Article Review Structure and Format Guidelines

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Article Review - Structure and Format Guidelines

(As adapted from NJIT College of Computer Science)


  1. Include each category in a separate section or subsection. Ensure that you discuss each category! (If a category does not apply, then actually write in that (sub) section that the category does not apply.)

  2. Reference other articles you've read, if appropriate. Just as in the articles you've read, include a reference marker where you refer to each in your review, and provide full bibliographic references in a bibliography section at the end of your report.

  3. Your final report should be 2 full pages or more (Times New Roman 10pt single spaced). This does not include your bibliography, citation analysis, diagrams or large gaps between parts of your report. There is no maximum length.

  4. Proof-read your review for grammar and clarity as well as spelling. Spell checkers do not fix grammar. You should be sure that you have caught all mistakes and written clearly. Most word processors have a grammar checker - use it!

  5. For the printed copy of your review, turn in just a plain stapled black & white copy of your review. Do not put your review in a folder. Avoid fancy covers, colors or fonts.

  6. Please be aware of TJHSST’s policy on plagiarism.

Preparing for Your Review

The purpose of research articles is to present new or refine conceptual ideas, or to present new evidence for conceptual ideas. A research article review results from critically examining a research article. You will have to read your article several times to understand it fully enough to review properly.

Often, comparing your article to others will help you determine its quality.

Also, think about the article and its research ideas in terms of each of the different week's concepts and frameworks we study in class. Do the ideas in the article fit all the categories of appropriate class concepts, models and frameworks? This often will help you see things the authors missed, think about things the authors write in a new light, or see that the authors indeed covered a topic thoroughly.

1. Full Bibliographic Reference

State the full bibliographic reference for the article you are reviewing (authors, title, journal name, volume, issue, year, page numbers, etc.) Important: this is not the bibliography listed at the end of the article, rather the citation of the article itself!

2. Introduction: Objectives, Article Domain, Audience, Journal and Conceptual/Emprical Classification

Paragraph 1: State the objectives (goals or purpose) of the article. What is the article's domain (topic area)?

Paragraph 2:

  • Audience: State the article's intended audience. At what level is it written, and what general background should the reader have; what general background materials should the reader be familiar with to understand the article?

  • Appropriate Journal?: Why is the journal appropriate (or inappropriate) for this article? (Check the mission statement or purpose of the journal itself from its cover or its Web site.)

Paragraph 3: State whether the article is "conceptual" or "empirical", and why you believe it is conceptual or empirical. Empirical articles and conceptual articles have a similar objective: to substantiate an argument proposed by the author. While a conceptual article supports such an argument based on logical and persuasive reasoning, an empirical article offers empirical evidence to support the argument. Empirical articles offer substantial, detailed evidence which the authors analyze using statistical methods. Empirical articles must include hypotheses (or propositions), detailed research results, and (statistical) analyses of this empirical evidence. Empirical research includes experiments, surveys, questionnaires, field studies, etc, and to limited degree, case studies. Conceptual articles may refer to such empirical evidence, but do not provide the detailed analysis of that evidence. Of course, both types of articles can use real life examples to back up their points. Just because an article provides examples, does not necessarily mean that it is empirical. (The lesson to take home is not to consider a conceptual article to be an empirical one just because it provides some summarized or some unanalyzed data.)

3. Very Brief Summary

For our article reviews, we do not want you to spend much space summarizing the article. Instead we are more interested in your analysis of the article.

Thus, in this section, summarize the article only very briefly (2-3 paragraphs).

  • Paragraph 1: what is the problem or opportunity being addressed

  • Paragraph 2: which solution is proposed (the solution could be a new model or a theory that explains the problem)

  • Paragraph 3: what evidence is put forth that this solution is appropriate (If this is an empirical article, be sure to briefly describe what kind of empirical study was done as part of the evidence)

4. Results

Very briefly summarize the important points (observations, conclusions, findings) and "take home messages" in the article.

Please do not repeat lists of items in the articles - just summarize the essence of these if you feel they are necessary to include.

5. Contributions

An article makes a "contribution" by adding to the knowledge of researchers in a research field. An article can make a contribution to the research field in many ways. Does it provide a new way to look at a problem? Does it bring together or "synthesize" several concepts (or frameworks, models, etc.) together in an insightful way that has not been done before? Does it provide new solutions? Does it provide new results? Does it identify new issues? Does it provide a comprehensive survey or review of a domain? Does it provide new insights?

