article analysis sheet

By Ruby Sims,2014-05-27 11:31
8 views 0
article analysis sheet

4. Analyzing an Academic Article

    Readers Notes

    This aims to show you how to read and understand scholarly articles, a skill that is virtually guaranteed to help you keep up with assigned readings. Appreciating how academics write and why they write as they do may even improve your own papers.

    Article Information

    This is preliminary information. Fill this table in before you start reading. Just look at the title and the "meta-information," the authors' names, the source of the paper, number of pages, number of foot- or endnotes, etc.

    Write the title of the article here. Titles will tell you a lot

    about the content of the article: the geographical focus,

    period, subject, and, sometimes, something about the author’s

    approach or interpretation (which may be indicated by a play Title

    on words or a question mark). You can also use this space to

    comment on what the title leads you to expect from the


    Note the authors of the paper. If you know who he or she is, Author(s) then make a note of that, too. What is the author's discipline?

    Where was this article published? Note the original source of

    the article. The publication it appeared in can lend or deny the Source

    material credibility.

Analysis Information

    Examine the article as a whole. Try to determine something about the purpose, audience, and content of the paper before you start reading. Look for clues in

    the title and/or subtitle, the acknowledgements (if any), the first foot/end note, and the author's biographical note (sometimes with the article, sometimes compiled separately).(the same as the second entry in the previous part)

    Why do you think the author wrote this paper? Does it seem

    to be refuting someone else's interpretation of some event or

    phenomenon? Is it offering new information? You'll usually

    find clues to the answer to these questions in the first few Purpose

    paragraphs(showing the gap). That's where authors usually try

    to show why their paper is useful and worth

    reading.(significance and implications)


    Who is this paper written for? Experts? The general public?

    Knowing who the authors are addressing can help you decide

    how to approach the article. If the authors are addressing an

    expert audience, then the style will likely be more academic. Audience

    There may be fewer explanations or somewhat less

    background information. If the audience is a broader one, then

    there may be more detail but less detailed explanations.

    What does it seem the article is about? (related background

    information) Look at the first couple of paragraphs; they

    should give you some hints. Again, refer to the title(method, Subject focus, research subject). Some disciplines include an abstract

    that precedes the text. This will give you an uncritical

    summary of the paper's subject/content.

    Where is the author getting her or his basic

    information?(literature review) Is it mostly from other books

    or articles? Is it based on interview, archival or survey data? Sources Knowing where the author got the information will tell you

    whether the author is looking at something new, taking a new

    look at something old, or talking about something new.

Primary Details

    Start reading. If the article has a labeled introduction, you should find the author's statement of purpose, or thesis statement, before the end of that section(the aim of the research). You should also be able to tell what evidence the author is going to use to support the position she or he has taken(results

    got from the research experiment that was designed for the particular research).

    The author may also explain the limits on the article, the length of time, the geographic location, the extent of the information that's going to be used, the theories that are going to be applied. (in material and method section)You

    should also be able to tell what the author's point of view is. (support or

    oppose )

    Write out the thesis statement as you find it in the article. It is

    sometimes only one sentence; sometimes two or three.

    Sometimes the sentences are separated from each other. An

    author might be obvious about it: "This paper will argue. . ." Thesis

    (the sentence of this kind is usually in the discussion section)

    or subtle, giving only a statement of his or her interpretation

    followed by some indication of the evidence that will support


    that position.

    Note here what evidence the author claims will be used to

    support her/his argument. This question may well have been

    answered in the first step, by checking the notes. Use this stop Evidence to expand your grasp of the evidence. (evidence or

    interpretation of the evidence; usually in result section and in

    discussion section)

    Writers of articles rarely tackle big topics. There isn't enough

    room to write a history of the world or discuss big issues.

