This academic writing lesson focusses on the genre of critical review. A critical review is a piece of academic writing in which the author first describes the main ideas of a text, film or other primary source, and then comments on its strengths, weaknesses and wider significance. A well-written critical review should have four main sections:

1. Introduction (~100 words)

  • Key information: name of piece, name of author/producer, place and date of publication
  • A brief statement of what the piece is about (not a complete summary, just a line or two)
  • Thesis statement: what do you think about the information being presented here?

2. Summary (~200 words)

  • Your summary should be short (aim for about 1/3 of the body of your paper)
  • Focus on the main points what is being said here? What is the work about?
  • Don't go into too much detail
  • Don't analyze here; this can come later

3. Your own Analysis of the Primary Source/Text (~400 words)

  • Analyzing the information contained in the work and/or the way in which the information is presented
  • What are the strengths in the text?
  • Good research
  • Logical arguments
  • Look at the issue from both sides
  • What are some of the weaknesses of the author's argument?
  • Did they miss some important information?
  • Did they only explore one side of the issue?
  • Are there any opportunities for her/him to improve the discussion?
  • Can you find some research that could support their arguments?
  • Do you know of any examples that could strengthen their points?
  • Your analysis should be longer than your summary (aim for 2/3 of the body of your essay). You should focus your comments on answering this question: to what extent does the author succeed in his/her purpose? This could include:

4. Conclusion (~100 Words)

  • Restate your summary of the critical review text's main idea, as well as the overall conclusions of your analysis. Do not introduce new ideas here.


Please open the exercise to continue.