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Reviewing an Article: Learn to Be Critical


Being critical does not mean that you are being negative. It means you are analyzing a particular piece of writing and searching for certain components. You are a word detective. What you are searching for depends much on the type of article you are reading and what field of study or category the article relates to.

  • Literature
  • An article from literature that is reviewed may concentrate on theme from a story or symbols in the story. A critical reader will take the information concerning the focus and apply it to other pieces of literature. So if any article were discussing the color green in literature and how the color green symbolizes rebirth, then the critical reader would look for support for this theory and then examples of this theory in different pieces of literature.

  • Science
  • In science, reading critically may mean that the reader takes the hypotheses of the story and checks the case studies for validity. Then the reader seeks to see if this theory holds true in other cases. Reading critically is like being a detective, you are searching for clues. Then you are analyzing the clues and applying them in similar situations to see if support exists for the theory. Science can require hands on experiment to prove a theory or the story of experiment results to prove a theory.

  • Social Studies
  • An example of reading critically in social studies might be checking an article that talks about history repeating itself. The reader can then look for cases in history were history did, in fact, appear to be re-occurring. A good example might be the review of an article on wars that started in a response for the military’s and people’s need for independence. The reader could then find support in how the Scottish, Irish, and United States all fought the British at various times seeking independence.

As you reading critically, learn to look for common themes, tools in the subject, and symbols. Then use research to apply these things to other similar situations. Critically reading for analysis can be fun, especially when you find support for your theory. It is great fun and rewarding to start with the inkling of an idea and for you to find that indeed you were correct about that idea or theory. Critical reading is a skill that uses the word why a lot and gets much easier with practice.