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What is a Critique

What is a critique? 
A critical assessment of a text.
A personal response based on an analysis and reasoned evaluation of the text. 
A critique should: 
  • Inform (help reader understand the nature of the text) 
  • Interpret (explain the meaning of the text) 
  • Evaluate (discuss your opinions of the text) 

Possible Structure

Introduce text and author. 
State author’s main idea/argument 
Identify author’s purpose (to inform, persuade, entertain?) 
Background information, e.g.: 
Biographical information about author 
  • Intended audience of text 
  • Circumstances in which text was written 
  • Why subject is of current interest 
  • Why controversy about the text or the subject 
  • State own opinion, points you will make about the text 
Sum up main points made by author 
What arguments used? 
What evidence presented? 
Any underlying assumptions/biases? 
Your response to the text. Consider the following: 
Text well organised, clear, easy to read? 
Terms clearly defined? 
Argument logical? 
Sufficient evidence for arguments? 
Do arguments support main point? 
What assumptions made? 
Information accurate/significant used and interpreted fairly? 
Opposite views presented/addressed? 
How does text compare with other material/views on the subject? 
Any issues overlooked? 
Text appropriate for intended audience? 
What kind of language used? 
Is a calm, reasoned tone used? 
What are the author’s credentials? 
Author associated with well-known/respected authority? 
Evidence of peer review? 
What is the value of the text in general? 
Reminder of strengths/weaknesses of text. 
How well does the text achieve its purpose? 
How far does it contribute to understanding of the subject? 
What questions/observations does it suggest? 
Critiquing a piece of research – other aspects to consider 
Validity – does the research test what it set out to test? 
Reliability – would the same results be obtained if the research was repeated in the same conditions? 
Suitability of methods used 
Researcher bias