critical REVIEW of literature
The ability to think logically and critically is one of the most important skills that you can develop during your undergraduate degree. Specific details from the
units you have studied may not be remembered for long unless you are using the information regularly; however the ability to critically analyse the literature will
enable you to find and effectively evaluate information as you need it. It is important to note that being critical does not just mean being negative, it also includes
an ability to note the positive aspects of what you are reading and to attempt to put aside any personal bias in order to evaluate a piece of writing on its merits.
You should never assume that anything you read is completely accurate or without bias. Rather you should read with a critical eye.
Clarity of expression is important in your review. Avoid using complex sentences or long words when simple ones are sufficient. Write objectively with reasoned
arguments to support your contentions about the article and avoid using direct quotes at all costs. Your aim should be to convince the reader that you have read and
understood the article and appreciate its relevance to its area of study.
Don’t expect to produce a perfect review if it is your first attempt. Critically reviewing the literature is a skill that develops with practice and this assignment
has been included to assist you to develop this important skill.
YOUR REVIEW SHOULD INCLUDE:
1. A concise summary of the paper for others who have not read it. This should include a description of the authors’ aims, their methodology and the key findings of
the paper. All papers published in scientific journals usually include an abstract. You can model your description of the article on the abstract however, it is
important that you do this in your own words and that the description uses “plain” or non-technical language.
2. Your critique of the paper. This part should put the paper into context and it is in this section that you state and comment on (with reference to similar
literature) the strengths and/or weaknesses that you have identified in the article. This section should include information about the quality of the paper from both a
reporting point of view and quality of the science based on the available scientific literature. The critique can be divided into three sections.
2.1. Introduction – This should give your overall impression of the paper and should identify key several points (either positive or negative) that you will be
discussing in the body of your review. The key points you identify may relate to the justification for conducting the study, how well the methods and results in the
paper you are reviewing fit with those of similar papers, and whether the contents advance the knowledge base in the area.
CXA385 Nutrition and Disease Semester 1 2015
2.2. Analysis – This part will expand on the key points that you have identified providing reasons for your opinions. To do this you will have to read other similar
papers and a good way to find these may be to look at the papers that are referenced in your paper, and/or to search for similar papers by entering keywords into a
reputable search engine (e.g. PubMed http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez). Don’t forget to include any papers that you may refer to in your review in a reference
2.3. Conclusion – Pull the critique together and make your own recommendations regarding the quality of the paper.
REMEMBER – Your review needs to analyse and evaluate the value of the article, not just summarize. A summary merely reports what was done. A critical review analyses,
interprets, and evaluates the text, seeking to answer the questions why?, how? and importantly, how well?
LENGTH OF ASSIGNMENT
You should prepare an article review between 800 – 1,000 words) including a concise description (< 200 words) and the critique (600-800 words). You must include a word
count in your critical review underneath the title of the paper reviewed, as per the example review provided to you. The word count excludes the title of the paper you
are reviewing and your references.
Use 12 point Times New Roman font, with at least 1.5 line spacing. All page margins should be set to 2 cm.
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