Also, is it salient (relevant and current) to a particular scientific issue or managerial problem? Are the issues addressed introduced in a way that their relevance to practice is evident? Would answers to the questions raised in the article likely to be useful to researchers and managers?

Note: Do not discuss the contributions of the technologies the article describes, but rather the contributions of the article itself!

The article's contributions should be original. To the best of your knowledge, are they? Are the article's take-home messages new?

Describe each contribution clearly in a separate paragraph or bullet point. Discuss why the contribution is important.

Alternatively, if you believe the article makes no contributions, explain why clearly.

6. Foundation

Good research often is built upon theories and frameworks that other researchers have developed. Sometimes articles will be substantially based upon this prior work, and refer back to it in some detail. (Not all research articles will do this.)

Which theoretical foundations does this article and research build on, if any? In what ways? Include references/citations of the foundation work. (You can determine this in part from the works the article cites.)

Note, however, that most works cited are not core foundational work, but rather just support certain aspects of the article. Similarly, do not confuse a general discussion of related topics as foundational work.

If the article does not build upon key pieces of prior research, then write in your review "This article does not build upon any foundation research." (If you do not state this explicitly, you will not receive credit for this section.)

7. General Critique

In this section you should state your opinions of how well (or poorly) the authors did their research and presented the research results in the article. Your critique can contain both positive and negative comments.

Justify and explain in detail each of your critique points in a separate paragraph of at least 4-5 sentences.

The following are suggestions only:

  • Does it build upon the appropriate foundation (i.e., upon appropriate prior research)?

  • Did the authors choose the correct approach, and then execute it properly?

  • How confident are you in the article's results, and why?

  • Are its ideas really new, or do the authors simply repackage old ideas and perhaps give them a new name?

  • Do the authors discuss everything they promise in the article's introduction and outline?

  • What are the article's shortcomings (faults) and limitations (boundaries)? Did it discuss all of the important aspects and issues in its domain (topic area)?

  • In what way should the article have made a contribution, but then did not?

  • Do the authors make appropriate comparisons to similar events, cases or occurrences?

  • How complete and thorough a job did the authors do? Do the authors include an adequate discussion, analysis and conclusions? Did they justify everything adequately? Did they provide enough background information for the intended audience to understand it? For you to understand it?

  • Were there adequate and appropriate examples and illustrations?

8. Issues (listed by the author)

What open questions or issues has the author stated remain unresolved? Discuss each in a separate paragraph of 5-10 sentences. Each issue's paragraph should take the following format:

  • what is the issue?

  • why do you believe this is an important issue?

  • in what way is it unresolved

  • suggestions for resolving it - if you give your own suggestions (instead of or in addition to the authors', then precede each with "I would propose ..." If it has been resolved since the article was written, then state how it was resolved.

Note: If you have any critiques in this section, they most likely belong in the General Critique section instead.

9. Issues (in your opinion)

List several open questions or issues which remain unresolved in your opinion? For example, what possible future research questions could arise from this article? Discuss each in a separate paragraph of 5-10 sentences. Each issue's paragraph should take the following format:

  • what is the issue?

  • why do you believe this is an important issue?

  • in what way is it unresolved

  • suggestions for resolving it

Note: If you have any critiques in this section, they most likely belong in the General Critique section instead.

10. Questions

List three insightful questions of your own, arising from this article. Do not ask definitions, but rather questions that really make one think.

11. Annotated Bibliography

For every item you have cited in your report, you need a full reference and an annotation explaining it. This includes references to any class materials, as well as the three additional citations utilized in sections 6-14.

  1. List the full bibliographic references (authors, title, journal name, volume, issue, year, page numbers, etc.) for anything you have cited in your review.
    IMPORTANT: This is NOT the bibliography listed at the end of the article. It is the bibliographic references for any readings you yourself referred to inside your review.

  2. Write 2-4 sentences describing the article.

  3. Write 2-3 sentences describing why you cited it.

Also, be sure that you have included a bibliographic marker to each (such as [Bieber & Smith, 2001]) in the text of your review.

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