Criticism is one of the elements of human life that never goes away. Whether you are a movie critic, a critic of life in general or someone who simply criticises others all day long, we cannot get away from it. That is never truer than in academia where essays, books, monographs, lecturers and almost all elements of university or student life are constantly criticised by all those involved. This is particularly the case for research article. Research articles are typically pieces of work which research a particular field of study – for example, Medieval frescos and whether they accurately depict scenes from the Bible- which are then written about in an analytical way. Criticism of research articles is often a means of debating a particular point in an article or attempting to present an alternative interpretation of the conclusions come to by the original author. When done well, a critique of a research article can be not only entertaining but also useful in furthering scholarly debate and allowing an advance of the field of research in question. If it is not done as well then, the piece can simply create more confusion around the topic and not help with the development of debate surrounding it.
Therefore, it is vital to understand the best way to write a research article critique. This article will break down the key elements of a critique and allow you to fully understand how to write one that will not only be engaging and interesting but also allow you to fully express yourself in an academically appropriate way that will convince the reader that your criticisms of the research article you are responding to are sound academically.
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It is vitally important when writing your critique to think carefully about how to introduce it. The introduction will allow you to express your main argument in relation to the piece you are criticising as well as demonstrate that your response is based on sound criticism rather than a dislike of the author or of the piece in general. It is also important to remember when writing your introduction to ensure that you include clear and unequivocal references to the article that you are criticising. This does not mean that you need to copy and paste large chunks of the text of the article you are critiquing into your own piece, it simply means that you need to include references as quotations to the piece you are critiquing from the very beginning. Remember, it could be the case that some people who are reading your critique have not read the original work and as such could be confused if you assume that they have and make no direct reference to it or use any quotations from it. For example, you could write an introduction like this;
“This article is in response to Joe Blogg’s essay on the Italian Renaissance. Mr Blogg’s piece asserts that, rather than being a revival of classical artwork, the Italian Renaissance was an attempt to move away from traditional Christian inspired artwork and to move it onto “more radically defined art, that whilst being inspired by Christianity, to a large extent rejected it in favour of utilising the human imagination.” Whilst Mr Blogg makes a fine point in his piece, it is easy to dispute as we can simply look at the work of Michelangelo and his representations of events from the Bible.”
The extract that is demonstrated above is, of course, only one method of introducing the subject in hand and explaining your argument in relation to that of the person you are critiquing. What should be clear from the sample above and from this article is that the introduction has to be professional – if the author is a doctor, for instance, then it would be appropriate to refer to them as “Doctor Bloggs” or such like. This demonstrates that you are taking the subject seriously. It is also important to note that you must, from the introduction to the conclusion, use quotations from the other person’s text. The quotations should not be shoved in clumsily however but embroidered and imbedded into the text in such a way as that they are not too noticeable.
The next important thing that you must think about when writing a critique is to focus on how to structure it. Structure is important because if your structure is in someway flawed then it could badly affect the rest of your piece and make it look worse as a result. This is something that should be avoided to ensure that your piece doesn’t at any point look bad or unprofessional.
It is important to note when planning your piece that you may want to change elements of the structure set out in this article. You shouldn’t worry about this as some articles may require a different approach to others and you may want to put more emphasise on a particular point or section. For example, some critiques may want to use a series of shorter arguments to criticise the other person’s work rather than having a main disagreement with the other person’s article. It must be mentioned, however, that this technique is seen as not as academic and if you want to make your article seem as academic as possible then this may not be the best technique to use.
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