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Critical Review Reading Social Sciences Research Paper (Other (Not Listed) Sample)


Student is required to submit a Critical Reading Review as a course requirement. These "critical reviews" should be 5-6 pages in length (12-point font double spaced). Please do not exceed the 6 page limit. You should briefly summarize the author's arguments and then assess the reading. Like any essay, a reading review needs to have a thesis which you will argue or defend, using evidence from the text. However, the thesis of your review should not focus on whether you agree with the thesis of the author whom you are reviewing. Rather it needs to be your assessment of the text: how effective and persuasive it is, and how relevant it is to the topic.
You are not required to do any outside research for the Critical Review, although you may find that it helps you to situate the work under review within a broader literature. You can also draw on course readings to help provide context or illustrate your points. However, research is not necessary to do well and should be minimized. The article you are reviewing should be at the top of the first page of the review, not in a bibliography. Citations and a bibliography are required if you use any other sources, and you must document direct quotes/ideas taken from the piece under review.
This is the name of the article -(Freeman, V. (2010). “Toronto Has No History!”: Indigeneity, Settler Colonialism, and Historical Memory in Canada’s Largest City. Urban History Review/Revue d'histoire urbaine, 38(2), 21-35.)
The article will be attached along with the guidelines and the format and details of the assignment

Critical Reviews

You have probably read critical review articles in newspapers or even heard critics on TV review books, films, or plays. A critical review paper in political science is similar to these more popular forms in that it presents a critical analysis of a work based on knowledge of the field. To write a good critical review of a book or journal article, you need in-depth knowledge of the subject area.

Critical reviews begin with a citation of the author and work before the first paragraph. This information allows the reader to quickly identify the author and book or journal. For example, if you are writing a review of Robert Kaplan's book Warrior Politics, you must put the bibliographic information at the top of the page:

Robert D. Kaplan. Warrior Politics: Why Leadership Demands a Pagan Ethos. New York: Random House,          2002.

The first paragraph should contain more information about the author and the work, written in a "hook" format to get the reader's interest. Like all good expository writing, a critical review contains a thesis statement, reflecting your analysis of the work. The body of the review will contain an overview of the contents, a presentation of the main ideas, and your analysis of the work. Many students make the mistake of writing a long summary of the work, with only a few sentences of analysis at the end. The overview of the contents should be as brief as possible yet inform the reader of the major themes and ideas presented. The focus should be on the main arguments presented in the work and your critique of them.

An outline of the review can take two different forms, depending on the length of your review. For shorter reviews, the following paragraph organization is preferred:

 I. Introduction

II. Body

                A. Overview of the work

                B. The author's main arguments

                C. Criticism and analysis

                D. Comments on the value of the work

Ill. Conclusion


For longer reviews, deal with each argument before proceeding to the next one. Your outline will look more like this:

 I. Introduction

II. Body

                A. Overview of the work

                B. Author's first point with your analysis

                C. Author's second point with your analysis

                D. Author's third point with your analysis

Ill. Comments on the value of the work

IV. Conclusion

The main challenge of writing a critical review article is keeping the focus on an analysis of the author's views, not a presentation of your own opinions of the subject. You may have biases up front, which you may mention briefly in the introduction, but your ideas are not the focus of the article. For example, you may be an ardent economic nationalist reviewing a book defending free trade. It may be helpful for the reader to know that you come with an anti-free trade bias, but the purpose is not to discuss and explain your own views of the subject. Rather, you want to show that the author has not made a convincing case. You might simply want to highlight ideas that have caused you to rethink your position. To write a thorough and fair review, you need to be knowledgeable in the field you are writing about. Broad study in the area will help you answer the following questions when assessing the worth of the book or article:

  • What contribution does the book/article make to the study of politics?
  • How does the work compare with other works in the field?
  • What is new or original with this work?
  • Does it make new information available?
  • Does it provide an alternative interpretation of the topic?
  • How thorough is the author in presenting the research?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the book/article?
  • How will reading the book/article benefit the reader of your review?

A good review will place a book/article in the context of the subject being studied and the literature that may already exist. For example, suppose you wanted to review Shake Hands with the Devil, a book written by Lt. General Romeo Dallaire about his experiences as the commander of the United Nations peacekeeping force in Rwanda in 1994. It's important to know that during a period of 100 days, more than 800,000 Rwandans were murdered, despite the efforts of General Dallaire and his small group of peacekeepers to intervene.

In reviewing his book, you should place it in the context of the events in Rwanda and the subsequent writings debating the failings of the United Nations. Thus, the reader would have a feel for how important the book is on the subject of Rwanda, why it adds to knowledge on the subject, and why those interested should read it firsthand. You may need to place the book/article in the context of what other reviewers have said. Perhaps you disagree with another reviewer's critical analysis, or you feel that the author's contribution has been misunderstood and needs to be re-evaluated.

A critical review is not synonymous with criticism in a negative manner. Critical reviews can contain both positive and negative comments. If you think the author has done an excellent job, you should be prepared to give credit for it. Your assessment must also take into consideration the objectives of the book and critically assess whether the author has convincingly achieved them. You cannot criticize authors for not writing what was not intended. For example, you would not criticize this guide as being inappropriate for history students when it is not intended for that group.

To write a good critical review, it is useful to read some reviews of other political science books. Many political science journals, like the Canadian Journal of Political Science, have extensive book review sections. Also, many journals specialize in providing reviews of notable books, often written by other specialists in the field. Check out The New York Times Review of Books, The Times Literary Supplement, or the book section that is a regular feature of the Saturday Globe and Mail.

Keys to a critical review

  • Identify the author and the work.
  • Include a brief but accurate summary
  • Complete a thorough analysis of the main arguments.
  • Write a statement of the contribution this work has made.
  • Provide strong support for your praise and criticisms.


  • Writing a summary that is too long, with little or no analysis
  • Using repetitive starts to sentences and paragraphs (the author says, she states, she writes; Chapter One is about, Chapter Two is about)
  • Providing weak or insufficient support for your analysis
  • Including vague comments or too personal comments (I liked, I enjoyed, I think)



Critical Reading Review
Critical Reading Review
Freeman, V. (2010). “Toronto Has No History!” Indigeneity, Settler Colonialism, and Historical Memory in Canada’s Largest City. Urban History Review/Revue d'histoire urbaine, 38(2), 21-35.
Victoria Freeman is a Canadian author, educator, theatre artist, and public historian born in Ottawa. Freeman attended school at the University of Toronto where she attained her Ph.D. in History in 2010. The author is a lecturer at York University in Toronto, specifying in indigenous history. Her work on the history of Toronto is splendid in and towards the theme she wanted to achieve. Every argument stated in the article works closely to reveal that indeed, Toronto is not based on any history. The political system in the city adopted and started believing in the fact that Toronto occurred naturally in its specific place. The local settlers are not recognized, not to mention the dispossession of their role in the purchasing of the city from the Mississaugas. The settler immigrants are ignored and assumed not to have any impact on the becoming of Toronto city. The reading takes the route of incorporation of Toronto and ignores the significant part of founding the town. Hence, the 1834 Act of incorporation is crowned as the symbol of Toronto's modernity while the 1787 deed of Toronto purchase becomes irrelevant during and after the commemoration. The work on Toronto has no History attains the anticipated goals by stating the occurring changes in the fact of incorporation while ignoring the founding of the city, revealing the effectiveness of the author in convincing readers that the city indeed has no history.

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