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.
What is meant by evaluation or
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.
What is meant by analysis?
You must first separate the content
and the concepts of a text into their
Once separated, you must then
understand how these interrelate,
connect and possibly influence each
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)
A summary paragraph that
Includes a synopsis of the key points
May include the author’s purpose or
May include how the text is organized
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
How is the critique to be
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
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
Briefly present recommendations or
Consider the importance of the
How do I decide what is worthy of
comment and critique?
How does the author understand the
situation? What is his/her
background? How would this
influence their view of the situation?
Does the author’s evidence support their
argument? Do they have enough specific
Does the author underemphasize or ignore
evidence that is contrary to their
Is the evidence credible? Is their a bias?
Key points to remember
You need to prove that you have read
and understood the text– use the
text: quote, paraphrase, summarize
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
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