How to Write an Article Review: Definition and Tips

Before you start working on this type of assignment, you probably have a question: what is an article review in the first place?

An article review is your own evaluation, as well as a summary of an article written by someone else. In academia, students usually choose scientific or research articles to review. However, they may also opt for a opinion piece as a foundation of the project. The type of foundation they choose mainly depends on the professor’s instructions and the course in question.

If you’re allowed to choose an article, use Google Scholar to find a strong, reliable source.

Format of Article Review

You write the article for a reader who is familiar with the matter of discussion. This type of paper is not intended for the general audience. That’s why you’ll skip the background. You’ll immediately jump into the summary and evaluation.

The format of article review is rather simple:


You’ll immediately start the paper by listing the main points, information, and claims from the writer’s work.

Discussion of positive aspects

You’ll discuss different aspects of the article, explaining what the author did well.

Discussion of negative aspects

Here, you’ll focus on the gaps and inconsistency in the content. You’ll determine the points where more research was needed in order to prove a claim.

How to Start an Article Review

As we said, you’re not going to dig into the background of the concepts. If, for example, you’re critiquing someone’s opinion piece on abortion, you’re not going to write a lengthy introduction explaining the history of abortion and the current laws that regulate it. You’ll immediately start exposing the main points of the content you’re about to critique.

  • First, brainstorm! List the main arguments. Pay attention to the abstract of the article; that’s where the main idea is most clearly exposed.
  • Mention the article’s title, as well as its author. The reader should know what they are about to read.
  • Remember: you mustn’t copy the writer’s words. You’ll put the main points into your own words, since no plagiarism is allowed. Of course you may use quotes, but make sure to reference them in accordance with the chosen citation style.
  • Remove all unnecessary elements from the summary. List only the ones you’re going to discuss in the continuation of the paper.

How to Write the Body of an Article Review

When you started wondering how to write article review step by step, you were mostly concerned about this part.

  • In the first part after the introduction, you’ll list the points where you agreed with the writer. You’ll focus on the details that had enough support and were convincing.
  • You can support this discussion by mentioning details from the sources the author referenced.
  • Use a topic sentence to start each paragraph. When you address a particular strength, separate it in its own paragraph. This is not your traditional 5-paragraph essay; you may write as many paragraphs as you need to write.
  • Once you’re done writing about the positive aspects, you’ll give a negative critique. This means you’ll voice your own opinion about the things you think are wrong with some of the main points.

How to Conclude an Article Review

Finally, you’ll summarize the main points of the author’s work, just to make it clear how you discussed them. The conclusion for this type of paper should be brief and clear. The paragraph doesn’t have to be balanced out. It doesn’t have to be as long as the other paragraph in the structure.

When you’re done writing the conclusion, you have to make sure you completed a good article review. To do that, you absolutely need to edit and proofread. Without that step, you risk submitting flawed content that won’t make a good impression.

You already did all this work. It would be silly to skip the final proofreading stage, don’t you think?

Example of Article Review

So you want to know how an article review looks like? We chose a theory that’s really easy to criticize. Check out this brief sample, but keep in mind that it’s a shortened version of a more elaborate evaluation.

How We Affect Water: Review of Healing with Water by Masaru Emoto

Emoto, Masaru. “Healing with Water.” The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Volume 10, Number 1, 2004. (19-21)

Dr. Masaru Emoto revolutionized the scientific approach towards people’s thoughts and intentions with the idea that they impact the physical surroundings. In one of his most important experiments, he showed how water crystals looked under a microscope. He photographed crystals from water that was affected with positive words and emotions, such as love and gratitude. He compared those crystals to the ones taken from water “Treated” with negative words, such as devil. Considering the fact that the human body contains up to 78% water, this experiment attempted to show how our words and emotions affected other people and ourselves.

The main claim of this article is that water can have healing power. When being “treated” with words of kindness and gratitude, the crystalline shapes of the water react. They form symmetrical shapes. Prayers, for example, made the crystals beautiful. This crystalline memory of the water not only holds the response to sounds it was subjected to, but can also affect its environment. The assumption is that water has healing power, which explains why so many people from different religions feel beneficial effects after drinking “holy water.”

This interesting experiment certainly made a difference in the scientific community. Water is capable of reacting to positive and negative words and emotions, as well as to music. However, this theory remains a theory, since it is not supported by any scientific evidence. The step of attributing healing properties of water inside the human body and to the water reserves on Earth is based on assumptions, but not on science.

Under close scientific observations, water crystals appear to be random. That’s what we know so far. Emoto’s theory is not entirely abandoned in some scientific circles, but cannot be taken for granted.

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