Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Business Management: C19RH

Resources for business management, marketing, strategy and enterprise, operations and logistics and HR and law

Guide: writing a critical review of a journal article

This guide gives you advice and tips on how you might approach writing a critical review of an article in an academic journal.

What is a Critical Review of a Journal Article?

A critical review of a journal article evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of an article's ideas and content. It provides description, analysis and interpretation that allow readers to assess the article's value.

1. Before You Read the Article

  • What does the title lead you to expect about the article?
  • Study any sub-headings to understand how the author organized the content.
  • Read the abstract for a summary of the author's arguments.
  • Study the list of references to determine what research contributed to the author's arguments. Are the references recent? Do they represent important work in the field?
  • If possible, read about the author to learn what authority he or she has to write about the subject.
  • Consult Web of Science or Scopus databases to see if other writers have cited the author's work.  Has the author made an important contribution to the field of study?

3. Prepare an Outline

  • Read over your notes.
  • Choose a statement that expresses the central purpose or thesis of your review. When thinking of a thesis, consider the author's intentions and whether or not you think those intentions were successfully realized.
  • Eliminate all notes that do not relate to your thesis.
  • Organize your remaining points into separate groups such as points about structure, style, or argument. Devise a logical sequence for presenting these ideas.
  • Remember that all of your ideas must support your central thesis.

5. Revise the First Draft

Ideally, you should leave your first draft for a day or two before revising. This allows you to gain a more objective perspective on your ideas. Check for the following when revising:-

  • grammar and punctuation errors
  • organization, logical development and solid support of your thesis
  • errors in quotations or in references

You may make major revisions in the organization or content of your review during the revision process. Revising can even lead to a radical change in your central thesis.

Image

Man, Writing, Laptop, Computer, Write

Image

Office, Startup, Business, Home Office

2.Some question ask when reading the article

Read the article carefully. Record your impressions and note sections suitable for quoting.

  • Who is the intended audience?
  • What is the author's purpose? To survey and summarize research on a topic? To present an argument that builds on past research? To refute another writer's argument?
  • Does the author define important terms?
  • Is the information in the article fact or opinion? (Facts can be verified, while opinions arise from interpretations of facts.)
  • Does the information seem well-researched or is it unsupported?
  • What are the author's central arguments or conclusions? Are they clearly stated? Are they supported by evidence and analysis?
  • If the article reports on an experiment or study, does the author clearly outline methodology and the expected result?
  • Is the article lacking information or argumentation that you expected to find?
  • Is the article organized logically and easy to follow?
  • Does the writer's style suit the intended audience? Is the style stilted or unnecessarily complicated?
  • Is the author's language objective or charged with emotion and bias?
  • If illustrations or charts are used, are they effective in presenting information?

4. Write the First Draft

The review should begin with a complete reference for the article in the referencing style you've been recommended to use. For example (if using Harvard):-

Paton, M. (2021) 'Carbon pricing and emissions: an economic perspective', 5 (2), pp. 247-269. 

The first paragraph may contain:

  • a statement of your thesis
  • the author's purpose in writing the article
  • comments on how the article relates to other work on the same subject
  • information about the author's reputation or authority in the field

The body of the review should:

  • state your arguments in support of your thesis
  • follow the logical development of ideas that you mapped out in your outline
  • include quotations from the article which illustrate your main ideas

The concluding paragraph may:

  • summarize your review
  • restate your thesis

Acknowelgement

Adapted from University of Toronto Mississauga Library guide with permission and thanks.