How to Correctly Critique a Piece of Literature

When creating a literature review, the term 'critique' serves two purposes. The first is to negatively evaluate the piece in a constructive manner; exploring mistakes, alternate meanings and common misconceptions.

Meaning of the Literature

The second term is to positively explore the meaning behind a piece of literature; to understand the angles of approach, to identify the thought process behind the author and to better grasp the emotion conveyed within the piece where applicable.

Five W's of a Literature Review

For a constructive Literature Review, you must consider the five W's; Who, What, Why, When and Where. As you are able to identify these methods, you will begin to understand with a clean insight in to how your literature review will shape itself.

The first step is to ask 'Who'. Who wrote this piece of literature? Who is this person, real or fictional? Understanding a person's name and details will then allow you to perform the second step, 'What' is their reasoning? What do they intend to portray with this piece of literature?

The third step is to understand 'Why' the author has written this piece of text; why did they choose to write about this topic? We then move on to 'When'. When was this piece written, how long did it take? When do the details within the text need to be taken in to account?

The final step is 'Where' is the author coming from? Again, are they real or are they a character, which angle are they coming from and where does their writing lead you?

With these five points of understanding, you will be able to correctly critique a piece of literature in a constructive manner.

You will be able to identify, recognise and explore the hidden meaning within the text, proposing positives and negatives about the piece and create unbiased feedback and evaluations based on your views and thoughts.