How to Write an Article Review in Ethics and Do It Right?

Writing guide
Posted on September 25, 2020

A review of an article written in ethics should examine the weaknesses and strengths in terms of what the author of the article is trying to accomplish. In general, you should include paraphrases, critique, description and your own evaluation of the subject matter. No matter how exactly you’re going to arrange your article review, make sure that your readers will get the idea of the article’s value once they read your work, without the necessity to reread it over and over again.

Writing in ethics is usually based on the topics that deal with what is right and what is wrong in the proper moral context. Without a doubt, you are going to have your own point of view on this or that moral issue. However, when you write an article review, you’re not asked to do that. Instead, you create this project only in order to evaluate the work of others, but keep your own points of view about the topic to yourself.

In order to write an article review in ethics properly, you will have to read it more than three or four times. The point is that the work starts even before you begin the actual process of writing.

Here are things to consider when you read the article in ethics:

  • What is the target audience of the article?
  • What is the main purpose of the author to write this work?
  • Is the author an expert in ethics? Can you consider him or her some kind of authority in the field?
  • What information is fact and what information is just a point of view?
  • Are there any gaps or biases in his or her work?
  • Does the author speak persuasively?

Which Type of Review Is It?

By methodological approach, the article reviews are presented in the following forms:

  • Narrative review. Your task here is to choose certain ethics studies and compare them based on the existing models, theories and professional experience of the author. Your results will be based not on a quantitative level, but rather on qualitative. For examples, if the topic that you’re dealing with is related to lying, you might be required to analyze and compare the article that are based on the same subject matter: ‘The Origins of Lying and Deception in Everyday Life’ by Michael Lewis, ‘When All Signs Point to You: Lies Told in the Face of Evidence’ by Angela D. Evans, ‘Playing the Lying Game: Detecting and Dealing with Lies and Liars, from Occasional Fibbers to Frequent Fabricators’ by Gini Graham Scott.
  • Best evidence review. You concentrate on the chosen studies and combine your work with methodical methods of study-selection and result investigation.
  • Systematic review. You take findings from different individual studies in ethics and analyze each statistically according to the existing procedures.

Retell the Article

Take a piece of paper and rewrite the article, but don’t try to sound too professional. You do this for yourself – just put information that you’ve just read in your own simple words. Write down the author’s claim, what kind of research he or she managed to conduct and the arguments that this person used to support the ideas. Be accurate to ensure you include the key details of the article.

Don’t waste your time on proofreading or editing, all the typos and other mistakes won’t do harm to your text. However, you have to make it clear to be able to get back to it later and refer to it when you write an actual review. When you retell the article this way, you have an opportunity to figure out the main parts of it that should be discussed in your review and the sections that carry no particular information and could be omitted.

In addition to the main ideas that you have to write down, focus on the other things like the way the author interprets data, the theoretical materials used as a foundation for his or her work, the style of the person and so on. Sometimes you professor may tell you what exactly should be included into an article review in ethics.

Choose the Sources to Reach

In order to make your review of the author’s ethical position stronger, you will have to cite reputable sources. Public and college libraries provide students with some good and up-to-date materials to research and cite.

We strongly recommend you to approach your campus librarians to ask them to help you find sources if you don’t really know how to access the databases of the college library.
The easiest way to strengthen each of your arguments with the help of citations is through using some current statistics. Once you’ve given some bold assertion, make sure to provide some simple statistics in order to guarantee a tangible impact. For example, if you’re reviewing an article about ethical side of euthanasia, you may state in your work that the family of the patient would be excessively traumatized in case their beloved one chose the practice of intentionally ending a life. After that, ensure to cite some academic study that classified a majority of families that reported stress or mental trauma in such situation.

Finally, the other helpful citation is the one where you discuss the broad issue. For example, you might provide citation for some position of a famous ethicist on your subject matter in order to make your position stronger. If, for instance, you’re reviewing an article about violating the right of others, you may use the quote by Immanuel Kant to support your claim: ‘In law a man is guilty when he violates the rights of others. In ethics he is guilty if he only thinks of doing so”.

