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 Scientific Writing Critique

Parlindungan Pardede

Universitas Kristen Indonesia

Scientific writing critique is a specialized form of writing (usually in an essay form) in which the reviewer assesses the structure and contents (main ideas, claims, positions, or findings, reasoning which supports these ideas and contribution to knowledge in the discipline in which it is published) of a scientific article. Different from a summary, which is written to merely answer the question ‘What did the author say?’, a critique answers  questions of how? why? and how well? In other words, a critique is written to analyze and evaluate the criticized work by providing an analysis of its main points and structural elements and giving additional insight into its strengths and weaknesses.

For university students, writing a scientific article critique is a very effective way to demonstrate their skills in organizing a scientific manuscript and knowledge of a scholarly topic; to deal with ideas, theories, research and information in their disciplines or programs; to rethink and extend ideas in their field of study; and to show how their analytical response to an article is worthy of consideration. The ability to reviewing scientific articles will hopefully enable students—as novice scholars—to do produce good academic articles.

To help you organize a scientific article critique, follow this structure. But keep in mind this structure is a generic model. The structure in different institutions may vary.

  1. Read the article more than once to get an idea what is written. Make sure you understand what the writer wants you to understand
  2. Introduce the name of the article and name of the author(s).
  3. Summarize the article/book’s main claim, goals, methods, and findings.
  4. After summarizing the article, start to evaluate and assess the weaknesses and strong points of the writer of the article. Start doing this by indicating the main position or claim that your review will make in response to the article. You possibly would like to evaluate some of the followings: whether it is organized in a proper structure or not; the background literature review is relevant or not; the research method is proper or not; the theories, methods and data analyses consistent are consistent or not; the article supports its claims or not; and so on.
  5. End your article critique with a conclusion. This section should present the extracted result you have achieved after reading the article again and again. It should also contain the summarized assessment of the article have been working on.
Some relevant links:
Suggested sources of ELT articles to criticize:
Online ELT Journals