Critiques

A critique is a paper that gives a critical assessment of a book, article, or other medium. It combines both a summary and critical comment (requiring analysis and evaluation) on the content.

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Organizing Your Critique

A critique should have an introduction, body and conclusion.

 Introduction  

  • Identify the article you are reviewing, including the title of the text, the author’s name and their expertise in the field being addressed in the article.
  • Identify the purpose and context (background information or shared knowledge) in which the article was written.
    • Background material might include: an explanation of why the subject is of current interest; a reference to a possible controversy surrounding the subject of the passage or the passage itself; biographical information about the author; an account of the circumstances under which the passage was written; or a reference to the intended audience of the passage.
  • Summarize the author’s purpose and main points/evidence cited that are used for back up.
  • Write a statement that asserts your main point–your evaluation of the article–and shows the direction you will pursue in your discussion (your thesis statement).

Body

  • Identy and analyze the key points made in the text.
  • Evaluate the validity of the evidence used to support each point. Decide whether the conclusions which are reached are convincing when applied in a general sense as well as in the specific situations described in text. This should include both the strengths and weaknesses of the claims made in the article.
  • Use about three to five points to support your thesis statement depending on the length of the assignment.  The criteria below should serve as a guide to help you select your points.

 Conclusion 

  • State your conclusions about the overall validity of the piece—your assessment of the author’s success at achieving his or her aims and your reactions to the author’s views.
  • Remind the reader of the weaknesses and strengths of the passage.

Recommended site to visit:
UNSW Australia - Writing a Critial Review 

 

What Criteria Can Be Used For Evaluating?

The following questions provide some ideas to help you evaluate the text:

Background:

What is the nature of the article?Who wrote it and what are her/his qualifications for writing it?

Purpose:

Why was the article written?

What is its purpose?

What are the objectives of the article?    

Who is the intended audience?           

How well does the article suit its audience/purpose?

What kind of material is presented to achieve those objectives?

What is the significance of the article?

How does it relate to other materials on the same subject?

Thesis:

What is the writer’s position?

Is it stated directly and clearly?

What are the writer’s key assumptions? Are they explicit or implicit?

Do you detect biases?

Are the assumptions and biases obvious, or are they hidden behind a stance of neutrality and objectivity? (An assumption is a belief about something. It is often not stated by a writer. Assumptions underlie all human behavior. For example, when you go to your classroom, you assume your teacher will show up. You should critically examine all assumptions, even those in sync with your own.)

Evidence:

What does the writer provide to support her/his position?

What are the writer’s specific arguments?

Is the evidence believable? Authoritative? Sufficient? Logical or emotional? Are you convinced?

Refutation:

Does the writer present her/his thesis as the only reasonable position? Or has the writer clearly and fairly presented any opposing sides?

Has the writer shown the opposing arguments to be invalid?

Has the writer overlooked any possible opposition?

Are there any potential points for/against the argument that the author has omitted? 

Appeal:

What is the appeal of the article?

What are some of its most striking or illuminating qualities?

What new insights does the text provide?

What, if any, are its striking deficiencies?

Where do I agree/disagree with the author?

 

What is the writer’s style or tone? Authoritative? Speculative? Reasonable? Suggestive?

What kind of language does the writer use? Does it add to her/his credibility?

What, if any, new problems has the text presented?

What personal values/beliefs does the text challenge or reinforce?

From Shoreline Community College’s Writing a Critical Analysis (Critique)

Two Common Structures Used For Critiques

The following are a couple suggested structures for your critique:

Example 1

Example 2

IntroductionOverview of the text

Evaluation of the text

  • Point 1
  • Point 2
  • Point 3
  • Point 4…(continue as necessary)

Conclusion

Introduction (with thesis)

Point 1: Explanation and evaluation

Point 2: Explanation and evaluation

Point 3: Explanation and evaluation(continue elaborating as many points as necessary)

Conclusion

From the University of Toronto Writing Centre’s Writing a Critical Review

 


Last updated December 11, 2015