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SY 2017-2018



- The critical review is a writing task that asks you to summarise and Review
evaluate a text. o The REVIEW should be a balanced discussion and evaluation
- The critical review can be of a book, a chapter, or a journal article. of the strengths, weakness and notable features of the text.
- Writing the critical review usually requires you to read the selected text o Remember to base your discussion on specific criteria.
in detail, and to also read other related texts so that you can present a o Good reviews also include other sources to support your
fair and reasonable evaluation of the selected text. evaluation (remember to reference).

What is meant by critical? - If your critique is more positive than negative, then present the negative
- To be critical does not mean to criticise in a negative manner. It requires points first and the positive last.
you to question the information and opinions in a text and present your - You could begin by stating what is good about the idea and then
evaluation or judgement of the text. To do this well, you should attempt concede and explain how it is limited in some way.
to understand the topic from different perspectives (i.e. read related
- Scan the text. Look for information that can be deduced from the
What is meant by evaluation or judgement? introduction, conclusion and the title and headings. What do these tell
- Here you decide the strengths and weaknesses of a text. you about the main points of the article?
- Underline important ideas. Circle key terms. Find the main point of the
STRUCTURE OF A REVIEW article. Divide the article into sections or stages of thought.
- Make separate notes of the main points. Examples and evidence do not
Introduction need to be included at this stage. Usually they are used selectively in
o Include a few opening sentences that announce the author(s) your critique
and the title, and briefly explain the topic of the text. Present - Rewrite them in your own words and in complete sentences
the aim of the text . - Use reporting verbs and phrases (eg; The author describes…, Smith
Summary argues that …).
o Present a summary of the key points along with a limited - If you include unique or specialist phrases from the text, use quotation
number of examples. marks.
o You can also briefly explain the author’s purpose/intentions
throughout the text and you may briefly describe how the
text is organised.


When college professors ask you to read and write a critique of a text, they - In doing so, what is the author’s major argument?
usually expect you to analyze and evaluate, not just summarize. - What are the supporting arguments?
- Are the ideas clearly presented?
- A summary merely reports what the text said; that is, it answers only the STEP 5 – CONCLUSION
question, "What did the author say?" - What conclusions does the author(s) make?
- A critique, on the other hand, analyzes, interprets, and evaluates the
text, answering the questions how? why? and how well? STEP 6 – REFLECTION
- A critique does not necessarily have to criticize the piece in a negative - In your opinion, do the data support the conclusions being made by the
sense. author?
- Your reaction to the text may be largely positive, negative, or a - In your opinion, are the results thought provoking?
combination of the two. - In your opinion, what could be done to improve the research?
- It is important to explain why you respond to the text in a certain way. - What was the most important thing you learned by reading and
- A good critique demonstrates your impressions of the article, while critiquing this article?
providing ample evidence to back up your impressions.
WHAT IS A JOURNAL? - Academic (or scholarly) articles are articles that have been peer-
- an academic magazine published on a regular schedule reviewed before they are published.
- contains articles written by experts in a particular field of study - This means that experts in the field of study will review and approve the
- can be in print or digital formats, and many are available both ways. article before the journal will publish it.


STEP 1 - CITATION STEP 1 - Analyze the text

- Provide a full citation of the article to include author(s), title of article, - As you read the book or article you plan to critique, the following
and name of journal, volume and pages. questions will help you analyze the text:
For example: o What is the author's main point?
McFarlane, J., Malecha, A., Gist, J., and Watson, K. 2002. An In‐Depth Analysis o What is the author's purpose?
of California’s Use of Adult Incarceration for Juveniles: It’s Affects and After‐ o Who is the author's intended audience?
Affects. Journal of Criminal Justice, Vol. 51(6), 347‐594. o What arguments does the author use to support the main
STEP 2 - TOPIC o What evidence does the author present to support the
- Briefly describe the topic of the journal article. arguments?
- Identify the major and minor objectives of the article as well o What are the author's underlying assumptions or biases?
- Identify and define the important concepts focused on by the author. - You may find it useful to make notes about the text based on these
Are the definitions clear, in your opinion? questions as you read.

