Portfolio | Research
You will develop a portfolio of resources by writing five critical reviews. A critical review requires you to summarise and evaluate an article, and find additional articles to support your evaluation. Each critical review should include an introduction, a summary, a critique, a conclusion and references. Each critical review should be 400-500 words. The articles to evaluate will be provided on the unit website.
In the introduction, you should identify the thesis, or aim of the article. You should also provide an overview of your critique. In other words, is your critique mostly positive, negative or a mix of both?
Use the SQ3R method to summarise the article:
- Survey/scan the article and identify the main topics from the headings and the first sentence of each paragraph
- Use listed aims, goals or objectives to ask yourself what am I about to learn?
- Read Actively, e.g., by reading aloud
- After each paragraph, look away and repeat the key aspects; and
- After you have read a section, paraphrase the section using reporting verbs, e.g., Lee argues that…
To critique the article, you should discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the article:
- Evaluate the significance, the methodology, the arguments, and the style used in the article,
- Find at least one other reference that supports or refutes the central theme of the paper,
- Make recommendations for improving the article.
You do not need to evaluate mechanics such as grammar or spelling errors.
The following table should help focus your evaluation (UNSW, 2014).
|Consideration||Possible focus questions|
|Significance & contribution to the field||What is the author’s aim?
To what extent has this aim been achieved?
What does this text add to the body of knowledge? (This could be in terms of theory, data and/or practical application)
What relationship does it bear to other works in the field?
What is missing/not stated?
Is this a problem?
|Methodology or approach (this usually applies to more formal, research-based texts)||What approach was used for the research? (e.g., quantitative or qualitative, analysis/review of theory or current practice, comparative, case study, personal reflection etc…)
How objective/biased is the approach?
Are the results valid and reliable?
What analytical framework is used to discuss the results?
|Argument and use of evidence||Is there a clear problem, statement or hypothesis?
What claims are made?
Is the argument consistent?
What kinds of evidence does the text rely on?
How valid and reliable is the evidence?
How effective is the evidence in supporting the argument?
What conclusions are drawn?
Are these conclusions justified?
|Writing style and text structure||Does the writing style suit the intended audience? (e.g., expert/non-expert, academic/non-academic)
What is the organising principle of the text? Could it be better organised?
Critical Review Example
Complete and submit the self-evaluation form with your portfolio.
UNSW 2014, Writing a Critical Review, viewed 24 January
The assignment criteria includes aspects such as:
- Quality of your summaries, critiques, and recommendations,
- Organisation of your document,
- Strength of your arguments and quality of your reference sources, and
- Your writing mechanics, e.g., spelling, grammar and referencing.
The complete assignment criteria is provided in the self-evaluation form.
Marks will be deducted for aspects such as, but not limited to, no self-evaluation, not completing all five critical reviews, insufficient references, and not adhering to the word limit for each critical review.
Use the SQ3R method to get the most out of your study materials
Survey—look through the set text section and identify the main topics
from the headings or the first sentence of each paragraph—this will
give you the big picture of what is covered within the text.
Question—ask yourself what am I about to learn? If the study material
contains statements of aims, goals, purpose or objectives, these will help
you answer this question.
Read—try to read actively, for maximum retention and understanding.
For example, read aloud to yourself (in private), so that you make use
of sight, sound and movement.
Recite—after each paragraph or sub-section stop, look away from the text,
and repeat to yourself, either aloud or in your mind, what you have just
read. If you cannot recite the key aspects, re-read the paragraph until you
Review—when you have completed a whole section, go back and
write down a summary of the main aspects of the section. Writing is an
important means of processing information, and of learning.
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