Critically read academic and professional articles (Links Below)  (Peer-reviewed article) (popular source article)

Summarize main points of an article

Analyze the effectiveness of a of arguments written by scholars and professional writers

Write a critical response of two professional articles

Steps to Complete the Task

You will be writing a 3–5-page critical response to two articles you’ve located that are relevant to your research question. These will be articles you are including in your Annotated Bibliography assignment. As you identify solid evidence from outside sources as supporting evidence in your research paper, reading critically and evaluating the effectiveness of arguments by other writers is an essential step.

You were probably exposed to critical response in Composition I when you were asked to identify, summarize, and evaluate the ideas and information an author has presented in an article, video, website, etc. In other words, in a critical response, you will be examining another person’s thoughts on a topic from your point of view.

Your response must go beyond your “gut reaction” to the work and be based on your knowledge (readings, lecture, experience) of the topic (in this case, the topic of effective academic writing). [1] If it helps, pretend that you are the instructor, and your job is to evaluate these papers. What would you say? What did they do well and what could they improve?

The paper should summarize the arguments and then comment on how each author presented it to you. Remember that your goal should be to make a few key points about the paper, not to discuss everything the author writes.

Step 1: Select Two (2) Articles You Plan to Use in Your Research Paper

You’ve been hunting for articles relevant to your research paper to build your annotated bibliography as part of the research stage of the writing process.

Select two of the articles you’ve found so far.

One article from an academic source

One article from a popular source

Critically read each article. As you read, consider (and take notes…) the following for each:

What is the main point of the reading?

What are the points of evidence used to support the main point?

How effectively is the evidence presented?

Does the evidence flow logically and smoothly from one point to another?

Does the organization of the points in the essay make sense?

Is there any bias or missing information in the essay?

Is the tone the author used appropriate for the topic and the audience?

Step 2: Plan Your Essay

Your essay should have four parts (this does not mean four paragraphs).


Explain why you are writing the paper. What is the purpose of the essay? Other than the obvious, “it is the assignment,” why are you writing the essay? (Hint: the purpose of the essay is often found in the essay directions.)

Thesis (included in the introduction) – sum up the primary point of the paper in a single sentence.

Response to Article from an Academic Source (about a page and a half – multiple paragraphs as needed)

Introduce the writing by identifying the author’s name (when available) and the title of the writing. (Remember that the titles of articles are enclosed in quotation marks.)

Identify the primary point of the writing.

Summarize the main points of evidence supporting the primary point.

Include the arguments presented.

Include any findings in the writing.

Analyze and critique the writing.

Discuss strengths and weaknesses.

State your informed opinions about the clarity, relevancy, and accuracy of the writing, using specific examples from the writing to support your statements.[2]

Response to Article from a Popular Source (about a page and a half – multiple paragraphs as needed)

Same format as your response to the first article.


Restate your thesis.

Remind readers of the points discussed.

Avoid quotations or additional arguments.

Offer a final thought that encourages your readers to continue to think about your response to the readings.

Remember, you are not agreeing with or disagreeing with the author’s argument, you are responding to how effectively the author made the argument.

Step 3: Write Your Essay

You are writing a 2-3 page critical response to two student research papers.

Make sure your thesis is clear.

Include specific examples as evidence to support your response to each paper.

Use quotes from the articles as needed to make your analysis but be careful not to quote too much. This is YOUR response to how effectively the author made their argument.

While this is your response to the papers, your focus is on the effectiveness of the author; therefore, the bulk of your writing should be in third person.

Include a Works Cited list at the end of the essay.

 MLA Citations Guide (PDF) MLA Citations Guide (PDF) – Alternative Formats

 Color-Coded MLA Works Cited Page (PDF) Color-Coded MLA Works Cited Page (PDF) – Alternative Formats

Develop your thoughts carefully and remember to ask for help if you need it.

Essay Formatting

Your essay should use MLA-style formatting. In general, this includes:

1-inch margins on all sides

Double-spaced text

Use a legible font (e.g. Times New Roman), size 12 font

Indent the first line of each paragraph using the TAB key on the keyboard

Include a heading on the first page of the document (Name, Date, Class, Instructor)

Include a title after the heading on the first page. Remember, all important words of a title are capitalizedCritically read academic and professional articles

Summarize main points of an article

Analyze the effectiveness of a of arguments written by scholars and professional writers

mber, all important words of a title are capitalized

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