Critiquing a Paper by dfhercbml

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									                                                                                             EE591A – Fall 2003



                                          Critiquing a Paper1
                                  Software Work Products & Maintenance

The purpose of this document is to provide some advice on how one might critique a paper. A paper
critique should not exceed one page in length. Please use letter paper, Arial 10 pt font, single-spaced,
one-inch margins. Though point form is not encouraged, it can be used if there are lists of
facts/arguments you wish to summarize. In general, you should use short, logical paragraphs.

You will submit your summaries electronically in MS Word using the following file naming convention:
<name>Critique#.doc (i.e. For the first summary, I would use “PaulCritique1.doc”). As well, include
your name and in the header of each page.

0.0 Bibliographic Reference
The first line of your summary should be a complete reference for the paper. Keep in mind you are
writing this summary partly for course credit, but also as a research or future reference tool. If you do not
include the complete reference, it will make the paper difficult to find if you wish to refer back to it.

1.0 Summary
The next part of the critique is a short, but complete, summary of the paper. This section is as much for
your benefit as the reader’s. It forces you to “grasp” the entire content of the paper and summarize it in an
insightful manner. It will have some similarity to the author’s abstract, but it should be “slanted” by your
experiences and your reasons for reading this paper. It is reasonable to include a few general statements
on the quality of the writing and arguments (is it logical, well formulated, easy to read etc), or perhaps
place the paper in historical context.

2.0 Analysis
In this section you identify what you consider the most relevant facts/arguments of the paper. Here I
expect to see your analysis of the paper. In addition to identifying the key points in the paper, state if you
agree or disagree the arguments/conclusions – and why. Support your arguments. Specifically, you
should answer the following questions:
      is it clear what is being done and why
      what are the key strengths/weaknesses of the paper
      are the arguments logically consistent and well supported (note, must consider opinion paper vice
         scientific analysis)
      does the paper specifically address the questions/hypotheses posed

The key thing is to address how the paper relates to the existing body of knowledge and what it
contributes.

As well, take a look at the references. Does the list appear complete/reasonable given your knowledge
base? Are there any classics that appear missing or do many of the references appear too old (which is
not always bad – depends on the body of knowledge being used) or too new?

And lastly, is the conclusion logically supported by the arguments presented?

3.0 Recommendation
Finally, provide your overall opinion of the paper. In addition, do you recommend this paper to other
readers? Who should read it? Why should they read it (and what might they hope to learn)?

Note, if you do use other sources to help you analyze the paper, make sure you give them proper
attribution. These additional references will help other researchers understand your thought processes,
and may help them find previously unknown resources.


1
    Based on directions from Queens MGMT 870/974 Fall 2001

								
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