how to write critical review

how to write critical review

  • Is the question the text tries to answer relevant, interesting, new, or useful? To who, and why?
  • Does the text give new answers or interpretations to an old question?
  • Is the text detailed, or brief? Simple or complex?
  • Is the evidence presented to support the answer extensive? Strong? Weak? Relevant? Persuasive? Contradictory?
  • Are the conclusions reached final, limited, qualified or preliminary?

Skim read the text and make notes about:

A critical review of a journal article evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of an article’s ideas and content. It provides description, analysis and interpretation that allow readers to assess the article’s value.
Read the article carefully. Record your impressions and note sections suitable for quoting.

How to write critical review
A critique (or critical review) is not to be mistaken for a literature review. A ‘critical review’, or ‘critique’, is a complete type of text (or genre), discussing one particular article or book in detail. In some instances, you may be asked to write a critique of two or three articles (e.g. a comparative critical review). In contrast, a ‘literature review‘, which also needs to be ‘critical’, is a part of a larger type of text, such as a chapter of your dissertation.
After you are familiar with the text, make notes on some of the following questions. Choose the questions which seem suitable:

How to write critical review

  • Is the book a memoir, a treatise, a collection of facts, an extended argument, etc.? Is the article a documentary, a write-up of primary research, a position paper, etc.?
  • Who is the author? What does the preface or foreword tell you about the author’s purpose, background, and credentials? What is the author’s approach to the topic (as a journalist? a historian? a researcher?)?
  • What is the main topic or problem addressed? How does the work relate to a discipline, to a profession, to a particular audience, or to other works on the topic?
  • What is your critical evaluation of the work (your thesis)? Why have you taken that position? What criteria are you basing your position on?

As you write, consider the following questions:

How to write critical review

    Summarising a text to be reviewed is one of the main components of critical review writing. To write a good summary, you should:
  • present the ideas in the original text accurately, ensuring you cover the main question the text attempts to address
  • discuss the important points, including the evidence the text uses to support the argument, and its conclusion
  • ensure the summary is consistent and understandable to readers who have not read the original text
  • ensure the summary section is shorter than the evaluation section that follows it