Whether you are critiquing a "New York Times" article about global warming or a music journal's analysis of a particular band, your writing must have a point. To formulate an effective thesis statement, takes notes while you read, brainstorm to gather ideas and draft a main argument that the rest of the critique can support.
The first step to successfully critiquing an article is reading the text carefully while taking thoughtful notes. Pay close attention to the main idea, strengths and weaknesses of the article and the author's tone, diction and use of evidence. If there are any words with which you are unfamiliar, look them up so you don't misunderstand the material. While reading, look for aspects of the article with which you agree or disagree, and sections that seem confusing or underdeveloped.
Brainstorm and Research
Once you have a strong understanding of the article, write out your reactions to the text in the form of a freewrite, list or cluster map. This activity will help you produce ideas for your thesis statement and can give you a clearer idea of your overall evaluation of the text. Another aspect of prewriting is research. In the case of an article critique, you can look up interviews and other articles by the author to determine if there are inconsistencies in her arguments or analysis, and to evaluate how much the author's biography plays a role in her opinions.
Write the Thesis
When the reading, research and planning is complete, you can draft your first thesis statement. The thesis should be written as a complete statement rather than as a question. The Writing Tutorial Service at Indiana University advises that rather than repeating a self-evident fact from the article, a strong thesis statement will "show your conclusions about a subject." For example, you can argue that the author of the article is biased in her tone because of religious, personal or professional affiliations, or you can argue that while the article provides a strong representation of army life, it does not sufficiently evaluate the long-term impact of war on soldiers.
While the thesis statement is one of the first parts of an article critique, once you have written it you might need to go back and revise it. Often the process of writing an essay or review can produce new ideas or alter the focus of the text through evidence or analysis. Therefore, once you have completed the critique, return to the thesis statement to verify that it still represents the rest of the evaluation. If not, alter the wording and content to make the thesis statement as specific, developed and representative of the overall critique as possible.
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