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How to Critique a Journal Article

  1. Avoid "style" based critiques. "Style" based critiques are such comments as "the article was well written," or "the author used too much jargon." While these things may be true, these critiques do not add much in the way of a substantive response.
  2. Address Potential Additions and/or Concerns. Instead of "style" based critiques, focus your critiques on the ways the author does (or does not) support his/her argument or on alternative explanations and/or counter-evidence from other course materials
  3. Consider the following questions
    1. Do you agree or disagree with the author's argument? Be able to support your opinion.
    2. Is the author's argument sociological? Why or why not?
    3. Is there anything about the author's logic that makes their argument questionable? Is there anything about the author's methods that makes their argument questionable?
    4. Does the author base their arguments on facts or generalizations? If the author makes generalizations, do you feel these generalizations are justified? What groups or individuals might this argument not apply to based on these generalizations?
    5. Does the author present counterevidence? How does the author's treatment of counterevidence aid or limit their effectiveness?
    6. Does the author overstate their argument? Does the author stay within the scope of the paper? Do they avoid grandiose claims?
    7. What questions are left unanswered? Do the unanswered questions limit the impact of the author's argument?
    8. How did this article impact your understanding of sociology?