Many people get a literature review and a critical review mixed up but they are two separate things. A critical review is content that talks about a book or article in greater detail. In some cases, students might be asked to critically review up to 3 articles. A literature review, on the other hand, is part of a larger paper like a dissertation.
A professional essay writer from AdvancedWriters.com, Joan Young said, “critical reviews have a set structure which consists of an introduction, summary, critique, and conclusion”. When a student is asked to write one, they have to make sure they follow the instructions properly to get a good grade. Doing the opposite of what’s been instructed by tutors can result in getting low grades which can halt academic progression. This article by Advanced Writers will look at how one can write a crucial review of a journal article.
1. Come up with the introduction
For any review to get off the ground, it needs to have an introduction. If you are reviewing a book, your introduction should be 2-3 paragraphs long and 1 paragraph long if you’re reviewing a journal article. The first opening sentences need to analyze the title of the article, the writer and touch a little bit on the subject matter. You’ll also need to present the aim of the content you’re writing and summarise your findings. Finish off the introduction with a small statement that evaluates everything in the content and it can be negative, positive, or somewhere in between.
2. Summarize the content
This is where you need to summarise all the key points while using a few examples. In the summary, you can also talk about what the author intended in the text and you can also talk about how your content is organized. Only a third of your critical review should comprise the summary.
3. Critique the content
This is similar to the main body of an essay and should talk about the weaknesses and strengths of the content you’re analyzing. Your discussion has to focus on specific criteria and to produce a good review, you’ll need to include sources that back up your claims. You can sequence your content by doing the following
- Most important information upfront and least important down the bottom
- When and if your content is more positive than negative, first you’ll need to highlight the negatives and then the positives.
- When and if your content is more negative than positive, first you’ll need to highlight the positives and then the negatives.
- When each criterion has strengths and weaknesses that hold water, you need to make a judgment on your own. For instance, if you have an idea that is both positive and negative, you might want to talk about the good first then touch on the reason why it is limited to some degree. While this approach might show that your evaluation is mixed, in the grand scheme of things, you are being more negative than positive.
- If your reviews are long, you can use a paragraph to tackle each criteria you’ve chosen by touching on both the good and bad. If you are writing a short review which is usually one page where your points need to be brief, you can use one paragraph to highlight the good points and another to highlight the bad points.
- In your review, you can also talk about any areas you feel improvements can be made when it comes to research, theories, ideas, and more.
4. Conclusion and reference
Your conclusion has to be short and should just highlight the overall feel of the content and your opinions. It also has to include some recommendations. Where necessary, you can add your two cents to explain why you reached the conclusion you have. This will make your content come across as reasonable and fair. As far as the references go, anything that you’ve taken and used from secondary sources needs to be properly cited at the bottom of your review. You should make a proper list of references you’ve used from names, titles, years, and more.
5. Iron out any mistakes
It is important to deliver a critical review that has no grammar mistakes in it. You have to go through the content you’ve written over and over again and iron out any mistakes because delivering something with errors can cost you marks. If you’re in doubt, you can even get someone else to have a look at it for you. Sometimes getting someone else to offer a fresh pair of eyes can highlight things you might have missed. There are also websites like Grammarly that one can use to correct mistakes on the fly. Everything that needs changing is highlighted in red and one of the go-to sites for many content writers.
6. Check for plagiarism
As a writer, you want your content to be original at all times. The last thing you want is for your work to be flagged for plagiarism because that is a very serious offense in the writing world. There are plenty of programs you can use to check the originality of your content before you submit it. Make full use of them because they are there for a reason.
How to properly summarize and paraphrase a critical review
Paraphrasing and summarising are very important skills a student needs to possess, especially in academic writing. Summarising a critical review means chopping your content into small and important key pieces. When putting together your critical review, your summary has to be about one-quarter to one-third of your content.
Overall a critical review needs to be well researched and original from start to finish. Since you will be analyzing work that has been written by others, it will help you improve your research skills. Another area you will improve on is your critical reading skills and can evaluate different types of content quicker. The one mistake that many students make when they see the word critique is they think they are supposed to highlight the positives. You are supposed to address both the negative and positive aspects of the content you’ve been asked to critique. If you’re unsure of the instructions, you can always speak to your tutor to get any hints and tips.