    Articles generally focus on a particular event, change, person,

    phenomenon, or idea. It may be further limited by a narrow Limits

    geographic focus, a limited period, or being restricted to a

    particular group of people. Note what limits the author places

    on the article. (in discussion section)

    This is sometimes easy to detect; sometimes you have to feel

    it out by looking at what things are described positively and Point of

    what are described negatively. Note what you learn about the View

    author's point of view. (in literature review and in discussion.)

Presentation and Argumentation

    Keep reading but watch what the author is doing. This step requires that you read the article to gain an understanding of how the author presents the evidence and makes it fit into the argument(moving from the results section to

    the discussion section). At this stage of the exercise, you should also take the time to look up any unfamiliar words or concepts. Also, watch how the author switches from first explaining how the evidence supports the argument and then to the summary(also to be written about in the conclusion section as research findings.). The last few paragraphs of the article should tidy up the discussion, show how it all fits together neatly, where more research is needed, or how this article has advanced knowledge, that is, the implications of the


    Use this space to note the words or concepts you had to

    look up. Did the author coin his/her own terms, or use Concepts/Words

    common terms in unusual ways?

    How well did the author rely on his/her evidence? Was

    everything mentioned at the outset referred to in the

    article?(in literature review) Was quoted material used to Use of Evidence

    illustrate or substantiate or verify points? You may not

    have much to say for this section, or you might notice that


    materials listed in the bibliography or reference were not

    used in the paper. (this is usually not appreciated and

    looked at as unqualified writing style. )

    You can either write out the author's conclusions (though

    they're often a paragraph or so long), or you can

    summarize where the author went with the paper. You

    may refer to the thesis statement to help you phrase your Conclusion summary. (by referring to the conclusion section or the

    end of the discussion section, if there is no particular

    section written for conclusion section. That is, there is a

    combination section of discussion and conclusion section)

    This is where you might note what the points the author

    has made might mean in a larger context(may be applied

    or be extended to more broader scope). What might

    government officials make of this paper? Who might find

    it useful? Would anyone change the way they work, or

    approach an issue if they read this article? What Implications difference has it made for you? You might also consider

    why your instructor has asked you to read this article.

    What new course-related information did it contain? Was

    the article assigned because it illustrated ideas or concepts

    covered in the course? Perhaps the author advanced

    thinking in the discipline. What do you think?


    Now that you've finished reading, consider your personal reaction to it: not only "did I like it?," "it was hard to read," or "it was boring/interesting." This, along with the work in the other steps, is the basis for a critical evaluation of

    the article. Even if you don't know anything about the topic, you can make some judgments about the article and how well the author made her or his case. Evaluation is a bit harder. "Evaluating" means comparing one thing to some kind of standard, that is, other articles in the same discipline or journal as the one you've read. If you are not familiar with those other articles, it can be hard to evaluate well. However, you can do a fairly good job of it by considering the conventions of other, similar articles. Does this one fit the pattern? Does it have quality, that is, does it make up to the academic standards of writing, presentation, organization, source citation, and such?

    This is where you note your personal reaction to the Personal

    paper. Your comments might be one or two words, or Reaction


    might be longer. Remember, too, that these notes will allow you to quickly review the article later on. You might do well to write your future self fairly detailed notes.

    Did the author persuade you that the point/argument she/he was making was true, or at least convincing? Did Strength of you feel, at any time, that the author was just hoping you'd Case agree? Use this space to note how convincing you thought the article was.

    Use this space to note how good this article was compared to other articles, either in the discipline/area, or in the Evaluation same journal. It is helpful to write page numbers of

    relevant passages in the article.

    Use this space to record your sense of the quality of the paper. In most published articles, the quality will be quite

    high. Many people contribute to helping an author revise and refine a paper and what you see published is rarely Quality

    what the author originally wrote. There may be some technical problems, like spelling mistakes or formatting problems that you might note.

    Use this space and the ones below to record anything else you might need to know about the article either to write a summary or a review or to remember about it so you can Other

    read the summary sheet instead of reading the article again before tests or exams or for referring to it in a paper.

     Prepared by Amanda Graham


Report this document

For any questions or suggestions please email