture and retain your reader’s interest. Here, you ought to include your thesis statement to allow your readers to know the strategic and overall direction your paper takes.
Also, pay attention to its length. Ideally, your intro will range between one and three paragraphs. If it is normal, then one paragraph is enough. For exceptionally longer ones, then two or three paragraphs are necessary.
How to Start Critical Article Review: The Steps
In this portion of our guide, we will dig deeper into the steps you need to start writing your paper effectively. Below are the steps you have to start drafting your review:
No matter how bright you think you are or how critical you are, it is mandatory to read the text before evaluating it. It is wise to do this to get the gist of what the author wrote, how, and why they did so. Otherwise, you could end up misfiring and wasting your time. When reading, do so carefully and note all the main themes and ideas that emerge out of the text. If you encounter any strange terms, look them up. This way, it will be easier to review something you know than acting on assumption.
- Spot the author’s thesis
Next, you have to determine what the author stands for or against throughout the text. This process will be easy or hard depending on the type of work you are reviewing. For instance, if you are dealing with a scholarly piece, it is easy to detect its thesis. However, some non-academic theses could be challenging to detect. For example, if you are reviewing an artistic text the thesis may not be so obvious, especially from the introduction. So, take your time to understand this section before proceeding to do anything.
- Personal description
Since you have already digested the ideas in the text, it is time to take and put them in your own words. This is critical since you are not trying to copy and paste the ideas the author presents in the text. However, you have two options here. First, you could do this by writing a short summary of the text. When summarizing, you could use a single or two paragraphs to gather your ideas. Second, you could outline the ideas you have gathered from your reading of the text. This way, you will be better placed to express those ideas and make independent judgement. Also, it will assist you in beating plagiarism.
- Establish any appeal the author uses
This stage is critical since the author’s style matter. You have to check for the three fundamental appeals they use to reach out to the heads and chests of their readers. Ideally, authors will use appeals that affect the three areas of their target audience’s being:
- The logic: Find out if they use a logical appeal to reach to the minds of the readers and swing their minds into accepting their ideas and thesis
- The emotions: Also, some authors may want to appeal to the emotions and feelings of the reader to sell their thesis
- Morality: Lastly, look for any moral appeals that seek to influence people’s moral perspectives towards the thesis and work
After establishing how the author reaches out to the readers, it will be easier to know how best to appeal to yours. Also, this understanding will assist you in evaluating the effectiveness of the author’s style.
The body of your review is vital in the success of your evaluation. Therefore, pay close attention to how you write it. In this section, we will share briefly how you will need to handle this vital component of your task.
- First, you have to develop an interesting and logically flowing discussion your readers can follow easily
- You will need to corroborate your arguments with proof and examples from the text you are examining and reviewing
- Make sure you have structured your body parts properly to allow your readers to read through easily
- Use topic sentences to make your paragraphs easier to understand
My First Body Paragraph
Your first body paragraph should be act as your primary entry point from your introduction to the body. Therefore, make it clear, detailed, and coherent. This way, all the other body paragraphs will flow easily.
How to Start a Critical Article Review: Tips
Finally, here are tips to enable you write your reviews better.
- Abide by all the assignment instructions and guidelines
- Don’t rush your writing process. Instead, create enough time and plan for every stage of the writing process.
- Determine beforehand how you will organize your analysis
- If you want to use quotes, then place them in quotation marks and show the reader where you got them from—the exact page numbers in the text.
We hope this guide on how to start a critical article review has helped you to get your game to the next level. But if you have any pending challenges, then our doors are open. You are welcome to talk to our team about your needs—today.