Writing Project #1: The Review
Draft Due: September 29 (11:59 pm)
Requirements APA format,12pt. Times New Roman font, 1500 words min*
* Papers that fail to meet any one of these requirements will be returned to the student ungraded
Total Points: 200 (20%)
Source Requirement: One article to be reviewed and three credible sources, i.e. no wiki articles, no blogs, and no suspicious websites.
Recommendation: Find additional sources about the author of the popular source if the author’s credibility is an issue, and learn a little bit more about where the popular article has been published to help you in your critique.
Definition: For this paper, you are asked to compose an article review, sometimes called a critical responseor article critique, though the latter is usually for scholarly journal articles only.
Like the book review from which it receives its name, the article review is designed to analyze and evaluate the overall quality of the article. Unlike the book review, the article review is less concerned with the presentation of the text (the look of the book) and more concerned with the core argument.
The article review is a student-version of the methodological article described in the manual (see Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 2011, pp. 10-11).
- Choose a “popular” article on a topic of your own choosing. The “popular” article should be one written for a general audience, and it should be located online or a traditional print medium (newspaper, magazine, etc.).
- Summarize the article you have chosen. Eventually, you will organize your paper into two basic sections the summary of your chose article and the analysis that you will perform. Before you begin finding credible articles to help you in your critique, make certain that you know the popular article well. As an author, you are not just arguing, you are teaching your audience about the “good” and “bad” points of the popular article.
- Locate “credible” sources to assist in the critique. Your choice of a popular article will, of course, be dependent on how many credible sources are available on this topic. For example, some students choose imaginative topics, like ghost hunting, and then they are disappointed when there are few, or no, credible sources on the topic.
- Take notes for your review. An article review, as mentioned above, evaluates the overall quality of the research methodology as well as the conclusions of the author. Even so, use our notes to pay attention to what evidence is included and what is apparently excluded.
- Develop your argument for the review. An article review has one goal, to evaluate how effectively the article has met its goal or purpose. For nearly all published articles, you will only encounter one of two purposes (also, “modes” of writing):
- Expository: a popular article that attempts to inform the audience about the latest trends, innovations, or changes in politics, society, or culture. These articles will engage in general description and explanation of a topic: what it is, how it works, etc.
- Argumentative: a popular article that attempts to persuade the audience about the validity of a public policy, ideology (belief system), or decision. The author writes to make an original point about the topic, often with the goal of changing the reader’s mind.
Thus, you will use the credible sources to evaluate the accuracy or quality of the information, the reasonableness of the argument, or the logic of the author’s conclusion. Your goal isn’t just to fact check the article. You will compose your own analytic essay that will evaluate the quality of this popular article.
General Advice: Editorials are opinion pieces that used to appear in the inside pages of a newspaper (and they still do), but now are more widely available as “blogs” online. Editorials and political speeches are very easy targets since the authors intend to make a contentious point in order to gain a larger audience.
Like generic topics like abortion, the death penalty, and gun control, I refer to these topic choices as “low hanging fruit.” As a student writer, these topics “seem” easy since you may have written on them before or you wrongly assume there will be lots of sources, easily found, on the topic. But professors loathe these topics since they show little initiative on the part of the student.
Worse, students often cannot separate their emotions from their analysis of the articles. This paper is not an invitation to attack an author/politician/topic you dislike, nor should you engage in sermonizing in an attempt to persuade your audience. What your reader wants to know is whether or not the popular article is a worthwhile source of information.
You are NOT trying to persuade your audience to change his or her opinion on the topic. You are only evaluating the quality of the popular source—that is the topic of your paper.
Sample Outline: A rough suggestion only…
Introduction: One paragraph, usually
- Exigence: Why is this a topic of recent interest for both the author and the audience?
- Problem: What appears to be the purpose of the article?
- Thesis: How effectively does the article meet its purpose?
Body: Multiple paragraphs, separated loosely between summary and analysis
Body Paragraph #1: Body Paragraph #4:
Body Paragraph #2: Body Paragraph #5:
Body Paragraph #3: Body Paragraph #6:
Conclusion: One paragraph, usually
- What has the audience learned in your analysis of this article?
- Why does this knowledge matter to the audience?
- What do you expect the audience to do with this knowledge (in the future)?