In this paper, you will pick a topic you are interested in, and find an academic article from your field, published in the last five years. You will both summarize and analyze the academic article. You examine how the research was done to form an evaluation of the overall effectiveness of the article. For example, Swales and Feak state that: “In Engineering, you may notice that conclusions or explanations in a paper are not well supported and thus require further testing or more evidence.”
Feak and Swales give the following questions to consider in writing a critique. These questions are not meant to be answered in order in your paper. That is, do not organize your paper around these questions. These are general questions to guide your thinking about the paper.
- The author’s background (sometimes an “author” will be an organization) and how that background affects your respect for, or trust in, the accuracy of the article. If there is more than one author, researching the first author, who is the lead author, is sufficient.
- How recently the article was published (how does this affect your understanding of the topic?)
- Other types of writing you would find in the journal
- Who is the audience?
- What is the purpose of the article?
- What research questions or hypotheses are being addressed in the article? Are the questions relevant?
- What conclusions does the author draw from the research? (Hint: Does the author answer yes or no to the research questions?)
- What kind of evidence was collected to explore the research questions? Is there any evidence that could or should have been collected and included bur was not? How good is the evidence? How well does the evidence support the conclusions?
- Are the author’s conclusions valid or plausible based on the evidence? Why or why not?
- 10: Are there any important assumptions underlying the article? How do these influence the conclusions?
- Are the charts, tables, and figures clear? Do they contribute to or detract from the article?
- Does the research make an original contribution to the field? Why or why not
- After reading this article, what other possibilities for research do you think exist regarding this topic?
Your paper should have an introduction, body paragraphs and a conclusion. Use headings to separate each section and subsection. Double space, 12pt font, Times New Roman. You should expect to write about 5-6 pages or 1200-1500 words. Have a cover page with your title, (not the title of the paper) and your name. Put your last name and page number on upper right of subsequent pages.
In the introduction:
Give the reader background they might need to know to understand your subject, and an overview of the paper with the authors research questions and thesis. (Paraphrase the thesis and research questions.)
Remember that many writers underestimate their audience, so make sure your introduction in understandable to someone outside of your field.
Body: Usually there is a longer summary in the first paragraph of the body, followed by your critique.
Conclusion: Could include overall assessment, or future research possibilities. Show your opinion by using the evaluative language in Swales and Feak chapter 6, such as “limited” or “insightful” (p.264)