A “Reading Critique”

A “Reading Critique”. The book or monograph you select must be related to subject matter in this course and align with your personal and professional interests. Here is an opportunity to read a book you have been wanting to read for some time! Of course, books or monographs must be approved in writing by the instructor ahead of time. (Failure to obtain written approval will result in a lower grade.)

A written critique is a comprehensive appraisal of a book or monograph related to the subject matter in this course. Writing a critique can be a valuable experience for the following reasons:

Extensive critical reading helps students achieve a more comprehensive understanding of the concepts included in this course.
Critical analysis of what is read aids students in becoming more discerning consumers of literature in their respective disciplines/fields.
A written critique may help students develop the art of effective communication.
A critique requires an intensive study of an author’s work which tends to complement readings associated with the course.

A written critique includes a minimum of four basic elements:

  1. Proper identification of the material read.
  2. An abstract of the major ideas, points of view, postulates, and contentions of the author.
  3. Critical evaluation of these ideas, viewpoints, and contentions.
  4. An analysis of the implications of the reading to a particular field of interest.

The first task is to identify the major ideas or contentions of the author. Try to determine the author’s justification for his viewpoint. Review the supporting data presented. Examine the logic underpinning the author’s conclusions. Seek out similarities and differences between what is being reviewed and, perhaps, what has been written by other scholars or writers.

When writing a critique, develop your own most effective style. The abstract should be brief (it is not a review) but incisive; e.g., an effort to single out the key hypotheses or major contentions of the author.

Your analysis section should center around the primary arguments of the author. The implications derived should follow from the analysis.

A suggested outline for a critique would be:

Abstract of major ideas.
Critical evaluation of major idea
The relationship of conclusions to content. Substantiation of ideas by good logic and adequacy of supporting arguments and reasoning.
Summary and conclusions.