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:
                                                                              Itemise the argument into main point, reasons for
  Evaluation of Topic                                                         argument, support offered                                           STUDENT LEARNING CENTRE
                                                              Y   N
                                                                                 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
                                                                                 Identify the article’s audience
  Is there an implicit argument to the paper? (That
  being implied or suggested but not actually                                    Assess the value of the overall argument.
                                                                                                                                                   ACADEMIC ARTICLE
  Are all the key words well defined?                                 Second method:
  Is the argument logical?                                                       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)
       Is the evidence convincing or perceptive?                                 Explain what you think about the article, based
                                                                                 on the evaluation as listed above. Focus on
       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)
       Is the evidence accurate and is it sufficient to back
                                                                                 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
       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
                                                                                    Understanding what is meant by a
       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
       Was the counter argument fully considered? What                            University. Retrieved on March 23, 2004 from                            Looking at the background picture
       was it?                                                          

       What assumptions have been made and how do
                                                                                  2001Critique.html                                                       Analysing the article
       these assumptions weaken or impact the argument?               Metcalfe, M. (March, 2002). Preparing a critique of an article: Using               Evaluating the article
                                                                                 argument as an inquiry. Retrieved on March 23, 2004 from
       Were the implications of accepting the argument of                                      Structuring your critique.
       the article fully explained?
       Are there aspects to the paper which raise a strong                                Sarah Cowpertwait
       response? If so why?                                                         Extramural Learning Advisor
                                                                                       Student Learning Centre
       Where the argument of the article leads to possible                         Massey University, Auckland, 2004
       applications of the theory, were these practical or
     AN ACADEMIC ARTICLE                                        When was the article written? Is it based on              Evidence
                                                                current issues or not and is the article relevant to
   Academic articles are often written in the                                                                                   You have identified the sources; now identify
                                                                today’s research?
   form of an argument                                                                                                          what each source is saying in support of your
                                                                Who is the intended audience?                                   author’s argument
   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                                          What evidence is being used to support the
   The author presents research evidence and                    What sources does the author use?
   facts in support of the argument                             This can lead us to understand the theoretical basis of         Section headings will give a good insight into
                                                                the article                                                     supporting points given for an argument
   Well written academic articles are based on
   a great deal of research and the author has                  Has the author focused on a particular area of                  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?
                                                                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.             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)
                                                                                                                                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,
   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                  Your analysis of the article determines exactly                   Are both sides of the argument presented and
   particular article                                         what it is the author is saying and how they are                  supported with references?
   In a critique you need to respond to the                   saying it
   article not simply summarise it                                                                                          SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND
                                                              Your analysis needs to be thorough, as this is the
   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                  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:
   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
   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
                                                                What is the purpose of the article?                        5.     The specific evidence used to support the
   history, political history if relevant)?
   This will give you insight into their personal               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.

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