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Archive for October, 2007

The word “critique” intimidates a lot of folks. It shares the same root as “criticize,” which once was a neutral word between praise and censure, but now it carries mostly a negative meaning.  Yet, “critique,” in its best sense (and the one I would hope to use) is “examining and describing the strengths and weaknesses” of a piece of writing.

For different forms of writing, there are different issues. In a piece of fiction, character development is an issue. Not so with an essay or many forms of non-fiction. So given the genre of the piece, explore what is important to the reader: why would a reader pick this item to read? In what ways did the author meet those reader expectations? In what ways could the author have better met expectations. Since you were “a reader,” you offer expert feedback to the author.

If you are unsure on how to give a “constructive critique,” use the approach of completing both of the two following statements:

1.  What I liked best about the paper was ….

2. What I liked least about the paper was ….

Give details; provide examples of your assessments. 

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