Most assignments in colleges these days ask the students to research a topic, examine the ideas and then present a critical review. Irrespective of the subjects you are going to major in, they make you produce many assignments and reviews in your entire college course. The objective of critical thinking is to maintain an unbiased stance on any given topic. Critical reviews make you weigh all sides of the argument and evaluate how effective all the sides are. Through this article, we will tell you how to write a concise critical review in college.
What is a Critical Review?
Students often tend to confuse a critical review with a simple summary. As the name itself suggests, the critical review requires you to analyze a given idea or piece of information and express your viewpoint. In the process of writing a critical review, you learn how to use old concepts to create new ideas, recognize trends and evaluate outcomes.
Structure of a critical review
No matter what the length of the review, its structure remains the same. Before beginning to write a review, check for any specific formatting or structural instructions given to you by your professor.
1. HEADINGS: It is not mandatory to give your review a heading. However, you may optionally give your longer review headings to facilitate a better understanding of the reader.
2. INTRODUCTION: The length of the introduction of a critical review is generally one paragraph for a shorter review; and two to three paragraphs for a long and detailed review. Start with a couple of opening sentences that briefly explain the topic and include its primary objective.
3. SUMMARY: Briefly explain the intentions of the author of the piece of information given to you and talk about the organization of the text. Make sure you include all the key points along with a satisfactory number of examples.
4. CRITIQUE: The critique is the main highlight of the review and it should be a balanced concoction of your analysis of the strengths and weaknesses, key points and noteworthy features of the information. Specify the sources and references of your arguments. In long reviews, talk about each argument in a separate paragraph. You are also free to include suggestions as to which points could have been stronger, which sources could have been referred to, etcetera.
5. CONCLUSION: Conclusion is generally a very short paragraph where you have to recapitulate your overall impression of the text provided to you. Conclude your review with a short explanation of your judgment. This will make your critical analysis sound reasonable.
The best approach for writing a review
Research: To write critically, you much research on every bit of information provided to you and ratify it. Also, make sure that the sources you use are reliable and the information provided by them is credible enough to be used in your review. A great example of such reviews could be seen on the Omnipapers blog.
Segregate: Use the tools of collation and contrast, cause and effect and preferences to break down the arguments into smaller parts that are easier to understand.
Plan and Organise: Brainstorm and organize all the smaller parts in the order of their priority for the review. Use your judgment to create a plan that does not sound vague or unorganized. Make sure your plan of action demonstrates your thinking abilities.
Strategize: Not only does critical thinking require proper planning and organization, it also requires you to make a comprehensive strategy to present your thoughts in the most effective manner possible.
Circumscribe: Limit your arguments and thesis to the topic provided to you and don’t add information that is not vital for the review. Choose the best structure to suit the requirements of your review.
Some extra tips:
Read: Thorough reading is crucial to achieving an unbiased stance on the text provided to you, Before you start writing your review, read and analyze all the aspects of the text such as the structure, methods, reasons, evidence and references and especially the rational connections between all these different aspects.
Summarise: After you’ve thoroughly read your text, locate the sentences that best represent the idea of the text and highlight them. Make separate notes of the main points.
Paraphrase: Paraphrasing refers to putting the quotes taken directly from the text into your own words. Review the notes of your main points and rewrite them in your own words. Make use of reporting verbs. If you choose to include any special phrases from the text, use quotation marks.
Follow all the steps given above to write a critical review. We hope this article was helpful for you to understand that with just a little effort, anyone can easily write a critical review in college.