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Writing a Critical Review

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Once you’ve agreed to complete a review, how do you approach the paper?

Article Review
Critical Review Essay Example
What do you consider when deciding whether to accept an invitation to review a paper?

If critiquing a work of fiction or creative nonfiction, in either written form or film form, identify one main theme of the story. For a painting, analyze what the the painter may be trying to establish.

Ask yourself what the context of the argument is and why the author may have felt the need to argue it. Ask yourself if the author offers a solution to any problems they raise in their thesis. If so, ask if this solution is realistic.

Note all main ideas. Identify the main ideas of the work in order to analyze its structure. For works of fiction or paintings, you will need to ask yourself what evidence the author presents in an attempt to explain his or her thesis. Use a dictionary and encyclopedia to briefly look up words and other material that you know little to nothing about. More in-depth research is not usually necessary.

The only exception would be if the entire work is built around an unfamiliar concept, at which point, you should consider reading other articles that describe the concept more clearly in order to provide context to the piece you are analyzing.

Describe the work in your own words. One option is to make an outline of the work, while the second is the write a brief summary. An especially thorough reading of the work will include both. If writing a summary of the work, it only needs to be one or two paragraphs.

Try to phrase the summary in your own words as much as possible. Identify any appeals used. The three basic types of appeals are pathos, logos, and ethos. Pathos is an attempt to appeal to a reader's emotions. Works meant to entertain generally rely on pathos. Logos is an attempt to use logic and reason to sway a reader's perspective or opinion.

Ethos is an appeal to credibility. An author who explains why he or she should be trusted based on personal, professional, or academic merit is using ethos. Evaluate how well the author conveyed meaning. Determine how effective the author's appeals were from your own perspective as a reader. Ask yourself if you had an emotional response to an emotional appeal. Did you become happy, upset, or angry at any point? If so, ask yourself why. Determine if the author's attempts at logic and reason were enough to change your mind.

Also ask yourself if the material was clear, accurate, and cohesive. Ask yourself if you believe the author to be credible.

Determine why or why not. Choose several noteworthy areas to analyze. For a critical review, you will usually focus on how effective an author's appeals at pathos, logos, or ethos were. You can focus on one area if it appears stronger than the others, or you could look at two or three appeal types as they apply to a particular main idea used in the work. Alternatively, you can examine the author's overall ability at making his or her point. Your analysis can examine how well the author's research was performed, how cohesive the work is as a whole, how the author's use of structure and organization impacted the work, and other similar matters that stand out to you.

Divide each major point into a separate paragraph. No matter which areas you choose to write about, each major thought should be given its own paragraph. For more complex ideas, you may need to expand your discussion into several paragraphs. Balance the positive and negative.

If your critique includes more positive elements than negative, begin with the negative before defending the article with the positive. If your critique includes more negative opinions than positive, identify the positive elements first before defending your opposition with the negative. If you have both negative and positive remarks to make about the same point or aspect, you can write a mixed paragraph that reflects this.

To do so, you will usually end up stating the positive aspect first before explaining why the idea is limited. Identify any controversies surrounding the topic. If the author chose to write about a disputable matter, include information about the other side of the issue and explain how the author did or did not succeed in arguing against it.

This is especially significant when specific points or issues from the other side are mentioned directly in the article. Even if the author did not specifically mention opposing opinions, you can still mention common oppositions in your critical analysis.

Explain why the topic is relevant. Convince the reader of your essay that he or she should care. Let the reader know that the topic is relevant by contemporary standards. An article can be considered relevant if the subject has implications for the current day and age, but it can also be relevant if a notable writer or thinker is the author. Avoid turning the focus inward. Even though much of this is subjective, you should keep your tone academic instead of personal. Avoid phrases like "I think" or "in my opinion.

By identifying something as your own personal opinion, you actually end up weakening them in an academic sense. Do not focus on summary. You need to provide enough summary about the work for your critique to have sensible context, but the majority of the essay should still contain your thoughts rather than the author's thoughts.

Introduce the work being analyzed. Include both bibliographical information and more in-depth information. Specify the title of the work, the type of work it is, the author's name, and the field or genre the work addresses. Include information about the context in which the article was written. Clearly state the author's purpose or thesis. This essay was written in the recent past as a response to the current lifestyle which is punctuated by technological and media overstimulation.

One can tell that the writer aims to reach the current generation especially scholars as they are getting so drawn into the technology advancements. This generation is quickly losing touch with the normal and acceptable ways of doing things. Therefore, the laziness standards of this generation have been raised substantially. Simple life tasks have now been replaced by advanced and complicated methods, thanks to the advancement in technology.

The speaker uses his personal experience and preference to persuade the current generation not to let the technology take the best of them and their time. The approach that the writer uses to deliver this message is persuasive. From his choice of words and perspective, his tone is soft and he brings out the mood of patience and understanding. The writer is fully aware of his target audience and he knows that they tend to be rebellious and resent being told what to do.

He also knows he has to be keen if he wants his advice and words to be taken seriously by his target audience. On qualifications and mastery of skills, the writer is excellent on this.

His sentence construction, practical examples and practical allusions are put together carefully and with much expertise that one cannot afford to question his skill. His introduction is great and catchy. It captures the attention and motivates him to keep reading through. The stylistic devices employed in this introductory part are compelling. Imagery and similes make the readers enjoy reading through the article.

He is however, not entirely against the invention of computers or the fact that computers have some added advantage on them but when it comes to reading; the fact that there are so many things one can do on the computer makes it a major distraction and attention thief. For this reason, scholars who read off from computer screens end up getting way less than they should be.

On the second essay, the author also uses personal allusion to come up with the article. His introduction, just like the first reading is catchy and uses stylistic devices such as monologue and use of rhetorical questions to entice the reader.

Unlike the first writer who tells us why reading off computers is unadvisable, this one hits the nail on the head by addressing the problem first. Of course, this is a more effective way of reaching and convincing the target audience.

He uses a personal experience which is conversant and everyone can relate to. Although this goes against the unspoken basic writing rules, the writer cannot be faulted as he drives his point home just fine. Just like the first author, he uses practical examples. For instance he talks of how unable he was to open the emails before getting text messages and phone calls almost simultaneously.

He calls for the readers to make inferences such as the effect of distractions.


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The Assignment The critical review paper is not meant to be a difficult or onerous assignment. Your paper should be three double spaced pages in length (i.e., about words), not including the title page.

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Mar 21,  · How to Write a Critical Analysis Four Parts: Conducting a Critical Reading Writing an Effective Analysis Organizing the Review Sample Analyses Community Q&A A critical analysis examines an article or other work to determine how effective the piece is at making an argument or point%(89). Read the critical review essay example. The two articles are similar in that the speakers draw their personal experiences.

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The Critical Review 5 i) The Purpose of the Critical Review 5 ii) The Content of the Critical Review 6 3. Meeting the Assessment Criteria 7 4. Overall, this paper has provided a Read More. Words 4 Pages. Popular Essays. Overcoming Obesity with Busy Parents; Tv Proposal Example. Sample Extracts. Here is a sample extract from a critical review of an article. Only the introduction and conclusion are included. We thank Suwandi Tijia for allowing us to use his critical review in this resource. [1] Essay and assignment writing. Essay .