ELI 162
Writing a Good Critique

A critique is where you show that you understood the author's ideas, and you have something more to add to them. A critique should be more than just "Me, too" -- explain why you agree or disagree. (It's usually easier to write a critique if you can find something to disagree with or a weakness in the original article.)

There are certain steps to follow to create a good critique. You have some flexibility, but it's a good idea to start by following the steps exactly until you are more comfortable with the idea.

Thinking First

  1. Make sure you understand the original article. If you don't understand it, you won't be able to do a good critique.
  2. Find quotations from the original article that you will specifically agree or disagree with. Paraphrase them. It's okay if you do an exact quote with quotation marks for one example, but most of your examples will be paraphrases.
  3. Organize your ideas -- have a basic point of view that you will use the paraphrases to support.
  4. Write down the bibliographic reference - you will need the author's name and the exact title within your critique, and the full reference at the end.


  1. As the Subject in your e-mail message, say 'Critique of' and the title of your reading.
  2. Start with the author's name, the title of the reading, and the topic.
  3. Respond to what the author wrote in the way that you might discuss a topic with someone in person (don't forget to paraphrase the idea that you are agreeing or disagreeing with!):
    • You can agree or disagree with the content and say why
    • You can talk about what you found surprising or hard to believe
    • You can discuss the way the information was presented -- whether it was easy or difficult to understand, how it was organized, the quality of the graphics, etc.
    • You can talk about something the article reminded you of, such as a similar situation you were in yourself or what your friends or relatives in your country might say about a similar topic
  4. You can have any opinion you like about the reading, but you must be understandable and give reasons for what you say about it.
  5. At the end, make sure you put the full bibliographic reference. See Using Sources for help.

If you have questions, bring them to class or email me at Deborah.Healey@orst.edu

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Last updated 4/13/98 by D. Healey.