Comp 650
2023-01-30 08:58:34 UTC
Web sites
Writing help
Bulletin board
  Paper critique
This page provides details on assignment 2-1. It is assigned in week 2 and due in week 5.

This is a major assignment: it is worth 200 points.

This is an individual assignment.


Evaluate a paper in software architecture based on concepts learned in this course.


To be effective in computer science (or any science) you must be able to critically analyze another scientist's work. In this assignment you will write a critique of a paper and support your evaluation with citations and references to existing documentation.


  1. Select an article about web technology from the list below, or locate a current (within the past 3 years) paper from a peer reviewed journal. The paper can also be from an ACM- or IEEE-sponsored conference. The paper must be related to web technology . If you want to use an article that is not on the list below, you must get the professor's permission in advance (no later than week 3).

  2. Write a 3-5 page paper that critically analyzes the idea(s) presented in the paper.
  3. Support your opinion by using citations and references from your readings and other documentation.

  4. Things to remember

    • The most important aspect of this assignment is to practice writing a critique - your critical assessment of the article you have chosen.

    • This assignment is NOT a "book report". I want to see your assessment of what is good or bad or uncertain about the article. Of course, you will have to spend some time talking about the authors' methods and conclusions, but if more than half of your paper is devoted to describing the article, then you are doing it wrong.

    • Your critique must make sense to me. I will not necessarily agree with you, and that's OK. However, while you do NOT have to convince me, you DO have to make sense. For example, you might criticize a way of designing architectures because you think it will be too much work for architects. That's fine, but if you contradict yourself in the next paragraph by saying that the technique improves architecture team productivity, I'll deduct points for not making sense.

    • Closely related to this is the need to be clear. I will spend a lot of time reading these papers, and I don't have a lot of natural patience. My mood will improve (and my grading decisions will become more generous) if you write clearly and concisely.

    • Your critique should be as convincing as you can make it. One way to strengthen your critique is to provide references to other documents that support your position. Finding supporting documents will probably be the hardest part of this exercise, but hey, that's why it's worth big points. Searching for supporting evidence is also a great way to check your assessment; if no one has an opinion similar to yours, then you should carefully review your reasoning. It could be that you are the first person to think of the point that you are making; unfortunately, it is more likely that there is something wrong with your argument.

    • An approach that can help with finding supporting references is to research the area the paper addresses after you read the paper but before you write your critique. The research may help you understand the paper better, you may get some ideas for your critique, and if you get a critique idea from some other paper, you have a built-in supporting reference.

    • Make sure you are familiar with the general information about written assignments.

  5. Required elements of your paper (these really are required! I hate to deduct points for missing elements; please don't make me do it)

    • Brief description of the paper, including a summary of its main points, conclusions, or contributions

    • Assessment: say what you think is good, accurate, or strong about the paper

    • Assessment: say what you think is bad, wrong, or weak about the paper. For each of these negative assessments, explain why you disagree with the authors. Wherever possible, reference other documentation that supports your point of view.

    • References: Your paper must reference at least three published sources, not counting the article you are reviewing. These references do not necessarily have to support your arguments,  but as noted above your critique will be stronger, and you will be at less risk of making a nonsensical argument, if you can provide published support for your views.

  6. Details about references. For most references, it's clear whether it's from a "published source". As always, there are gray areas. The lists below address some of the frequently asked questions about what constitutes a valid reference. If you are unsure about whether a reference will count, you have two options: add more references that you're sure will count, or contact me about it. Remember, it's fine if your reference list has more than three entries in it.

    • the following do NOT count toward your three required references:

    • the following web-published sources DO count toward your three required references:

      • material from Wikipedia

      • material from another professor's web site at Franklin or another university

      • conference proceedings

      • peer-reviewed journal articles

  7. Remember that Franklin's library provides access to a rich set of online reference materials, including the ACM Digital Library. You have already paid for this with your tuition - get your money's worth! assignment numbers and names

Number Name
3 2-1 critique
3a Revision 1