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Anthropology

Assignment type

Read your assignment!

Before you start, make sure you understand what the assignment is asking for.

Highlight key parts (e.g. due date, requirements). 

How to write a critical review of an article

Check out the steps listed in the Assignment Tracker template.

Keywords

Keywords are the main ideas or concepts of your research question. Find your keywords in the main ideas presented in the book.

Brainstorm synonyms for these main ideas. 

You'll use these keywords for your searches.

1. Read the article.

You can't review something you haven't read.

A critical review asks you to examine the ideas of another person from your perspective

Keep in mind that you will need to summarize and evaluate the main ideas as well as fulfill the criteria on your assignment sheet.

An article review is similar to a book review - you're just doing a critical review of a different format.

2. Evaluate the article's main points.

As you read, keep track of the article's main points and your reactions to the ideas. It might be helpful to underline and write notes in the margins of the article or make a table like this:

Article's main points My responses
An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

What scientific evidence is there to support this claim?

How does the author support this claim in the article?

What are the origins of this theory? Is this the original source of this theory or has is the author building upon pre-existing ideas?

and so on...   

 
These responses should be valid academic points - it's not enough to say that it's a "good" or "bad" idea. You need to explain why. 

3. Library research

You'll need to give your review some context. Your professor may ask you to consult other works.

Use keywords in the library search to find other resources on the same topic. If you search using the title of the article, you'll only find the article and others' reviews of the article.   Use Google Scholar to locate works which have cited this article.

Take a look at the Books and Articles tabs in this guide for tips on how to search.

As you read these sources, take notes in your own words to avoid unintentional plagiarism.

4. Write and edit

Time to bring it all together.

Use the strategies outlined in the Student Success Centre's Figuring out an outline.

If you're unsure about the writing process, visit the Student Success Centre's Online Writing Resources or book an appointment with them.

Cite

Not citing your sources = plagiarism

American Anthropological Association style guide (AAA) has been discontinued as  of September 2015.  AAA now follows the Chicago Manual of Style (Author-Date format).   See also:  Chicago Manual of Style - quick guide

Primatology uses APA Author-Date. 

If your professor has chosen neither of these styles, check out the Student Success Centre's guides to citing.

Note for online sources you need to add the DOI or stable URL to end of the citation in the Reference Cited list.  

Guides to writing book reviews

This guide was created with information from these sources:

 

 Writing  a Critical Book Review University of Toronto

How to Write a Book Report and a Book ReviewConcordia University

Writer's Handbook: Writing Book ReviewsUniversity of Wisconsin - Madison