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How to Write a Journal Critique Using APA Style

by Fitzalan Gorman, Demand Media

    When you write a journal critique, you give a qualified opinion of the article. American Psychological Association format is most often used when writing articles relating to social and behavioral sciences. The sixth edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association provides guidelines on how to structure, format and cite your critique.

    Basic Format

    When writing a journal critique in APA format, you must follow general structural guidelines. Format your paper so all of the text is double-spaced and there is a 1-inch margin on all sides. The APA recommends using Times New Roman in 12 point. Your paper should include four major sections: title page, abstract, main body and references. On the title page, list the name of your paper, your name and your school’s name all on separate lines.

    Abstract

    On your abstract page, center the word “Abstract” at the top of the page without any additional formatting. On the next line, write a concise summary of your critique. This should be a brief summary about the article and your critique. Examples of points to make in this paragraph include objectively analyzing the article and evaluating its contributions to learning. This paragraph should be between 150 to 250 words.

    Main Body

    On a new page, type your title at the top of the page without any additional formatting. Following a double space, begin writing your critique. Journal critiques analyze a variety of topics. Examples of issues you may want to include in this section include whether you found any errors of fact or interpretation, the author had any underlying assumptions or the author was objective. If you are critiquing a research journal, then consider discussing whether the experimental methods were described adequately, the procedures included enough detail to be duplicated or any content was duplicated.

    In-Text Citations

    To strengthen your journal critique, you may want to quote or paraphrase sections from the original article. Whenever you do this, you must include in-text citations. With APA style, you use the author-date citation system. If you mention the original author by name, then you only need to include the year of publication within parentheses directly following his name. When you quote or paraphrase a specific passage from the journal, include the page name at the end of the sentence in parentheses. This should be written as “p.” and placed before the final punctuation mark.

    References

    For references, your paper may only reference the journal that you are critiquing. To write this in proper APA style, write the author’s last name, a comma, first and middle initials and a period. Write the publication year in parentheses followed by a period. Type the name of the article title in sentence case followed by a period. Then, write the name of the journal in italics and title case, a comma, volume number, a comma, page numbers and a period. The volume number should also be in italics, but all text that follows should have plain formatting. For example: Hernandez, D. (2008). Choosing and using citation and bibliographic database software. Diabetes Educator, 34, 459-60.

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    Resources

    • Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition; American Psychological Association; 2010

    About the Author

    Fitzalan Gorman has more than 10 years of academic and commercial experience in research and writing. She has written speeches and text for CEOs, company presidents and leaders of major nonprofit organizations. Gorman has published for professional cycling teams and various health and fitness websites. She has a Master of Arts from Virginia Tech in political science and is a NASM certified personal trainer.

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