Rhodes, R (2004), ‘Everyday life in the ministry’ American Review of Public Administration, 35: 1, 2005 3-25. DOI: 10.1177/0275074004271716

A critical review requires you to analyse an academic text. The review involves two parts – a summary and an evaluation. The summary should cover the main points, or you may be selective and decide to examine just one aspect of the text given the word constraints. It should not contain too much detail and should be more than just a list of points, the links between the points should be clear. The evaluation part, then, should evaluate the argument in the text.

You can write the review in a series of points rather than text if you prefer, given the word limit. But you must provide some evidence that you assessing the quality of the argument. The word ‘critical’ can seem negative as it is associated with condemning, disparaging, judging or finding fault. But a critical essay should also be positive: it evaluates, analyses, interprets and explains.