Writing a Critical Review

The advice in this brochure is a general guide only. We strongly recommend that you also follow your assignment instructions and seek clarification from your lecturer/tutor if needed.

Purpose of a critical review

The critical review is a writing task that asks you to summarise and evaluate a text. The critical review can be of a book, a chapter, or a journal article. Writing the critical review usually requires you to read the selected text in detail and to read other related texts so you can present a fair and reasonable evaluation of the selected text. 

What is meant by critical?

At university, to be critical does not mean to criticise in a negative manner. Rather, it requires you to question the information and opinions in a text and present your evaluation or judgement of the text. To do this well, you should attempt to understand the topic from different perspectives (i.e. read related texts) , and in relation to the theories, approaches and frameworks in your course.

What is meant by evaluation or judgement?

This is where you decide the strengths and weaknesses of a text. This is usually based on specific criteria. Evaluating requires an understanding of not just the content of the text, but also an understanding of a text’s purpose, the intended audience, and why it is structured the way it is.

What is meant by analysis?

Analysis requires separating the content and concepts of a text into their main components and then understanding how these interrelate, connect and possibly influence each other.


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