Article Critique

An article critique is a type of writing in which a student reads an article with a critical mind to identify and evaluate its main strengths and weaknesses. A critique differs from a summary in the sense that the former goes beyond merely summarizing what is contained in the article. While a brief summary may be offered, most of the time is spent evaluating and analyzing the research. An article critique has four essential elements: introduction, summary, critique, and conclusion.

How can I write an article critique? It is easy. Only 3 steps are involved:

1. select article to critique.

2. Read keenly to understand it’s main idea

3. Read it again, this time spending a lot of time on critique and evaluation of the ideas.

What should you note down while reading the selected article? It is important to consider several things and to actually jot them down:

1. Authors’ credentials to determine their qualification to write about the topic

2. Research methods to determine their appropriateness in answering the stipulated research questions.

3. Is there any hint of bias or conflict of interest in the article?

4. Is the article current or outdated?

5. Have the authors covered previous literature exhaustively and the research well-grounded in theory?

Below is an example of an article critique authored by one of our writers. Read on to learn…

Order Description

Critical commentary report or review Of Criminology Journal Article

Stress on critical analysis, required to assess the relative merits (i.e. the pros and cons) of the work under review (which may entail applying theory and including references external to the piece being analyzed).

Article selected is;

Global Fears, Local Anxiety: Policing, Counterterrorism and Moral Panic Over “Bikie Gang Wars” In New South Wales
George Morgan and Selda Dagistanli
University of Western Sydney, Australia
Greg Martin
University of Sydney, Australia.


Title: Critical commentary report


Introduction. 2

Summary. 2

Critique. 3

Conclusion. 4

References. 5


The authors of the article are George Morgan, Selda Dagistanli, and Greg Martin. The article’s title is “Global Fears, Local Anxiety: Policing, Counterterrorism and Moral Panic Over ‘Bikie Gang Wars’ in New South Wales”. This topic sets out to test the applicability of the moral panic theory in the context of the “Bikie Gang Wars” in New South Wales. The main finding of the article is that responses by professional experts, “moral entrepreneurs”, and politicians to Bikie Gang Wars fit well into the characteristics of moral panic as outlined in Cohen’s (2002) moral panic theory. In this article, Morgan, Dagistanli, & Martin (2010) have made great efforts to demonstrate the relevance of the moral panic theory by giving the example of the ‘bikie gang wars’. It is evident that the response of the New South Wales (NSW) police to the problem of these gangs has been out of proportion to the magnitude of the inherent threat that they pose.


            The aim of this article is to highlight three issues: first, the moral panic that characterized “bikie gang wars” in New South Wales; secondly, the efforts by police to expand their powers as evident in efforts to amend laws in recent history; and thirdly, the interpretation of the events of the “bikie gang wars” using a recent version of moral panic theory. The authors argue that the policing practices that followed from these wars were politicized as opposed to being restrained and neutral. According to the authors, the media construction, as well as state response to the violent incidents, can be interpreted using the moral panic model suggested by Cohen (2002). The horrors that dominate media reports lead to the creation of “folk devils”, enumeration of new types of deviant behavior, and ultimately amendments to the existing criminal law.


            One of the pros of this discussion is that it provides a link between terrorism and the concept of moral panic. This is evident in changes, in general, policing especially in relation to counterterrorism. Morgan, Dagistanli, & Martin (2010) argue that in the twenty-first century, the line between counterterrorism and general policing is being erased. This discussion is advantageous because the researchers have managed to draw a relationship between theory and practice in the context of a contemporary problem of terrorism, which affects the entire world. Another pro of the paper is that the text is organized in such a way that the reader is able to follow the authors’ line of argument.

            The discussion has its cons as well. One of them is that it has not contributed significantly to efforts to establish universal criteria for determining whether an episode should be regarded as a moral panic. There are slight differences in the criteria provided by different scholars. For example, Goode & Ben-Yehuda (1994) argue that for an episode to be regarded as a moral panic, it should contain elements of volatility, measurable concern, hostility, disproportionality, and consensus. Garland (2008) supports this list but asserts that it omits two additional criteria; namely, the moral dimension and symptomatic aspects of deviant conduct. The present study neither critiques nor suggests amendments to the existing criteria; it merely attempts to analyze episodes of “bike gang wars” and terrorism using the criteria provided by other scholars.


            This paper makes a significant contribution to the existing body of knowledge. The main contribution is in terms of the practical application of the moral panic theory. It also relates to a great extent to other works that build upon this theory such as Cohen (1972) and Poynting & Morgan (2007). For instance, it emphasizes on the criteria for determining whether an episode qualifies to be regarded as a moral panic. This emphasis is similar to the one projected in other studies, including Goode & Ben-Yehuda (1994), Garland (2008), Ben-Yehuda (2009), and Cohen (2002).

            The paper contributes immensely to crime and media scholarship. It creates awareness on the need to change laws that are triggered by moral panics that are misrepresented in media, politics, and social discourse. The arguments made by the authors in relation to the ‘bikie gang wars’ and responses to terrorism confirm the validity of the moral panic theory.


            In conclusion, this article provides a balanced, critical assessment of the moral panic in the context of ‘bikie gang wars’. Two recommendations can be made on the basis of this analysis. First, restraint should be exercised whenever criminal law is being amended based on media coverage and state response to episodes of deviant behavior. This is simply because, through media coverage and knee-jerk state response, these threats posed by these episodes tend to be blown out of proportions. Such restraint can enable lawmakers from creating “folk devils” and alienating them from mainstream society. Secondly, the case of ‘bikie gang wars’ presents the government of NSW with an opportunity to rethink its strategy to avoid situations whereby the official reaction is out of proportion to the real problem being confronted. The same thing may be said regarding responses to emergencies in the post-9/11 era.


Ben-Yehuda, N 2009, ‘Foreword: Moral Panics – 36 Years On’, British Journal of Criminology, vol. 49, no. 1, pp. 1-3.

Cohen, S 1972, Folk devils and moral panics: The creation of the Mods and Rockers, Routledge, London.

Cohen, S 2002, Folk devils and moral panics: The creation of the Mods and Rockers (3rd ed.), Routledge, London.

Garland, D 2008, ‘On the concept of moral panic’, Crime Media Culture, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 9-30.

Morgan, G, Dagistanli, S & Martin, G  2010, ‘Global Fears, Local Anxiety: Policing, Counterterrorism, and Moral Panic Over ‘Bikie Gang Wars’ in New South Wales’, The Australian And New Zealand Journal Of Criminology, vol. 43, no. 3, pp. 580–599.

Poynting, S & Morgan, G, 2007, Outrageous!: Moral panics in Australia, ACYS Press, Hobart.

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