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Drafting my critical review and formatting it in MLA style

Drafting my critical review and formatting it in MLA style

Drafting my critical review of Fernsten and Reda’s article, Helping students meet the challenges of academic writing, transpired very smoothly by having a clear thesis statement and detailed notes with commentaries of my critical reading of the article. What helped me in the process is having a clear understanding of the objectives of writing a critical review paper. Additionally, I kept in mind that a critical review is “much more than a simple summary” (Skene) and that I had to focus on the analysis and evaluation of the article. Suffice to say, I started writing with the aim to demonstrate that I have understood the paper and evaluated the arguments with a critical eye.

I outlined my thesis with the statement that “Fernsten and Reda’s article, Helping students meet the challenges of academic writing, succeeds in sharing strategies that educators can use to help students overcome ‘negative writer identity’ through the reflective writing process, but it does not offer recommendations on how to surmount the challenges that are specific to academic writing.” I further elaborated my argument that “academic writing is more than just a written expression of one’s thoughts” and have provided a compelling argument to support my thesis. Furthermore, I have tried to support my stance with utmost clarity through statements like: “what is important is to understand and appreciate that academic writing in school is more than just writing for grades, but more so to express and communicate one's comprehension and analysis of the subject matter.”

In terms of developing my points, I have organized it in a logical sequence following the principles of syllogism while avoiding fallacious statements. Having said that, I tried to develop my arguments to come across clearly and convincingly. After an introduction to my claim, I have referred to adequate citations to back my claims up and wrote in utmost detail the reasons for doing so and concluded by summing up all the points that I have discussed in the paper. Moreover, I considered the audience of my paper and presented it a readable manner, ensuring not to include unnecessary jargon that might confuse the average reader. What’s more, I also kept in mind to maintain a mix of an informative and persuasive tone which is apt for the intended audience, and an in-depth analysis of the paper that shows a strong sense of awareness of the topic.

In developing the body of my paper, I constantly reminded myself to ensure that there is a clear connection that persists throughout the essay. In fact, I also made it a point that all of my
claims are well connected to the theme of my paper and that my transitions from
one sentence to another are clear throughout the paper. Moreover, I also made
good use of transitions like “further/also/moreover”, “it is said”,
“yet/despite/nonetheless”, “indeed”, etc. to link each idea to the detail.

Finally, I edited my paper for grammar and spelling and ensured there are no fragmented or run-on sentences. I also avoided to write a sentence that rambles on and on, ending up with a comma splice, or a fused sentence. What I did was to break the sentence and link them with lexical connectors. As a final point, I formatted my paper in MLA style following the MLA Formatting and Style Guide found in the Owl Purdue website:


I also conduct quality control using the MLA sample paper:

Works Cited

Purdue Writing Lab. “MLA Formatting and Style Guide // Purdue Writing Lab.” Purdue Writing Lab,

Skene, Allyson. “Writing a Critical Review.” The Writing Centre, University of Toronto,


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