“ “ Critical Review An overview
“ “ The Review The critical review basically tests two skills: • summary writing/paraphrasing • evaluation (or the ability to think critically)
The Review • The critical review can be of a book, a chapter, a letter to the editor, a film, or a journal article (re: The Material). • Writing the critical review usually requires you to examine the material in detail and to also read other related literature so that you can present a fair and reasonable evaluation of the selected text.
Make your stand clear at the beginning of your review, in your evaluations of specific parts, and in your concluding commentary. • Your stand must go beyond your "gut reaction" to the work and be based on your knowledge (readings, lecture, experience) of the topic • Remember that your goal should be to make a few key points about the material, not to discuss everything the author writes or the film presents.
The review allows you to demonstrate your ability to do the following: • evaluate an argument in an article or the merits of a literary piece or film • justify reasons for a position • support a position with sources gathered from research (i.e. use the skills of paraphrasing, summarizing, quoting etc.) • order ideas in an essay logically • communicate information clearly
What is meant by critical? • Does not mean to criticise in a negative manner. Rather it requires you to question the information and opinions in the material and present your evaluation or judgement of the material. • To do this well, you should attempt to understand the topic from different perspectives.
What is meant by evaluation or judgement? • The strengths and weaknesses of the material. This is usually based on specific criteria. • Evaluating requires an understanding of not just the content of the material, but also an understanding of a material’s purpose, the intended audience, the issues it addresses, and why it is structured the way it is.
Guidelines • Be clear on your overall impression of the article, literary piece, or film. • Ensure you support each of your assessment claims with evidence from the article, literary piece, film, and from the other articles where appropriate. • Write the review in mainly the present tense.
Guidelines • Provide sufficient background information (approximately one paragraph) that would allow a reader who has not read your selected article or literary piece or film to follow your critical review of it. • Be sure to jot down notes on important parts of the article, literary piece, or film and any thoughts that you may have while viewing the movie. (That’s right, you need to have a note book or paper while reading or viewing the film!).
“ “ Structure of a Critical Review
1. Introduction • State the title of the film and its director and main actors/stars OR the name of the article and the author(s). The title of the film or article must be in apostrophes. • Write a background or context of the film or article. Background information includes information that will help future viewers/readers to better understand the film or article.
Write a few lines on the subjectthat film or article addresses. You should ask yourself, "Why is the subject important?" or "Why is it worth writing about?" This is where you should mention the theme of the movie/short story or the purpose of the article. • State in very general terms your overall impression of the film or article. Whatever you mention here, you will need to elaborate in the Critique section
2. Summary/Synopsis • Present a summary of the key points along with a limited number of examples. You can also briefly explain the author’s purpose/intentions throughout the text and you may briefly describe how the text is organised. • The summary/synopsis should only make up about a third of the critical review. • For a film, you should use ‘plot words’ such as: beginning, rising action/conflict, climax, falling action/conflict, resolution.
3. Critique • The critique requires one to evaluate the article, which means to discuss the strengths/usefulness and weaknesses/limitations of the film or article. • The critique is essentially your views: your criticism (not necessarily negative though). • The critique is not a description of the movie, film or short story (that was done in the summary). You should use the description to make your critique. • In this section, you should include references to other materials written about the film or article.
4. Conclusion • Discuss your final evaluation of the valueof the film or article. Remember that you had mentioned this before in general terms in the Introduction. This is where you will use all the fancy adjectives to praise or condemn the film or article. • Comment on the future of the subject that the film or article addresses or the implications raised. For example, if Seven Pounds deals with dealing with guilt and emotional torment then comment on that issue and how relevant it is to contemporary society. If an article about a Writing Centre raises recommendations and a rational for establishing a Writing Centre, talk about how relevant the recommendations are to Guyana (UG).
Close with recommendations for future viewers stating why they should view (or not view) the film, or read (or not read) the article.
“But The King's Speech proves there's fizzing life in old-school British period dramas – it's acted and directed with such sweep, verve, darting lightness. George VI's talking cure is gripping.”
5. References • If you have used other sources in you review you should also include a list of references at the end of the review. • Use the APA or MLA formats. (See handouts: REF TECH #1 & REF TECH #2)
For Power Point slides & Handouts: “ “ www.kencil.wordpress.com