Skip to Main Content

Types of Assignment

How to start, plan and structure your work

Assessing Academic Journal Articles

Assessing articles

As you progress in your studies you may well be asked to search for, access and asses academic articles.

Academic Articles are written by experts in a given field and edited by peers, the printing and publishing process can take many years. The language used will be formal and complex to ensure that the information shared in as specific as possible to prevent any confusion or uncertainty. The author/s will be clearly identified and keywords may be listed to support in the searching and classification of the information in the article.

Understanding the level of study and the format of the assignment, will support you in identifying the level of analysis required.

Article Review Scale

Depending on where you are in your studies and what type of course your are doing you may engage with journal articles differently. 


Cherry picking - Finding the odd articles which relates to your topic.

Assessing articles - Selecting a number of journal articles and assessing the content and methods of data collection in relation to your wider essay topic.

Literature Reviews - Selecting a number of journal articles and critically assessing the content and methods of data collection. Considering the location of your search and the methods you used to collect your articles. Typing up the information adhering to a specific Literature Review report format.

Systematic Review - Methodically recording every element of your process and in-depth analysing the content of the articles for comparison and further discussion. Typing up the information adhering to a specific Systematic Review report format.



Make sure you know what level is expected of you for your assignment! You do not want to be doing more in depth searching and analysis than in required for your particular assignment.

Article Review Scale

Both Cherry Picking and Article Reviews are typically found in Essay formats where as Lit Reviews and Systematic Reviews are done at higher levels of study and in Report format.

So what's the main difference?

The main difference is that an essay focuses on a topic, and uses the literature as a support for the arguments. In a literature review, the literature itself is the topic of discussion and evaluation.


Not sure what you need? Talk to a Librarian for support today!

Note Taking

Note Taking is important when reviewing journal articles as it allows you to identify and pull out the key details from the lengthy article for analysis and discussion.

Use the Note Taking Guide and a Journal "top sheet" to support your note taking process.

Data Information Knowledge

Critical Analysis is the process where we consume information and analyse the context around it.


A good example of this can be seen below:

DIKI chart


The Data Information Knowledge Insight chart shows how research which produces data can be analysed, consumed, compared and contrasted and applied in different ways and possibly leading to knowledge on a topic. Insight allows us to apply the knowledge to a problem and possibly identify solutions or alternative areas for research.

To move from description to critical anlysis you need to do more than list each point you need to present the connections between the information and provide the reader with the insights that can be drawn from each individual element.