Writing an Article Review That’s Not All About You Uncategorized / Writing & Grammar

Hello everyone:

I recently assigned article reviews to one of my graduate classes. One of the students wrote one short paragraph about an unnamed article by an unnamed author and then q=wrote the rest of his essay about himself. By the time he was done, I knew quite a about him and almost nothing about the article. Here are the instructions I now give on how to write a review that’s not all about you:

Let me give you some tips on how to get the job done successfully when you are writing an article review. 

First, you must use APA formatting, which means you have a reference page, not a works cited page.  Your document should include a cover page that lists your name, the assignment, the name of our class, and the date. (A quick business tip: Always date your document. It is legal evidence in a court of law, so put a date on it.)

Your document must include an abstract, which is a summary (about 250 words in length) that explains what YOUR paper is about. It included key words underneath the abstract (3-5 words max). Do not copy and paste the abstract from your article. 

Next, mention the name of the article in your introduction, which is your first paragraph. Other information in the introduction states that you will discuss the article’s content and evaluate it.  If the name of the article is “The Focus of Nonverbal Communication in Colleges and Universities,” then take note of how I capitalized the name of the article in this sentence. If you put the name of the article italics and don’t capitalize the words, it is wrong. 

The body of your paper needs to be strong, and must contain more than one huge paragraph. I like five-sentence paragraphs, but am not fond of paragraphs that take up most of the page. I have seen students write one-paragraph essays. That is not good. There is usually some good place to break your paragraph up, so do it. 

The next step is to write a conclusion to your paper. Please keep in mind that I like five-sentence paragraphs (Yes, I am being redundant here). A shorter paragraph does not have any “punch.” Therefore, your conclusion should be at least five sentences.   A short conclusion is like a stool with only two legs. You haven’t given yourself much to stand on (or sit on, in this case).

Your References page must be in current APA format. I am grading based on the 6th edition, so make sure you follow that formatting. There was a change between the 5th and 6th editions, mostly with regard to where the period was placed. Here is an example of how to write an APA formatted in-text citation using the 6th edition of the style manual:

Here is the sentence “with the direct quote” (Smith, 2019, p. 123). 

Here is a sentence with a paraphrase (Smith, 2019). 

You might also be using the author’s name in the sentence, so this is what that would look like:

Smith (2019) states that “here is the direct quote” (p. 123).  Note that, if the author’s name is in the sentence, it must be followed by the year of publication the first time you use it in the paragraph. Furthermore, if the name is in the sentence, it does not need to be in the in-text citation. The year of publication is already in the sentence in this instance so it doesn’t need to be in the in-text citation.

Just citing the year of publication is not considered a correct in-text citation, even if you only have one article in your reference section that was published that year.

If you have two authors, the in-text citation looks like (Smith & Jones, 2019, p. 123). 

If you are writing about them in the sentence, it looks like this: 

Smith and Jones (2019) argue “here is the direct quote” (p. 123). 

If you have three or more authors, please use all of their names the first time you mention them and then use the following citation afterwards:

Smith et al. (2019) maintain that “here is the quote” (p. 123).  Note the period locations in the sentence. 

Pay attention here. I have given you fair warning, so I will grade you down if you goof this up!


Dr. Sheri

P.S. Yes, I am the in-text citation police!


Sheri Dean Parmelee has a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from Regent University. She writes books on practical tips for people who become unexpectedly unmarried and is working on her second novel in a series of contemporary romance/suspense novels. She teaches at three colleges, working with students from freshmen to graduate students. Her hobbies include running 8 miles a day and reading biographies and fiction.

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