Title Your Article Review

When you choose the title for your article review, keep in mind that your readers should get the idea of your work once they look at your title. Make your title interrogative, declarative or descriptive.

Cite the Article that You’re Reviewing

The citation should be placed under the review’s title. Ask your college professor what kind of citation style you have to use for your work – MLA, APA, Chicago or any other.
For instance, if you use Turabian format style, your citation might look like this:
Carpenter, Kreps, and Jane McKenzie . “Studies in the Common Good and Christian Ethics.” World Science 34 (2017).


Provides information about the context, indicates the motivation for the review, defines the focus, the research question and explains the text structure.
The main function of the introduction part of an article review is to provide information about the context of the work, your motivation to write a review, your focus, the research question and the structure of your review.

The basic elements of the introduction part in article review:

  • Topic background. You, as the author of the article review, have to give the general subject, area or issue of concern in order to give a clear picture of the context.
  • The ‘problem’. This item contains all the conflicts, gaps or new perspectives.
  • Your motivation for work. State why exactly you decided to review this very article, how you organized your text and which approach you used.

In general, the introduction takes no more than 20% of the whole text. It is important to have a narrow focus at this points and a clear research question. Also, outline the main practical or theoretical justifications for writing this review.

The Main Body

The core of the article review. Make sure to have your summary at hand to be able to describe how the author managed to describe the subject matter in the article. In this part, you have to talk about the main points that the article’s author made and describe how well he or she chose the evidence to support them.

It is important to specify all the biases, if you encountered them in the text of the article. Finally, give your judgement on whether the author made any contribution to the field of ethics and the understanding of the topic in particular.

Do you agree with the author? Or, perhaps, you don’t support the ideas that he or she cultivates in this work? Provide strong arguments to back up your point of view. Finally, conclude the body section of your review by letting your target readers know what they can bring out from this article.

Ethics is the kind of an area where you can easily get carried away. Be careful as you write! Always make sure to stick to the point and write only topic related information. Even if you decide to include some additional background details, ensure they are somehow related to the strong or weak points of the article.

  • Any of your judgments should be supported by the other reviews done on the article.
  • Ensure that your summary has logical connection with the part where you assess it.
  • Always keep in your mind the fact that writing an article review is not about sharing what you think about it. Instead, it is about how important and relevant the work that you review is.
  • Remember to use special dictionaries to make sure that you operate different ethics terms accurately.

In case with writing an article review, you may be required to use one of three tenses:

  • Present. When you’re discussing what the author writes, thinks, believes or including information on the current knowledge that everyone knows, use the present tense. For instance: ‘It is believed…’
  • Simple past. When you’re mentioning a single study of bringing up what a certain ethics expert found or did, use simple past tense. For example: ‘The experts found…’
  • Present perfect. When you need to refer to some of the ethics fields where a number of independent researchers are engaged. For instance: ‘They have found…’

Working on Your Conclusion

In this part of your article review in ethics, you will have to revisit all the critical aspects of your work, check your findings of the article and research your critique. It is the conclusion that is the most suitable place to write about the results relevance, validity and accuracy of the article review. If the field of ethics gives you such an opportunity, describe some of the ways for future research.

Before you submit the assignment to your professor, you have to make sure that you’ve taken all of these steps:

  • You have read your article for more than once and highlighted the most important points. This will help you to see the main argument of the article and the materials that the author used to support it.
  • You have used direct quotations to make a point.
  • You have chosen all the supportive evidence and quotes adequately, as well as taken enough time to analyze the article. This will help you to avoid wrong interpretation of the article’s main idea or ideas.
  • You have done your best to avoid plagiarizing by using parenthetical citations.

Remove Unclear Language

All the words like ‘should’, ‘would’, ‘seems’, ‘could’ and ‘might’ don’t add clarity to your work. They may look good in a personal essay, but they look ambiguous in a complex academic writing. For instance, if you write the thesis statement like this – ‘Children shouldn’t lie even though some types of lying are not only permissible, but also encouraged’, it is not clear whether the author means that lying is morally wrong. Instead, you have to clarify your point of view by saying ‘Lying is an immoral type of child’s behavior even if sometimes lying is not only permissible, but also encouraged’.

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