How to Write a Critical Analysis of an Article
Knowing how to write a critical analysis of an article is very important because your university professor will most probably ask you to critique a journal or newspaper article at some point. A critical analysis is a subjective form of writing in which a writer expresses personal evaluation or opinion of a text, which in this case is an article. This can be a journal article, a magazine article or a newspaper article. While writing a critical analysis, you should read an article and think about it critically. It is important that you start by understanding the prompt or assignment question. This will enable you to understand the angle that you are required to take in your critical analysis.
A step-by-step guide on how to write a critical analysis of an article from a newspaper
- Know the event that led the author to write the article
Before you start analyzing the article, know why the author wrote it. This can be an event that happened or an event that is about to happen. When you know the reason why the author wrote the article that you are required to analyze, you can understand the purpose for writing it or the goal that the author wanted to accomplish by writing the article.
- Read and analyze the title
You can know the main idea of the article by reading its title. Before you start reading the body of the article, think about the title of the article and write a subjective opinion about it. You can also form basic points that you would include under the title in your mind if you were to write an article on that title. This will give you the first impression and help you in forming a critique of the article.
- Read and analyze the body of the article
After analyzing the title of the article, read the body to find out how the author supports the main idea as expressed by the title. To analyze the article critically, read it several times. Take notes while reading. Come up with a list of the analytical questions that will guide you in your analysis. Use these questions to form your critical analysis of different aspects of the article. For instance, what words does the writer uses in the title and the body of the article? Why does the author use these words? Is the author biased or objective? Does the author make and substantiate claims with valid arguments in article? This is a vital step of a guide on how to write a critical analysis of an article because it determines what forms the basis of your critique.
- Consider how the author supports claims in the article
In this step, analyze the article carefully to determine whether the author has provided adequate factual material which supports the presented ideas. The author can quote witnesses, state information sources or provide statistics in supporting claims. An author of an article can also be an eyewitness to an event or the author can obtain information via a news service.
- Consider your opinion about the reportage
Since critical analysis is subjective, you should give your opinion about the reportage. Is the reportage true, biased or balanced in your opinion? Explain your opinion while citing examples of instances that support your claim from the article.
- Explain how the author presents different points of view
For instance, tell readers whether the article under analysis is an editorial, a balanced article, an informative article or a convincing article. Again, support your stance with evidence from the article that you are analyzing.
- Conclude your critical analysis
Wrap up your analysis with your final view or opinion of the article. Tell readers about the tools that the author used to pass the message, the goal of the article and whether the author accomplished that goal. Also tell readers about the target audience and whether the article had impact on the intended audience in your opinion.
How to write a critical analysis of an article from a scientific journal
A scientific journal article is different from a newspaper article. As such, even how you analyze a scientific journal article should be different from the way you analyze a newspaper article.
To analyze a scientific journal article, follow these steps:
- Read the article and the critical analysis prompt
Start by reading the assignment and the article that you are required to analyze critically. Understand what the assignment requires you to do and whether you are required to take a particular angle in your analysis. Find out if there is a theoretical framework on which the argument in the article is based.
- Summarize the article
Summarize the goals or objectives of the article, methods, findings, analysis and conclusions. Explain how they are presented by the author. Show your comprehension of the research that the author of the article presents using one or two paragraphs.
- Highlight the strengths of the scientific article
Characterize the features that you find useful in the article. Tell readers about the aspects that are strong in the article. For instance, tell readers whether the article has sections that are particularly helpful.
- Highlight the weaknesses of the scientific article
Characterize the aspects of the article that you find confusing. For instance, are there apparent weaknesses of the study that come out in the article? Did you find any section of the article confusing and why? Support your claim with evidence from the article.
- Conclude your critical analysis
Conclude the analysis by telling readers how effective or ineffective the article was in presenting the findings of a scientific research. For instance, did the author suggest directions for future studies? Were the findings and analysis presented in a conclusive manner? Leave readers with a sense of completion after reading your critical analysis.
Bonus hints and reminders on how to write a critical analysis of an article
- Always identify the objective of the author
Before you start your critical analysis of an article, identify the objectives of the author. Ask yourself, what was the motive behind writing the article? What did the author want to achieve by writing the article?
- Identify any theory in the article
Is there a clear theoretical framework in the article? Does the author make vital theoretical assumptions? Are there clearly defined concepts in the article?
Identify the argument of the author in the article. Find out if there are specific hypothesis made and whether the author of a scientific journal article states whether they were supported by the study or not.
- Identify the main points and evidence
Tell readers what the main arguments or points made by the author in the article are. Are there conclusions or inferences made by the author? What information or evidence does the author provide to support the arguments, inferences or points? Is the provided evidence used to measure something? Is the provided evidence factual? Does the author of the article present factual data?
Tell your readers whether the author is reliable. State what the sources of evidence or information are. Are the sources of the provided evidence identified? For instance, can the eyewitness mentioned in the article be reached? Does the author give examples of specific publications, organizations, journals, books or web sites? Are the sources secondary or primary or are they from other sources like textbooks. Does the author site authorities? What are the credentials of the authorities and are they credible or not and why?
- How persuasive is the author?
Tell readers of your critical analysis whether the author presents evidence that is consistent with the presented argument? Does the author present a convincing argument? If yes, tell readers why and if not, explain why. Can the presented evidence in a scientific journal article be interpreted in another way? Do you have adequate evidence to support your judgment? What additional evidence do you consider necessary to judge the made claim’s validity?
- Global view
Tell your readers whether the author makes general assumptions in the article? If yes, state them. Does the author present a world view of the findings presented in the scientific article? Is there a different viewpoint or world view that should be considered on the basis of the presented findings?
Does the author use propaganda words in the article? Does the author use propaganda techniques in the article to make arguments?
- Your take
Do you disagree or agree with what the author says in the article and how they say it?
- Use a sample to write your critical analysis
To know how to write a critical analysis of an article with ease, review a sample critical analysis of an article. You can find a critical analysis of an article here.
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