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EVALUATION STRUCTURE OF CRITIQUE

The analysis breaks down the information provided in the Jeffrey Cahan, (2004) suggests that you can structure your
article. The evaluation of this information, the way it is critique in two ways:
presented, its validity and application. This is the main
focus of your critique. First method:
ƒ Itemise the argument into main point, reasons for
Evaluation of Topic argument, support offered STUDENT LEARNING CENTRE
Y N
ƒ Discuss the strength and weakness of the articles
Is the topic of the article clearly defined or whether it
is ambiguous
assumptions CRITIQUE OF AN
ƒ Identify the article’s audience
Is there an implicit argument to the paper? (That
being implied or suggested but not actually ƒ Assess the value of the overall argument.
ACADEMIC ARTICLE
expressed)
Are all the key words well defined? Second method:
Is the argument logical? ƒ Identify and explain the author’s ideas and
perspective and the audience. Include direct
Is the text well clearly written in an orderly way?
quotes from the article to illustrate your points
Evaluation of the evidence (background)
ƒ Is the evidence convincing or perceptive? ƒ Explain what you think about the article, based
on the evaluation as listed above. Focus on
ƒ If there isn’t any experiential or experimental
specific weaknesses and strengths in the article
evidence given, why not? If there is, why?
(One per paragraph)
ƒ Is the evidence accurate and is it sufficient to back
ƒ For each point you mention, include sections
up the points being argued ‘A critique analyses, interprets and
from the article (quote or paraphrase) to illustrate
ƒ Is the text and evidence presented appropriate for your point and bring in references to provide evaluates a text, answering the questions
the intended audience? E.g. If teachers are the evidence in support of your critique. how? Why? And how well?’ (Jeffrey Cahan, 2004)
intended audience, then it would be inappropriate, in
most cases, for a computer specialist to present an REFERENCES
article from a highly technical perspective.
Cahan, J. (2003). Mini-lecture on writing a critique- effective academic
This brochure will provide help in:
Evaluation of the argument writing. Retrieved on March 23, 2004 from
http://empire1.esc.edu/coursesspecial/epresources.nsf/0/16de ƒ Understanding what is meant by a
ƒ How does this article relate to other reading which c3a600acff0f85256d8f004e7c2a?OpenDocument
you have done in this subject area? ‘critique’
Jones, B.J. (2001). Rhetoric and composition: Pennsylvania State
ƒ Was the counter argument fully considered? What University. Retrieved on March 23, 2004 from ƒ Looking at the background picture
was it? http://www.personal.psu.edu/faculty/b/j/bjj6/ENGL015-

ƒ What assumptions have been made and how do


2001Critique.html ƒ Analysing the article
these assumptions weaken or impact the argument? Metcalfe, M. (March, 2002). Preparing a critique of an article: Using ƒ Evaluating the article
argument as an inquiry. Retrieved on March 23, 2004 from
ƒ Were the implications of accepting the argument of http://godot.unisa.edu.au/register/articles/5.doc ƒ Structuring your critique.
the article fully explained?
ƒ Are there aspects to the paper which raise a strong Sarah Cowpertwait
response? If so why? Extramural Learning Advisor
Student Learning Centre
ƒ Where the argument of the article leads to possible Massey University, Auckland, 2004
applications of the theory, were these practical or
meaningful?
AN ACADEMIC ARTICLE ƒ When was the article written? Is it based on Evidence
current issues or not and is the article relevant to
ƒ Academic articles are often written in the ƒ You have identified the sources; now identify
today’s research?
form of an argument what each source is saying in support of your
ƒ Who is the intended audience? author’s argument
ƒ The author takes a particular stand on an This can also lead us to some understanding of the
issue (often stated in their thesis statement) purpose of the article ƒ What evidence is being used to support the
argument?
ƒ The author presents research evidence and ƒ What sources does the author use?
facts in support of the argument This can lead us to understand the theoretical basis of ƒ Section headings will give a good insight into
the article supporting points given for an argument
ƒ Well written academic articles are based on
a great deal of research and the author has ƒ Has the author focused on a particular area of ƒ Does the author present the evidence to back
drawn conclusions from a range of sources. research or on a specific point of view? up a point made, to illustrate a point, or to
engender sympathy towards an argument?
ƒ What general assumptions does the author
WHAT IS A CRITIQUE make?
e.g. startling statistics
‘What the reader of a critique is really Assumptions can be cultural, social or theoretical. ƒ Is there any experiential or experimental
interested in is hearing your assessment’ analysis given (statistical evidence), and is it
(Jones, 2001) ANALYSIS qualitative or quantitative?
A critique is a specific style of essay which ‘What is the author’s particular concern?’ Limitations
identifies the author’s ideas and evaluates them (Metcalfe, 2002)
ƒ What limitations has the author identified?
based on current theory and research. Analysis of the article is necessary in order to e.g. time limit, sample size, information base,
ƒ In order to do a meaningful critique you establish the general purpose, evidence, limitations, the degree of further research required, and the
need to understand where the author is and the structure of an article. degree to which the article can be applied
coming from and why they are writing this ƒ Your analysis of the article determines exactly ƒ Are both sides of the argument presented and
particular article what it is the author is saying and how they are supported with references?
ƒ In a critique you need to respond to the saying it
article not simply summarise it SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND
ƒ Your analysis needs to be thorough, as this is the
ƒ You need to explain why you respond to the information on which you will base your evaluation & ANALYSIS
text in a certain way and to support your ƒ It is important to refer to your analysis during your In summary, the information you need before you
argument with your readings critique, although describing the article should begin your critique includes:
ƒ Begin by regarding the article as a whole comprise no more than a third of your critique. 1. The background and discipline of the author
and building up a background picture. Purpose 2. The main issue being discussed
BACKGROUND You can usually ascertain the author’s purpose within 3. The point the author is arguing on that issue
the introduction e.g. their thesis statement, what is it
ƒ Who is the author (s) and what is the they are trying to prove? 4. The sources used to support this argument
author’s background (discipline, research
ƒ What is the purpose of the article? 5. The specific evidence used to support the
history, political history if relevant)?
argument
This will give you insight into their personal ƒ What arguments are being used to persuade the
perspective, for example, an article on the use of intended audience to believe? 6. Any experiential or experimental analysis
technology in schools written by an IT specialist will
have a different perspective from that of an
given (statistical evidence)
educationalist. 7. Any limitations identified.