How to ace critical review writing assignments

All of us encounter critical review writing assignments during higher education. This type of assignment is one of the major ways in which our education system makes us develop an opinion of ourselves. Writing a critical review assignment is not easy at all. It is no secret that a lot of students and learned individuals struggle with it. However, it is not as difficult as it sounds. If you have got such an assignment to work on, the first thing you need to do is understand what exactly a critical review is.

What is a critical review?

Most of the students out there associate a critical review with a summary of a text or a piece of content. However, they could not be more wrong. A critical review is way more than a simple summary of the text or work. The student, while writing a critical review, is required to do an analysis or evaluation of a book, article, or the concerned piece of work. Summarizing the content of the information is a part of the assignment. However, evaluating the text or the work is what the assignment majorly revolves around. The critical review can be of a journal article, of a chapter, or a work of fiction like a complete text. In the assignment, the students are required to read the text or work in question in detail. In addition to this, the students are required to read some texts related to the one in question so that they can present a rational evaluation of the work.

Also, one needs to learn that being critical in the review does not necessarily mean criticizing the text or the essay or the journal article in a negative way. Instead, a critical review means questioning the text from different angles and presenting your evaluation of the work. Based on your discipline or the course that you are pursuing, the review assignment can be judged on a different basis. Therefore, you should check all the guidelines before you start working on the assignment.

If you are wondering how to go about writing this kind of an assignment, here we list down the necessary steps:

  1. Conduct a thorough and analytical reading

Read the text critically and thoroughly. This is the very first step that you need to take towards writing your assignment. If you have collected some supplementary material to read about the work, go through all of that for a critical analysis. As you go about it, make sure your highlight and make notes about everything that you find important. If it is a text that has a complicated and dense plot, maybe you will have to read it more than once. Make a note of everything significant about the text, ranging from everything controversial, relevant, relevant, or seemingly useful. Make sure that you identify the main idea of the text and what the author is trying to argue for or against. When you come across the thesis statement, highlight it. If it is not a scientific work and a work of art, then try and figure out what the author or the creator is trying to get across through the work.

  1. Write a good introduction

When writing a critical review assignment, the author needs to remember that the introduction is an important part of the document. Remember that just you knowing about the text or the work that needs to be reviewed is not enough. The readers need to be aware of the text or the article as well. If they do not know about the text, then there is no way for them to judge the quality of the review assignment. Therefore, utilize the introduction space to briefly introduce the topic of the text to the readers. Take a moment to figure out how you can relate and connect the text or article or document that you are about to review to its broader context. Also, to lay down a good foundation of the review that is about to follow, you should present the main argument of your review in the introduction. While doing so, you should include a little content about the evaluation of the text in question.

  1. Take note of your response to the text

After you are done reading the text, the next step is to write a summary of the text in the review assignment. However, before you begin doing so, you must take a good note of your response to the text. You should reflect upon how the work made you feel and what kind of thoughts it ignited in you. Irrespective of whether the responses are good or bad, you should make a good note of them as they are the natural and initial responses that you felt. While writing the evaluation, it would come in handy when you explain in words how and why the text ignited those responses in you. If you successfully do so, it would be a great evaluation of the text. Make sure that you think about the smallest of responses and reactions that the text ignited in you. These could be anything like anger, laughter, disgust, etc.

  1. Think about the author’s background

Our backgrounds and where we come from play a major role in shaping our opinions and thoughts. Therefore, while writing or preparing to write a critical essay or review of a text, one needs to consider the background of the author. Taking a look at the background of the author helps to write a critical analysis of the text. While taking a look into the background of the author, see the other works that they have written. These works will really help you in understanding his thought process. It will reveal to you what the author is known for and what kind of affiliations they have or have had over their life.  For instance, if the author in question feels strongly about a sector or industry or an entity of any kind, they would have done some work over it in the past as well.

  1. Present a good summary

It is quite essential for the review document to have a good summary of the text in question. It is one of the main components of a critical review. As already mentioned, a good summary of the text or the article makes sure that the readers know what it is that you are reviewing. Therefore, it is imperative that while summarizing the text, you present the ideas and the arguments accurately.  While doing so, you should also make sure that you include all the main questions that the text in question has tried to address. If there are any important points mentioned in the text or the work, include them in the summary. Even if there is an argument in the text, not only should you include that in the summary, you should also write about the pieces of evidence that the writer has used to support those arguments. In simple words, you should make sure that the summary is so understandable that a reader who has not read the text gets the exact idea as to what it is about.

  1. Discuss each of your points in the body

The main content of the review article or essay should be about discussing each point that you wish to make regarding the text. You must have utilized the introduction section to include your thesis statement. The body is the space where you devote at least one paragraph to each point that you wish to make in order to support your thesis statement. This space is where you write about whatever there is to write about the evaluation of the text. If you the text had some qualities, you can discuss them and provide evidence to support your argument. If you felt that there was something wrong with the text or the way that the author went about it, you can talk about that.

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If you felt that there was some bias involved, then make sure you write about that. In simple words, the body of the essay is where you write all your points. However, make sure to include evidence from the text to support each of these points. If you do not relate each of your points directly to the text, they might just come across as mere thoughts or bias.

  1. Write a good conclusion

The conclusion is as important a part for your assignment as any other. It is obviously shorter than the main body of the review but it is necessary that you write it in the best possible way. In the main body of the assignment, you would have made all the points you needed to. The conclusion is the place where you briefly summarize all those points so that the readers leave with all those points in mind. However, this does not mean that you repeat all those points word by word. You need to just mention them in different phrases and words. You can consider that the purpose of this space is to state the overall opinion that you have formed of the text in question. It is imperative that this section presents a general overview of what you think about the text.

If you follow all the steps mentioned above, you will surely write a great critical review.

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