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Criticaster – an Incompetent Critic or How Not to Spoil a Good Critical Review

Any position or argument that cannot be subjected to a critical review is not qualified for an intellectual discourse. Now, the number one task is to understand what a critical review is. When a person posits or puts down ideas about a subject in an article, people are called upon to read and think clearly and carefully and come out with analysis of the ideas expressed in the said article according to what the author has penned down and the information they have about the point in discourse. Here, ideas expressed in the article are evaluated, summarized and reviewed to come out with your own idea hinging on the weaknesses and strengths of the article in question.

Now, while making a critical review, there are two things that are paramount, and they will lead you to arrive at a very good review if you abide by them. The first is the acquisition of information as expressed in the article and this is done through reading and understanding of what is posited by the writer. Now, you must not limit yourself to the text under question when you want to get the best of information about the subject being discussed. You must get ideas and information from related texts.

The next is the thorough questioning of every bit of information and idea presented in the article or text so as to evaluate and arrive at an informed judgment.

For you to review efficiently, you must know the central idea under discussion and the purpose that the write up in question is meant to achieve. Never jump into a critical review because of shallow information or blanket idea about a topic. Understand the context in which the idea is being used and the result it is meant to achieve. You must also have great information about the audience the article or text is meant to address. Whenever you are evaluating, concentrate on the theories, frameworks and approaches and not just on the conclusions made.

All the content must be analyzed according to concepts and you have to do this separately according to components. When you do, seek for the interrelation and connection between the different components, and how they can influence each other.

You can start by following these simple steps:

  • Ascertain if the text is balanced or biased
  • Ascertain if it is a fair article
  • Seek for ways of summarizing all the points
    Seek for the relationship between this and other literature you have read on the topic
  • Evaluate the interpretations posited by the author
  • Look at the main issues the writer raised
  • Know where the author got his or her evidence
  • And know the area that is being reviewed and discussed

You have to answer all these questions, and be sure that your answers are not biased too. And the last thing you should remember is that you should know where the author is coming from and where he is heading to, his personality is not to be considered when evaluating, so that you do not mix the author with what he wrote to the extent of going ad hominem. If you do, it will affect the outcome of the review negatively.

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Nov 9, 2015

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