critique (composition)

Glossary of Grammatical and Rhetorical Terms

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A formal analysis and evaluation of a text, production, or performance--either one's own (a self-critique) or someone else's. 

In composition, a critique is sometimes called a response paper.

Critiquing criteria are the standards, rules, or tests that serve as the bases for judgments.

See the observations below. Also see:

From the Greek, "discerning judgment"


  • Critiques and Summaries
    "Writing a critique is similar in many respects to writing a summary. Like a summary, a critique identifies the central problem or issue, defines the central claim, looks at the specific questions, notes experimental and theoretical approaches, and reviews the results and their significance. What a critique adds to a summary is the writer's own analysis and evaluation of the article. This does not mean, however, that the writer should seek only to point out the faults or flaws in an article. A critique should emphasize first what the article contributes to the field and then identify the shortcomings or limitations. In other words, a critique is a balanced appraisal, not a hatchet job."
    (H. Beall and J. Trimbur, "How to Read a Scientific Article," in Communicating Science: Professional Contexts, ed. by Eileen Scanlon et al. Taylor & Francis, 1998)
  • Identifying Strengths and Weaknesses
    "The critique is the process of objectively and critically evaluating a research report's content for scientific merit and application to practice, theory, and education. It requires some knowledge of the subject matter and knowledge of how to critically read and use critiquing criteria. . . .

    "Remember that when you are doing a critique, you are pointing out strengths, as well as weaknesses. Developing critical reading skills at the comprehension level will enable you to successfully complete a critique."
    (Geri LoBiondo-Wood and Judith Haber, Nursing Research: Methods and Critical Appraisal for Evidence-Based Practice. Elsevier Health Sciences, 2006)
  • Critiquing a First Draft
    "A critique is not a copyedit. It's a carefully thought out set of feedback about bigger issues than grammar . . .. If we, as writers, are doing things right, our first drafts are just that--first passes at words and phrases that are going to change . . . and change again. And if we, as critiquers, are doing our jobs, we're not going to get out that red pencil and mark every misplaced apostrophe or backward quotation mark. Not when we know those sentences may not even make it to the next draft."
    (Becky Levine, The Writing & Critique Group Survival Guide. Writer's Digest Books, 2010)
  • Self-Critiques in Creative Writing
    "Essentially, a critique is a scholarly piece of writing which explains the technical approaches you took in a particular, accompanying piece of creative writing.

    "An exegesis (in a creative writing discourse), similarly, is a scholarly piece of writing with a focus on textual analysis and comparison using literature which relates to your creative writing project. Usually an exegesis is longer than a critique and reads more like a dissertation. There tends to be greater emphasis on your chosen comparative text than on your own creative writing project, with a clear thesis linking the two.

    "The good news is, once you learn how to write a critique on your creative process, you will find that it actually helps you to better understand your creative writing . . .."
    (Tara Mokhtari, The Bloomsbury Introduction to Creative Writing. Bloomsbury, 2015)
  • Arguments and Critiques
    "It is important to be clear about what a critique is supposed to accomplish. A critique is not the same as a demonstration that the conclusion of someone's argument is false. Imagine that someone has circulated a memorandum arguing that your company retain your current legal counsel. You, however, are convinced that it is time for a change, and want to demonstrate that. . . . It is important to note here that you can prepare such a demonstration without mentioning any of your colleague's arguments or rebutting them. A critique of your colleague's demonstration, in contrast, requires you to examine the arguments in the demonstration and show that they fail to establish the conclusion that the current legal counsel should be retained.

    "Just as a demonstration of a contrary claim does not do the work of a critique, a critique does not accomplish what a demonstration of the contrary claim accomplishes: A critique of your colleague's demonstration does not show that its conclusion is wrong. It only shows that the arguments advanced do not establish the conclusion it is claimed they do."
    (C. Grant Luckhardt and William Bechtel, How to Do Things With Logic. Lawrence Erlbaum, 1994)

    Pronunciation: kreh-TEEK

    Also Known As: critical analysis