Critical article review vs. article summary: tips for students

by Samantha Smiles   Google

The process of writing summary of an article or critical review is very complex and requires careful planning and implementation. Subjective opinion, organized thinking, objectivity, criticism and more factors are involved. Your work must be structured, easily understandable for readers; your personal opinion should be present and criticism has to be justified. The best way to go about writing these assignments is to create a plan, which divides your working process into certain stages. Let’s start with article reviews.

The first step

Thoroughly read the main points of the article as well as its title. Be sure to understand the author’s main points and form the base for your critique. Underline subjects, which should have been illustrated in more details and which information is not relevant to the readers. Identify the audience and their main interest in the article. Your personal impression and opinion will be great pointers for a successful review.

The second step

Identify the writer’s technique, objectiveness and arguments. Which information is used in the article? Is it reliable to the research? Make sure to understand the claims and their confirmation. In order to better understand the story of the author, break it into small parts. If necessary, present your own readers with brief description of the presented subject.

The third step

Start writing your review. Use your analytical questions that you have formulated after reading the article. Find other sources that would support your points and discuss how they can be applied to the research. Create an outline. The base for your outline is your analytical questions and answers to them. Your points should be justified basing on the quotes and ideas from the reviewed article.

The final step

Summarize your analysis. Identify key points and your personal opinion. Write your review objectively and always support your facts with reliable information. Then proofread your review and make sure there are no mistakes. Your review should be helpful to the readers.

As for an effective summary writing, it is an easy task if you follow certain rules.

The main point of the summary is to prove that you studied and understood the article.

First of all, read the article and make sure you understand what the author was trying to present to the audience. Write your personal outline to identify the key elements and main points. If you actually understand the article, at this point you should have ideas on how to write a summary.  Try to write a draft without referring to the article and see what you come up with. Don’t take a lot of information from the original text; there are ways to show your understanding like paraphrasing and quotation.

The present tense should be used at the beginning of your work, where you identify the information about the reviewed text. It contains the title, author, type of the paper and its main ideas. In order to make sure you have included all the main points of the original article, compare the author’s outline to yours. Be careful about the style of your writing. Don’t include your own subjective opinions on the topic. This would make your summary unreliable for the readers. Find information on specific phrases that reviewers use and make sure to include them. These could be “the article suggests', “the main point of the author is' and so on.

Don’t forget to give the sources that you have used in your summary. This will give your readers important information about the basis of your research and make your work more reliable and subjective.