Course Content
Chapter 3: Writing Mechanics Help
Chapter 12: Teaching Writing
Chapter 23: Teaching Reading
College English Composition: Help and Review
About Lesson

What is an Article Critique?

An article critique is an evaluation of an article or essay to determine its effectiveness in achieving its goal. The terms “article” and “essay” are sometimes used interchangeably. Articles generally comprise outside research, personal experiences, opinions, and humor, and can persuade, inform, entertain, or educate the reader. Critiques are different from summaries since summaries offer no critical analysis. Critiques are very similar to reviews: both critiques and reviews are essentially arguments regarding a subject’s effectiveness in fulfilling a stated purpose. A review, though, can also be primarily opinion-based. In an article critique, what is important is being able to back up claims regarding the subject by providing evidence from both the text and outside sources.

How To Write a Critique

Learning how to write a critique involves being familiar with the writing process and the parts of an article.

Identifying the Thesis Statement

The first step in writing an article critique is identifying the article’s thesis statement. A thesis statement is the most important part of an article. It explains the author’s main idea. Everything in the article should address the thesis statement. It is the guidepost by which the critique will determine if the article is fulfilling its purpose.

A thesis statement is usually in the beginning of the article. In shorter articles, it tends to be at the end of the introductory paragraph, though this is not always the case. In longer articles like journal articles, the thesis might be several paragraphs in. Thesis statements are generally only one sentence long. However, depending on the complexity of the point being made, a thesis might be several sentences long to cover the major points the article wishes to make. Most writers, however, prefer to make them one sentence in order to clearly state their purpose.

Analyzing Textual Support

Textual support is the evidence that supports the thesis. It is composed of the author’s personal knowledge and research and must address the thesis. A thesis is only solid and establishes credibility for the author if there is ample textual evidence. An article critique needs to determine if the evidence is not only factual but presented correctly. A proper article critique, then, needs to understand rhetorical devices.

Rhetorical devices are uses of language designed to create a reaction in the audience. Evidence can be presented using one of three tactics: logos, ethos, and pathos. Logos is an appeal to logic. Ethos is an appeal to authority. Pathos is an appeal to emotion. All three are generally used to make arguments. Evidence, for example, should generally be logical and come from a reliable source (logos and ethos), but evidence can be an appeal to emotion (pathos). Many arguments use all three in varying ratios.

For example, an argument about the quality of a restaurant might include a breakdown of the menu’s prices and how they are generally lower than other similar restaurants (logic). It might also mention that a well-regarded food critic wrote a glowing review of the restaurant (ethos). The article could also mention that the restaurant holds a special place in the community’s heart due to having been around for years and because so many residents go there for special occasions (pathos). By themselves, each of these pieces of textual support might not be enough to make a convincing argument, but together they appeal to all aspects of the reader’s mind and create a stronger argument.

Evaluating the Conclusion

Concluding statements are important to finishing an article. They generally echo the introduction and appear in the article’s past paragraph. They reinforce the thesis by placing the article’s key arguments in context with the main idea.

Conclusions are not just restatements of the introduction, though. An introduction does not present evidence, but by the time of the conclusion, an article has made its arguments and presented textual evidence to make its point. The conclusion, then, needs to reiterate any major points or information presented and connect them to the thesis both to reinforce it and provide a concise summary. A proper article critique needs to understand the thesis and the evidence to properly evaluate the conclusion and ensure the article finishes properly.

Article Critique Examples

The following is an outline of an article arguing why Star Trek is a great franchise. Each section is followed by an explanation and why it works or doesn’t work. The article critique example will also offer suggestions for strengthening the outlined article.


“Throughout its run, Star Trek has consistently been a great franchise due to its gripping stories, social commentary, and effect on popular culture.”

The thesis states the author’s opinion and even lists the major parts of the argument. This is a great way to structure a thesis into one sentence so the reader will know not just what the article is about and its purpose, but the reader also gets an overview of the major points that will be explained in more detail in subsequent paragraphs.

Textual Support

Support for this article is already stated in the thesis. Subsequent paragraphs should elaborate on the thesis and provide textual evidence from a variety of sources.

  • Star Trek has had some of the most gripping episodes of science fiction television of the last sixty years, including “City of the Edge of the Forever” and “In the Pale Moonlight.”” The first part of the argument is that the franchise has “gripping” episodes. Evidence to support this claim should include examples as outlined in this topic sentence, or the sentence that summarizes a paragraph. Providing actual examples with brief summaries of the listed episodes and an explanation of why these episodes were entertaining would reinforce the thesis.
  • “Over various shows, Star Trek has addressed social issues like authoritarianism and worker’s rights.” Like the first piece of textual support, this one also provides specific examples. The examples here don’t need full episode summaries, but they do need an overview of which social issues were discussed and how they were addressed.
  • “Overall, Star Trek has shaped pop culture and changed the way science fiction is viewed.” Explaining a show’s impact is a decent argument for why it’s good, but it does rely on mass appeal of a franchise to argue it is good. Taste can be subjective, especially for pop culture. A more effective piece of textual evidence might be to cite renowned critics or even actors or other filmmakers on why they specifically enjoy the show.


“In the end, Star Trek has remained a popular franchise for a variety of reasons. Its stories are built on character drama and remain relatable due to the franchise’s continuing commentary on the issues of the day. Both filmmakers and scientists have often praised the franchise for inspiring them to pursue their careers, a testament to the power of the future presented in its movies and television shows. With four new series currently airing, Star Trek is bringing in a new audience that will likely continue enjoying the franchise for years to come.”

This conclusion reiterates the thesis and goes into specifics regarding each of the reasons stated. Moreover, it ends with a concluding sentence that brings in some new information to round out the argument.

Lesson Summary

An article critique analyzes an article or essay to determine its effectiveness in achieving its goal. The terms “article” and “essay” are often used to mean the same thing. An article can persuade, inform, entertain, educate or a mixture of these, and all articles need a thesis, support, and conclusion. The first step is to identify the thesis statement, the main idea of the article. This thesis needs strong textual evidence and is usually found in the beginning of the article, though not necessarily in the first paragraph.

Textual support, an author’s use of both personal knowledge and research, should address the thesis. Articles can include outside research, personal experiences, opinions, and humor in order to make their point. It’s important to have solid textual support in order to establish the author’s credibility. The concluding statement, usually in the article’s final paragraph, should echo the introduction and reinforce the thesis.

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