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.

Write a Critical Review of a Scientific Journal Article

Approach 1: Situate your review in context

If your instructor is concerned that the article be clearly situated within the social and intellectual research context, then you might present it in the following way:

Introduction

In the introduction, cite the journal article in full and then provide the background to this piece of research, establishing its place within the field. Use the answers to the questions in the “Establish the research context” section to develop this section.

Body

Follow the structure of the journal article. Evaluate each section of the article — Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion — highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of each section. Use the answers to the questions in the section entitled “Evaluate the research” to develop this section.

Conclusion

In this section, sum up the strengths and weaknesses of the research as a whole. Establish its practical and theoretical significance. Use the answers to questions from the above section entitled “Establish the significance of the research” to develop this section.

Approach 2: Organize your critique according to the structure of the article

Another common way to structure a journal article critique is the following:

Introduction

In the introduction, cite the journal article in full and provide a summary of the journal article. Use the answers to the questions in the section entitled “Identify how and why the research was carried out” to develop the summary.

Body

Follow the structure of the journal article. Evaluate each section of the article – Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion – highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of each section. Use the answers to the questions in the section entitled “Evaluate the research” to develop the summary.

Conclusion

In this section, sum up the strengths and weaknesses of the research as a whole. Establish its practical and theoretical significance. Use the answers to questions in the section entitled “Establish the significance of the research” to develop this section.

References

Kuyper, B.J. (1991). Bringing up scientists in the art of critiquing research. Bioscience 41(4), 248-250.
Wood, J.M. (2003). Research Lab Guide. MICR*3260 Microbial Adaptation and Development Web Site. Retrieved July 31, 2006, from 
http://www.uoguelph.ca/mcb/teaching/micr3260/research_lab/guide.shtml

Suggest an edit to this guide

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.