Home > Knowledge Mobilization, Research > How to write a critical review of an academic journal article

How to write a critical review of an academic journal article

Your professor has asked you to write a critical review of a paper. Where do you start?

The questions below are a great kick-off point. Read them, then read your article. While reading your article, make notes and brainstorm answers to the questions. You might find it helpful to skim the article once, and then go back and look at the areas of interest in more detail.

A typical review should be 2 – 3 pages long (or whatever your professor specifies) and should address (at least) the following issues:

• What question is the author(s) trying to address and why is this interesting? What

contribution does this article make to the understanding of the issue?

• How do the authors answer or analyze the question? That is do the authors use a

theoretical model, econometric analysis, etc? What are the main (crucial) assumptions

the authors make? How sensitive are the results/conclusions to these assumptions?

• What are the weaknesses in the article? Imagine that you were assigned to defend a

policy that was brought into question by the findings contained in the article. How

would you do so?

• You may find it useful to do some research, i.e. look up one or two relevant articles.

These questions were given to me as part of an assignment in a course in Canadian Microeconomic Policy. In the name of knowledge mobilization I am sharing them with you! I hope you found it helpful.

  1. January 25, 2011 at 7:44 am

    Posted with permission from the prof!

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