What is a critique?
A critique is a paper that gives a critical assessment of a
book or article.
Begin by reading the book or article and annotate as you
Note the author’s main point/thesis statement.
Divide the book/article into sections of thought and write
a brief summary of each thought in your own words.
Start your critique with sentences giving the following
Book/Article title and source
Author’s thesis statement
Summarize the author’s purpose and main
points/evidence cited that are used for back up.
Review & Evaluate
To critically review the piece, ask the following questions:
What are the credentials/areas of expertise of the author?
Did the author use appropriate methods to gather the
Was the evidence used by the author accurate?
Does the author’s use and interpretation of this evidence lead
the reader to the same conclusion?
Did the author build a logical argument?
Is there other evidence that would support a counterargument?
Are the article and the evidence still valid or are they
outdated, leading to an invalid conclusion?
Was the author successful in making his/her point?
Wrap up by:
Stating whether you agree with the author.
Back up your decisions by stating your reasons.
Give a general opinion of the work.
Other Tips & Tricks of the Trade
Read the entire book. Do not rate a book unless you can read
it in its entirety. It's not fair to the author, and your review
will be slanted because you have not given the book a 100
Write pros and cons in your review. A review with only
compliments is suspicious to other readers and a lame way of
critiquing. Nevertheless, do not dwell much too on the cons.
The key point is to do a balanced review.
Make your review clear. "This book rules," or "This book
bores" does not tell a reader why you liked or didn't like
the book. If the book bored you or fell short of your
expectations, explain what you didn't like in the book and
where you became lost. If you enjoyed the book, point
out what the author did to keep you reading or what was
the ultimate reason to make you want to continue
reading the book.
Do not give the entire summary of the book. Doing this
is like someone telling a person how a movie ended, and
it takes all the fun out of a potential reader checking out
the book. Common sense will play into this. Anything
that you feel was a surprise to you will probably be a
surprise to the next reader, so either don't mention it, or
be very careful with your words.