guidelines for critical reviews

A critical review is a step by step process of reviewing a written output critically, by performing a thorough analysis or examination. Conducting such analysis is somehow similar to a peer review due to the fact that the reviewer’s judgments or constructive arguments play an important role for the improvements of the writer or author; though, being critical does not necessarily mean that the reviewer criticizes the work negatively. Instead, he or she is required to come up with several questions that are relevant to assessing a researcher’s or writer’s work.

Critical reviews are conducted in order to make sure that the quality of one’s written work is qualified to the standards made for publishing. And in undertaking this kind of review, the reviewer could refer to the published or finalized journal review to get ideas and apply them in reviewing critically other writer’s work. Further on this article are some guidelines on how critical reviews are conducted using the respective form to complete the process. You will also know what are the essential parts or components of the critical review form.

The Essential Components of Critical Review Form

Here are the following essential components of a critical review form,. These are filled out in order to complete the process.

  • Citation refers to the basic elements or general information such as the full title, the author or writer’s name, the year for publication, the version or volume number, page numbers, the quotation in reference to the author, paper, and book.
  • The purpose of the study should be stated briefly, specifically, or in details. This should be determined in the introductory part of the written output, because it will help the readers identify the relevance of the written output. This will also help them determine whether the whole content is worth reading for, or not.
  • A review for the background literature used in the written output should also be included due to the fact that it identifies the differences between the current or contemporary knowledge, and the research regarding the subject matter. This justifies the reason why such study is necessary to be outlined, and whether the background literature is compelling and relevant to the study.
  • The study design refers to the way or style of how the author expresses his or her ideas and in what way are these organized. The most common way of designing is by outlining each personal statement following an actual basis for easier way of determining what type of study is conducted, and whether the design is appropriate for the study research. This is also used to test the intellectual knowledge of the writer or the author regarding the issue.
  • The sample or sampling which justifies the answer to the question whether the examples used in the written work is described specifically. This also includes the information of who are the people involved, how many are they and what are their individual characteristics. The provision of an informed consent is sometimes involved in the completing the process.
  • The collection of data or information should also be specified in order for the criticisms to have a basis or an evidence. This part often answers the question whether the descriptions of different events or ideas are complete, accurate and precise. The information to be written in this part should be relevant to the written work, such as the further personal information of the people involved and their relation to the researcher, writer, or author.
  • The data analysis is where the methods used are described, and the findings are further specified. When all the findings are listed in an organized manner, it is justified whether these are consistent with and reflective of data. This part includes the process of how data are analyzed accordingly.
  • The outcomes which specify the result measurements are somehow similar to what actions were made. Examples for these are the pre, post, and follow up measures. Once these are identified and listed, the reliability and validity of these outcome measurements should be justified.
  • The specification of the intervention should also be described in terms of the topic’s focus; who is responsible of delivering it. It should also be specify whether the contamination is avoided.
  • The results should be reported in terms of statistical significance, and the analysis methods that are used should be appropriate for the study. This includes the information whether there are any drop-outs from the study.
  • The conclusions and the implications found or resulted from the study should be indicated, as well as the scope and limitations or biases in the study.

Methods Used in Critical Reviews

The following below are the common methods that are often used when critical reviews are conducted. Refer to these and apply what you think is best in order to have a successful output or outcome for critical reviewing.

  • Through some observations of few participants, the quality of one’s work and its implications are determined. Though this method could really be time consuming and costly. This can also be done with the use of observational feedback forms.
  • Through interviews, readers can give their opinions and insights from the documents that they have read. This is actually the fastest way to get a feedback, though, there are also some complications when this method is used. An example of this is when the participants are not able to express their opinions and ideas. This process can also be completed with the use of interview feedback forms.
  • A document review is mandatory done most especially when research involves historical events. This is to make sure if the research information is validated, which means these have some actual basis. Nevertheless, conducting document reviews could determine the context within the subject or the study.
  • Focus group is a group of people or participants who are interviewed regarding the topic. This is said to be one of the most effective ways of reviewing one’s work critically because more people can share their individual ideas and insights regarding the subject matter.
  • Another method that is commonly used is the provision of a survey or an interview questionnaire. However, this method is not often taken seriously by most of the majority.

Guidelines for Critical Reviews

These are few of the several tips that you could refer to when conducting a critical review. Take note of each, and use whenever necessary.

  • For a better way of undertaking this type of reviewing one’s work, engage the reviewer in a reading comprehension activities in order to develop and enhance skills.
  • The reviewer should be aware of the mechanics used in judging a writer’s work.
  • All the requirements should be compiled in order to have a successful critical review.
  • All reviews, quality feedback, or comments should be based on facts and not on opinions of one’s self.
  • The reviewer should have a full understanding of the topic in terms of its structures and methods.
  • There should be criteria or a basis for reviewing one’s written work.
  • The reviewer should be familiar with how the work is written and be knowledgeable about the methods and components of critical reviews.
  • All data collected or gathered from the review should be written in an organized manner. It is better that each fact is outlined.
  • The reviewer should be able to identify the facts or data used by the author or the writer.
  • All information should be written accurately, concisely and precisely.
  • The reviewer should have a focus on the review.
  • The document subject for critical review should be summarized accordingly. Thus, containing all necessary and general information.
  • Proper evaluation of the document or the writer’s work should be observed because critical reviews are analyses that require proper examination of all elements such as the structure, methods, evidence, conclusions, and the logic used.
  • The reviewer should also be able to read critically, having a sharp mind to do numerous amount of data and writing an analysis.
  • The reviewer should have the characteristics of an effective reviewer.
  • The results or conclusions regarding the reviews should be explained well in a few words. In other words, these facts should be straight to the point.
  • The reviewer should be able to review the work in a timely manner, thus, avoiding any delays. If it happens that further review is needed to be made, a deadline or due date should be provided.

By means of reviewing critically a written output, the person to review such document is required to read all contents in detail and summarize in few words as he or she evaluates each statement or facts. Part of the requirement is reading other related documents in order to have a fair and reasonable evaluation of the written document for critical review. For a successful output or outcome of undertaking a critical review, the reviewer should be able to understand the overall topic from cover to cover. In other words, he or she should at least attempt to comprehend the topic by looking at it from the different perspectives and relating each to the different approaches.

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