Critique papers require students to conduct a critical analysis of another piece of writing, often a book, journal article, or essay. No matter what your major is, you will probably be expected to write a critique paper at some point. For psychology students, critiquing a professional paper is a great way to learn more about psychology articles, writing, and the research process itself. Students can analyze how researchers conduct experiments, interpret results and discuss the impact of the results.
While these tips are designed to help students writing a psychology critique paper, many of the same principles apply to writing critiques in other subject areas as well.
Start By Reading the Material You Are Going to Critique
The first step should always be to do a thorough read-through of the material you will be analyzing and critiquing. More than just a casual skim, however, your reading needs to be in-depth with an eye toward certain elements.
Following these steps can help you make better sense of the material as you assess what you are reading.
1. Read the introduction section of the article.
Is the hypothesis clearly stated? Is necessary background information and previous research described in the introduction? In addition to answering these basic questions, you should take note of information provided in the introduction and any questions that you may have.
2. Read the methods section of the article.
Is the study procedure clearly outlined? Can you determine which variables the researchers are measuring? Remember to jot down questions and thoughts that come to mind as you are reading. Once you have finished reading the paper, you can then refer back to your initial questions and see which once remain unanswered.
3. Read the results section of the article.
Are all tables and graphs clearly labeled? Do researchers provide enough statistical information? Did the researchers collect all of the data needed to measure the variables in question? Again, make note of any questions you have or any information that does not seem to make sense. You can refer back to these questions later as you are writing your final critique.
4. Read the discussion section of the article.
How do the researchers interpret the results of the study? Did the results support their hypothesis? Do the conclusions drawn by the researchers seem reasonable? The discussion section offers students a good opportunity to take a position. If you agree with the researchers conclusions, explain why. If you feel that the researchers are incorrect or off-base, point out problems with the conclusions and suggest alternative explanations. Another alternative is to point out questions that the researchers failed to answer in the discussion section.
Begin Writing Your Own Critique of the Paper
Once you have read the article, compile your notes and develop an outline that you can follow as you write your psychology critique paper. Use the following guide to help structure your critique paper:
Begin your paper by describing the journal article and authors you are critiquing. Provide the main hypothesis or thesis of the paper and explain why you think the information is relevant.
2. Thesis Statement
The final part of your introduction should include your thesis statement. Your thesis statement is the main idea of your critique. Your thesis should briefly sum up the main points of your critique.
3. Article Summary
Provide a brief summary of the article, outlining the main points, results and discussion. Be careful not to get too bogged down by your summary. Remember, this section of your paper should highlight the main points of the article you are critiquing.
Don't feel obligated to summarize each little detail of the main paper. Focus instead on giving the reader an overall idea of the content of the article.
3. Your Analysis
In this section, you should provide your critique of the article. Describe any problems you had with the authors premise, methods, or conclusions. Your critique might focus on problems with the authors argument, presentation or on information, and alternatives that have been overlooked. Organize your paper carefully and be careful not to jump around from one argument to the next. Argue one point at a time. Doing this will ensure that your paper flow's well and is easy to read.
Your critique paper should end with an overview of the articles argument, your conclusions and your reactions.
More Tips When Writing a Psychology Critique Paper
- As you are editing your paper, utilize a style guide published by the American Psychological Association, such as the official Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.
- Reading scientific articles can be difficult. Learn more about how to read (and understand) psychology journal articles.
- Take a rough draft of your paper to your school's writing lab for additional assistance.
How to Critique an Article
Every day students get dozens of new assignments of all shapes and kinds, so it is more that simple to get lost in all of the rules and guidelines. One of such tasks is a critique and often we are asked ‘what is an article critique’, as it is not a regular task and has some specific structural and content requirements.
If you want to learn how to critique an article, you should first have a clear understanding of what this assignment is about. Generally, it is an objective analysis of any piece of work (not depending on its genre), which includes your personal thoughts on the subject. You need to give the reader an idea of whether the author of an article based it on facts and credible information. Your main goal is to show your personal opinion, backed with evidence and arguments, so you need to be very attentive while reading the article and noting down key elements.
Many students fail to complete this task, as they simply provide a summary of the analyzed paper, forgetting about personal approach and challenging your own skills and knowledge. That is why it is so simple to make one of many mistakes, while completing an article critique. These mistakes may include:
- Using only negative critique. Although your main aim is to analyze the article, you should add some positive features to dilute the overall impressive from your paper;
- Excessive background information. Most of the readers already know what the article is about or who its author is, so don’t waste too much time and energy on providing boring information on the subject itself and biography or publishing details;
- Not including the main argument. Many students forget about this important element and simply try to summarize the whole article. However, main argument is an essential part of your work and you need to include it at the beginning of your paper to make sure everyone knows what your position on the subject is.
If you follow all the recommendations, you will easily complete an outstanding article critique without any efforts!
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Article Critique Example
One of the ways of simplifying the whole process of completing the assignment is using an article critique example. Many students decide to download such samples in order to get an overall idea of how the assignment should look like and what key points should be added.
Using an example may greatly help you to create a proper structure, use necessary formatting methods and shape the whole work according to professor’s demands. It is your way of making the whole process of creating an article critique simple and fun, following all the common rules and regulations. With the help of such samples you will be able to save lots of times and nerves, which will definitely contribute to the overall results.
APA Format Article Critique
It is not a secret that most of professors pay careful attention not only to the content of the assignment but also how well it is formatted. That is why you need to be very attentive, when shaping your work and adding final changes. One of the most popular formatting styles, while completing an article critique is American Psychological Association (APA) format, which has its specific rules and guidelines. Your paper should be double-spaced, using 1-inch margins and Times New Roman font in 12 point. The general structure of your critique should consist of a title page, abstract, body and references. When formatting the title page, you should indicate name of your paper and school, as well as your personal data.
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Article Critique Format
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Examples of Article Critiques
APA format article critique follows a clear structure:
- Abstract. This section should consist of a brief summary of the critique you are going to provide. Write down how it will influence the reader and what analysis methods were used. This paragraph should be 15-250 words long with centered word ‘Abstract’ at the top;
- Body. On the next page center the title of your work and start providing necessary details, not forgetting to double space the text. Here you should include mistakes you have found in the article, methods you have used and so on;
- References. This section may include only the paper you are analyzing but you shouldn’t forget about the formatting style you are going to use. Write the reference in such an order: last name of the author, initials, publication year, title of the article, name of the journal in italics, volume, page numbers if necessary.
In-text citations should be made using the author-date system, which means that you only need to indicate name of the author, followed by the year of publication. If you want to quote a certain part of the paper, you need to include the page name at the end.
If you know how to write an article critique, you will easily complete the assignment not depending on its complexity and formatting peculiarities.