STEP 3 – THEORY/RESEARCH METHODS Step 2 - Evaluate the text

- Is the author being guided by a particular theoretical perspective? If so, - After you have read the text, you can begin to evaluate the author's
what is it and how does he use this theory to understand the problem? ideas. The following questions provide some ideas to help you evaluate
- Does the author collect data? If so, what method does he use? the text:
Example of methods: survey, field observation, use of existing sources, o Is the argument logical?
experiment, and is it cross‐sectional or longitudinal in design o Is the text well-organized, clear, and easy to read?
o Are the author's facts accurate?
STEP 4 – MAIN IDEAS o Have important terms been clearly defined?
- Summarize the article’s content. o Is there sufficient evidence for the arguments?
o Do the arguments support the main point? - Begin with an introduction that defines the subject of your critique and
o Is the text appropriate for the intended audience? your point of view.
- Evaluate the text - Defend your point of view by raising specific issues or aspects of the
o Does the text present and refute opposing points of view? argument.
o Does the text help you understand the subject? - Conclude your critique by summarizing your argument and re-
o Are there any words or sentences that evoke a strong emphasizing your opinion.
response from you? What are those words or sentences? Notes:
What is your reaction? o You will first need to identify and explain the author's ideas.
o What is the origin of your reaction to this topic? Include specific passages that support your description of the
o When or where did you first learn about it? Can you think of author's point of view.
people, articles, or discussions that have influenced your o Offer your own opinion. Explain what you think about the
views? How might these be compared or contrasted to this argument. Describe several points with which you agree or
text? disagree.
o What questions or observations does this article suggest? o For each of the points you mention, include specific passages
That is, what does the article make you think about? from the text (you may summarize, quote, or paraphrase)
that provide evidence for your point of view.
Step 3 – Plan and write your critique o Explain how the passages support your opinion.
- Write your critique in standard essay form. It is generally best not to
follow the author's organization when organizing your analysis, since this
approach lends itself to summary rather than analysis.


- Reaction or response papers are usually requested by teachers so that o How do you feel about what you are reading?
you'll consider carefully what you think or feel about something you've o What do you agree or disagree with?
read. o Can you identify with the situation?
- The following guidelines are intended to be used for reacting to a o What would be the best way to evaluate the story?
reading although they could easily be used for reactions to films too. - Keeping your responses to these questions in mind, follow the following
Read whatever you've been asked to respond to, and while reading, prewriting steps.
think about the following questions.

My Reaction to What I Just Read Is That . . .

 I think that  Because  However,

 I see that  A good quote is  Consequently,
 I feel that  In addition,  Finally,
 It seems that  For example,  In conclusion,
 In my opinion,  Moreover,

Organizing Your Reaction Paper

A reaction/response paper has an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.
- The introduction should contain all the basic information in one or two paragraphs.

Sentence 1: This sentence should give the title, author, and publication you read.
Sentence 2, 3, and sometimes 4: These sentences give a brief summary of what you read (nutshell)
Sentence 5: This sentence is your thesis statement. You agree, disagree, identify, or evaluate.

- Your introduction should include a concise, one sentence, focused thesis. This is the focused statement of your reaction/response.
- The body should contain paragraphs that provide support for your thesis. Each paragraph should contain one idea. Topic sentences should support the thesis, and
the final sentence of each paragraph should lead into the next paragraph.

Topic Sentence
detail -- example --quotation --detail -- example -- quotation -- detail -- example -- quotation -- detail -- example --quotation
Summary Sentence

- You can structure your paragraphs in two ways:

YOU in contrast of

- The conclusion can be a restatement of what you said in your paper. It also be a comment which focuses your overall reaction. Finally, it can be a prediction of the
effects of what you're reacting to.
- Note: your conclusion should include no new information.

Based on your understanding of the items discussed, differentiate a Review, a Critique and a Reaction Paper using the diagram below:




Key Features

General Steps