What is a Critique?

What is a Critique?

A question that many students ask whenever a lecturer asks them to write a critique is “what is a critique?” You might think that the lecturer implies being derogatory or negative but this is not true. Usually, a critique implies a means of approaching the ideas of other people. It simply means to evaluate, to question and to consider the validity and accuracy of information and ideas of others. A critique can be defined as a method of systematic, disciplined analysis of an oral or written discourse- en.wikipedia.org.

Some people understand critiquing as a negative judgment and fault finding. However, it can involve recognizing merit. In the tradition of philosophy, it also implies a methodical doubt practice. In the contemporary context, enlightenment critique of authority and prejudice has largely influenced the definition of a critique. This is because enlightenment critique championed the autonomy and emancipation from political and religious authorities. Critique as a term is derived from κριτική, which in Ancient Greek means the judgment faculty. That is, discerning things’ or persons’ value.

What is a critique in writing?

While writing a critique, your job is basically to evaluate and to question different perspectives. While doing that, you should establish and support your position- monash.edu.au. A critique usually means that you have to evaluate the weaknesses and strengths of a response, an idea, a theory or a framework. A critique evaluates the useful elements of a work, problems, competing perspectives and what can be supported better.

It is important to note that a critique varies depending on the discipline and task. For instance, a critique for a literature review chapter is different from a critique for a journal article in the sense that, a journal article is based on current literature. However, regardless of the work that you are required to critique, you are expected to integrate broader literature of the work or its context.

Types of critiques

There are different types of critiques depending on what is being critiqued.

They include:

  • Creative works critiques- These involves critical analysis and evaluation of films, exhibits, novels, poetry and images among other creative works.
  • Research critique: This entails critically evaluating and summarizing journal articles, theories, systematic reviews, and monographs.
  • Media critiques: These entail critical analysis of feature articles and news reports.

Just like essays, critiques are written in a formal, academic style. Their structure is also clear since they have an introduction, the body and the conclusion. Nevertheless, a summary and detailed evaluation of the work that is being critiqued is involved in the body of critiques.

What is a critique supposed to do?

The purpose of a critique is simply to gauge the impact or usefulness of the work in a given field.

After reading your critique, readers should develop the following:

  • Knowledge of the subject area of the work or the related works.
  • Comprehension of the purpose of the work, the target audience, how the argument is developed in the work, evidence structure or the style of the evidence.
  • Recognition of the weaknesses and strengths of the entire work- citewrite.qut.edu.au.

Good critiques are written after proper preparation. Before you write a critique, you need to know or to determine what you need or want to critique. You must also know what your critique is expected to accomplish. Thus, a critique is more than a judgment of whether you dislike or like a piece of work. It involves a description of the work, interpreting it and evaluating it. These are the three major considerations that every critique writer must consider before writing a critique- albany.edu.

Elements of a good critique

Perhaps, the reason why you may ask what is a critique is because you have never written one. In that case, you need to know what a good critique should encompass. Usually, a critique should be based on your own disagreement or agreement with the side of the creator of the original work. The disagreement or agreement should be based on the validity of the facts or content of the work that you are critiquing.

Therefore, your critique should include:

  • Analysis, evaluation and determination of the accuracy and completeness of the provided information.
  • Analysis and evaluation of the relevancy of the provided information to the field or issue.
  • Analysis of the provided definitions of the key terms. Are they clear, adequate or universal?
  • Analysis and evaluation of the logical consistency of the creator of the original work. This entails finding fallacious logic which the creator may have used to support his/her argument.

Your argument on whether you disagree or agree with the proofs and views of the creator should be based on these elements and the information gathered from the work. It is important that you discuss the specific reasons for disagreeing or agreeing with something that the creator of the work says. Remember that the value of any critique as a document in the field of academics depends on the ability of the writer to precisely express the reason for disagreeing or agreeing with the creator of the original work- csub.edu.

Steps in writing a critique

The first step in writing a critique is studying the work. Most professors know how to determine if you actually studied the work before writing the critique.

Other steps in writing a critique are as follows:

  1. Make notes on the major parts of the piece.
  2. Develop a comprehension of the purpose or main argument that the creator of the work is expressing.
  3. Consider how the piece relates to the broader context or issue.

Structure of a critique

The structure of a critique may vary depending on the instructions given by the professor. However, the general template of a critique has the following features:

  • Introduction

The introduction of a critique is usually short, below 10 percent of the work. It includes the introduction of the work that is being critiqued, its creation date and the creator’s name. It also includes the description of the purpose or main argument of the work. Additionally, it explains the context and signposts of the evaluation.

  • Summary

This summarizes the major points of the work briefly while describing the way they are portrayed by the creator using different techniques, media, styles, symbols or characters. The critique should not focus on this summary and the summary should be shorter than critical evaluation.

  • Critical evaluation

What is a critical evaluation of a critique? This is another question that most students ask after getting the answer to the question, “what is a critique?” Critical evaluation is the section of a critique that provides a detailed and systematic assessment of various elements of a work as well as the evaluation of how the author uses these elements to realize the purpose of the work.

For instance, critical evaluation can assess characterization, plot structure and novel setting. Note that critical evaluation should not highlight the negative impressions only. It ought to deconstruct the entire work while identifying its weaknesses and strengths. It should also examine and evaluate the work as well as its success in regards to its purpose.

Note that critical evaluation should be written in an academic style. It should be presented logically with ideas grouped and ordered properly starting with broad impressions moving on to technical elements’ details.


This section of a critique is usually very brief. It includes a statement of the evaluation of the entire work. It also includes a summary of the major reasons that were identified in the critical evaluation and the reason for critiquing the work. Additionally, the conclusion can recommend some improvements for the work where or if appropriate- marietta.edu.

Perhaps, after knowing what is a critique you might be asking what differentiates it from other types of academic writing? Basically, features like critical evaluation and the focus of a critique are what differentiate a critique from other academic writings. A critique of works like a book contains an analysis and a summary of the work. This gives ideas to readers who may not know about the work a glimpse of it in terms of the topic, organization of the work, the author and concentration of the work.

What a good critique does not do

A good critique does not;

  • Include ideas of the writer that are signaled by statements like “I think…”
  • Assume that mentioning the title of the work that is being critiqued is not important.
  • Ignore controversy that surrounds the subject or work that is being critiqued.

If you are yet to understand what a critique is, read this sample article critique online at Premiumessays.net.

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If your lecturer has asked you to write a critique and you are finding it difficult? If so contact us for assistance. You should also visit our homepage for more details regarding our writing services. Alternatively, keep reading for more information about critiques and how to write one on this blog.