Tips How To Write A Good Critique

Are you a student, who is just interested in knowing the secrets of critique writing or you are a teacher, who is having difficulties when it comes to teaching others critique writing?

You have surely come to the right place for consultation: Congrats!

In this article, you are going to be equipped with the correct definition of critique, vast types of critique, methods of writing a critical review, templates, samples and the examples of the best critique ever written.

After reading this article, you would be able to:

  1. Approach a write up/ journal article with a critical view
  2. Give efficient feedback to your lecturers as regarding their books
  3. See things from a different and unconventional perspective
  4. Prevent making mistakes in your personal journals/ write ups
  5. Outshine your class mates in critique writing
  6. Communicate without being amateurish or bias
  7. Write a professional review
  8. Prevent the mistakes made by many critics
  9. Teach critique writing to your students

Before venturing into the enlightening world of critique technique, let’s firstly climb its definitive steps

WHAT IS A CRITIQUE

  • Definition

A critique can be defined as a process guided by systematic and disciplined of a written or verbal discourse. It is also called a critical review and should not be mistaken for a literature review. The French term critique was derived from a Greek word kritikē, which means “the faculty of judgement”.  It is also known as major logic, which is contrary to minor logic or dialectics.

Generally, it is misconceived as fault finding and negative judgement; however, it involves merit recognition, philosophical evaluation and mistakes rectification. The modern perception of critique is largely influenced by the discovery of prejudicial and authoritarian forms of critique; which, of course, championed the liberation of the “enlightened masses” politically and religiously.

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In summary, a critical review is a total form of texts , analyzing a specific write-up or book in detail.

  • Differences between critique and criticism

In some languages like French, German, and Italian there is no sharp distinction between the two terms, however, in English, the differences are crystal clear. According to Gianni Vattimo, a philosopher, “criticism is used more frequently to denote literary criticism or art criticism” which means that criticism is restricted to the interpretation and evaluation of literary and artistic works ; while critique can be generally used to refer to a  very  profound writing like Kant’s Critique of pure reason.

Since we now know the definition of critique and how it’s different from criticism, we can move forward to the world of critical techniques

HOW TO WRITE A CRITIQUE

A critique is written in response to a particular book and before you can critically review a book, you must have digested the book. The process of digesting the book is called the prewriting stage.

  • Prewriting Stage: this stage consists of seven questions, which assures that you are not just reviewing a book you have not read fully. Before writing, you should ask yourself some important questions, which are well listed below;
  1. What kind of book/article am I reviewing?It is important to know what type of book/article you are reviewing. This would aid certainty and better discretion. It is not advisable to review a book, whose type you are not good at.
  2. What are the main findings and stated limitations?There must be some things that the author lays more emphasis on and those are the main findings while the limitations are the topics that are not discussed in the book/article. Knowing the limitations in scope of the book is very necessary for added guidance when reviewing.
  3. Are the author’s sources valid or up to date?Here, you will have to do a lot of crosschecking and researching. In fact, this is the most tedious aspect of book reviewing
  4. What questions are raised and were those questions well addressed? Come to think of a review not just as a bulk of rectifications but also addendum to a book. The critique should contain some things that the author left out or unattended to. I’m not telling you to review out of the limitations of the scope: What I’m saying is to discover some unanswered questions raised by the author and provide answers or solutions to them in the review.
  5. Are there any misinterpretations or bias in the cook?This is the reason we emphasized on not being sentimental while writing a review. A good reviewer is meant to detect all forms of bias and misgivings in a book and provide a valid and unbiased alternative in his/her review.
  6. Are there any contradictions or text imbalances?No matter how good the author is, most times, authors contradict their points and this is a perfect opportunity for reviewers.
  7. What are other reviewers saying as regards this book and do you agree with them?Here, you have to be careful so as to prevent unnecessary war but you can just pass a pleasant dissenting or approving comment as regards other reviews
  • Writing stages:This stage is the active stage and this takes time. Make sure you do this carefully enough to prevent errors.
  1. Read, Reread and take notes in the process:The essence of reading thoroughly is to make sure that you fully understand the message, context and structure of the book. When taking notes, you are mandated to note the author’s mistake or misconceptions.
  2. Outline the notes taken: After reading and taking notes: you have to outline the notes for the sake of order.
  3. Summarize your findings:Personally I do not think the review of a book should be bulkier than the book itself. No matter how bulky your review is, try to summarize it without losing your points.
  4. Crosscheck your findings:You do not want to start pushing faulty claims up there for everyone to see. You want your claims  to be valid and in order to achieve that, you must crosscheck with valid sources.
  5. Conclude critically:The emphasis of critically was made to make sure the message of this article is not misinterpreted. When you are told to conclude, you have to do so without sentiment for or against the author.

FINAL THOUGHTS

We’ve been able to do justice to techniques involved in critical reviewing, but, you should never review a book, whose specialization you are not good at. Review only when you are well-informed in that field. Also, when writing a review, you should take your time so as to prevent unnecessary errors because no one wants to read a review filled with mistakes. Even a structural error can disapprove a review.