How to Write a Critical Review


How to Write a Critical Review

When you have to make a critical review, it’s important to understand the main goal of this document. In a critical paper, you need to evaluate and summarize the ideas and information from an article, book, essay, etc. You have to express your point of view following your knowledge about the subject. Needless to say, you must read the text thoroughly, and then think carefully to understand what you want to write in the review. 

For many people, writing a critical review seems like a very difficult task. Of course, it requires particular skills like the ability to read, analyze, review, and present your point of view about a certain topic. In our short guide, we will provide you with the main rules of making a successful structure for a review. Feel free to ask professionals for help if you cannot fulfill this task by yourself.

The process of writing a review can be separated into two stages:

  1. Scanning information. It includes seeking the right literature to understand the subject better.
  2. Effective review. Asking questions about the information, evaluating it, and presenting the results.

Here are some questions you can ask before you start making a review:

  • What’s the main topic of the article?
  • How does the writer present information and evidence in his or her writing?
  • What are the problems raised by the author in the text?
  • Does the article look balanced?

Structure of a Critical Review

A critical review is much more than a simple summary; it is an analysis and evaluation of a book, article, or other medium. Writing a good critical review requires that you understand the material, and that you know how to analyze and evaluate that material using appropriate criteria. 

Before you start making a review, it’s important to understand its structure. This will help you to divide the whole document into small parts and build your review successfully. Structure your paper properly and remember that your review shouldn’t be longer than 4 pages. Needless to say, this document must be structured properly. Follow our recommendations for the paper structure below to create a professional manuscript easily. 

Choose a structure that will best allow you to support your thesis within the required page constraints. The first example below works well with shorter assignments, but the risk is that too much time will be spent developing the overview, and too little time on the evaluation. The second example works better for longer reviews because it provides the relevant description with the analysis and evaluation, allowing the reader to follow the argument easily. 

Introduction

Start your work by stating the writer and the article or a book title. Explain the topic briefly. Remember you have to write a short summary of the main arguments presented in the whole paper. Add a short statement of the evaluation of the article at the end of this paragraph.

The length of an introduction is usually one paragraph for a journal article review and two or three paragraphs for a longer book review. Include a few opening sentences that announce the author(s) and the title, and briefly explain the topic of the text. Present the aim of the text and summarise the main finding or key argument. Conclude the introduction with a brief statement of your evaluation of the text. This can be a positive or negative evaluation or, as is usually the case, a mixed response.

Summary

Here you should put a summary of the main ideas of the reading. Feel free to add examples and a short explanation of the main goal of the article. Make sure this part of your review takes up to ⅓ of the whole paper.

Present a summary of the key points along with a limited number of examples. You can also briefly explain the author’s purpose/intentions throughout the text and you may briefly describe how the text is organised. The summary should only make up about a third of the critical review.

Evaluation

This is the main part of your document where you heed to evaluate and discuss all the text features, including weaknesses and strengths. Don’t forget to support every argument with references. Make your discussion specific and logical for readers.

The evaluation should be a balanced discussion and evaluation of the strengths, weaknesses and notable features of the text. Remember to base your discussion on specific criteria. Good reviews also include other sources to support your evaluation (remember to reference).

You can choose how to sequence your evaluation. Here are some examples to get you started:

  • Most important to least important conclusions you make about the text.
  • If your evaluation is more positive than negative, then present the negative points first and the positive last.
  • If your evaluation is more negative than positive, then present the positive points first and the negative last.
  • If there are both strengths and weaknesses for each criterion you use, you need to decide overall what your judgement is. For example, you may want to comment on a key idea in the text and have both positive and negative comments. You could begin by stating what is good about the idea and then concede and explain how it is limited in some way. While this example shows a mixed evaluation, overall you are probably being more negative than positive.
  • In long reviews, you can address each criterion you choose in a paragraph, including both negative and positive points. For very short critical reviews (one page or less), where your comments will be briefer, include a paragraph of positive aspects  and another of negative.
  • You can also include recommendations for how the text can be improved in terms of ideas, research approach; theories or frameworks used can also be included in the evaluation section.

Conclusion

You have to finish your paper and restate your opinion of the article. Here you can also put some recommendations (for example, write for whom this book is recommended to read), and explanations of your judgment to show readers it’s fair. 

This is usually a very short paragraph.

  • Restate your overall opinion of the text.
  • Briefly present recommendations.
  • If necessary, some further qualification or explanation of your judgement can be included. This can help your critique sound fair and reasonable.

References

At the end of your paper, you need to include a list of references. Here you have to put all sources you have used to write a critical review. We suggest finding and following the main rules on citing sources to make a list of references properly. 

The best way to summarize

  1. Scan the text. Look for information that can be deduced from the introduction, conclusion, title, and headings. What do these tell you about the main points of the article?
  2. Locate the topic sentences and highlight the main points as you read.
  3. Reread the text and make separate notes of the main points. Examples and evidence do not need to be included at this stage. Usually they are used selectively in your critique.

Paraphrasing means putting it into your own words. Paraphrasing offers an alternative to using direct quotations in your summary (and the critique) and can be an efficient way to integrate your summary notes.

The best way to paraphrase

  1. Review your summary notes
  2. Rewrite them in your own words and in complete sentences
  3. Use reporting verbs and phrases, e.g. 'The author describes…', 'Smith argues that …'.
  4. Use quotation marks if you include unique or specialist phrases from the text.

To Sum Up

As you can see, it’s not so difficult to make a critical review when you know how to structure this paper and what to write in every part. But for some people, it’s almost impossible to create a good document due to weak skills. Others haven’t got enough time for writing. Both of them have a great chance to make a perfect manuscript with our writing service!

Ask our specialists to create a proper paper, and we will fulfill your task in the shortest terms. We have the best writers who can analyze texts and create perfect reviews without delays. Even urgent tasks can be completed just in a few hours. Choose our cooperation and get successful documents without spending a lot of money!