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what is a critical review.pdf

  1. What is a critical review? It is a writing task that asks you to summarize and evaluate a text. It requires you to question the information and opinions in a text and present your evaluation or judgment of the text.
  2. What is meant by evaluation or judgment?  You must determine the strengths and weaknesses of a text. This is based on specific criteria.  You must also have an understanding of the text’s purpose, the intended audience and why it is structured the way it is.
  3. What is meant by analysis?  You must first separate the content and the concepts of a text into their main components.  Once separated, you must then understand how these interrelate, connect and possibly influence each other.
  4. How is it structured?  An introductory paragraph that:  Includes a few opening sentences that announce the author and title and briefly explain the topic of the text  Includes the aim of the text  Includes a brief statement of your evaluation (this can be positive or negative, or a mix)
  5.  A summary paragraph that  Includes a synopsis of the key points  May include the author’s purpose or intentions  May include how the text is organized
  6.  Critique paragraphs that  Present a balanced discussion and evaluation of the strengths, weaknesses and notable features of the text  Are based on specific criteria  May include other sources to support
  7. How is the critique to be sequenced?  Most important to least important conclusions about the text  If your critique is more positive than negative, then present the negative points first and the positive last  If your critique is more negative than positive, then present the positive points first and the negative last
  8. How is it concluded?  Write a concluding paragraph that  Restates your overall opinion of the text (i.e. your thesis)  Briefly recap the main points raised in the review  Briefly present recommendations or suggestions  Consider the importance of the discussion
  9. How do I decide what is worthy of comment and critique?  Theoretical questions: How does the author understand the situation? What is his/her background? How would this influence their view of the situation?
  10.  Definitional questions: Are all of the concepts in the text clear? Does the author define a concept adequately/ vaguely?
  11.  Evidence questions: Does the author’s evidence support their argument? Do they have enough specific evidence? Does the author underemphasize or ignore evidence that is contrary to their argument? Is the evidence credible? Is their a bias?
  12. Key points to remember  You need to prove that you have read and understood the text– use the text: quote, paraphrase, summarize (CITE)  Your review should stand on its own. The reader should be able to get a reasonably full understanding of the text without having read it
  13.  It is okay to be critical…be specific and support your statements  It is okay to be identify areas that have merit… be specific and support your statements