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What should my critical review include?


Remember there is a difference between a Scholarly Book Review, a Literature Review and a Critical Review

  • Scholarly Book Review an analysis with the focus its application to part of your course, or as part of the background for proposed piece of research.
  • A Literature Review, puts together a set of commentaries that pull together the current position of a topic.
  • A Critical Review, is a critical evaluation of an article or book, following a set structure and evaluation guidelines.

Skills needed

  • Ability to summarise - express main points in a few words.
  • Ability to evaluate -analysing the content, making judgments using academic criteria.
  • Ability to analyse - explain how the component parts interrelate. with the view to evaluating using various criteria.

Structure of a Critical Review.

  1. Introduction
    • The title of the article or book.
    • The author
    • Overview of the book or article where the aim and the main line of reasoning is stated.
    • Your response to the article or book. You need to highlight whether you response is positive, negative or a mixture.

    If you are writing about an article the rule is that the introduction should be about one paragraph. If you are writing about a book the introduction should be about 2 - 3 paragraphs.

  2. Summary
  3. This section should be no longer than half of the review.

    Included in the review should be:

    • The main points and arguments.
    • Constructive suggestions as to how the book or article could be improved.
    • A critique on the style of expression of the article or book; writing and structure of the article or book. (e.g. the style and expression); the evidence it lays claim to; its methodology; relevance, significance and contribution its field of study
  4. Discussion and Conclusion
    • Can you make links with previous material to support the ideas and information in the book or document?
    • Does the validity and reliability of the work easily relate to the theoretical frameworks of your field of study?
    • Is it feasible to understand the text from different perspectives?
    • Cite the conclusions of the book or document, based on the author’s findings.
    • Has the author given justifiable conclusions? Are the conclusions justified given the results?
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