7 Characteristics of a Review

A review is a short text that informs about a work and values ​​it, whether it is a literary/scientific or artistic work. As a general rule, reviews are published in a newspaper or magazine, although they are also texts for academic use.

To fulfill its objective, reviews must meet certain characteristics.

1. Inform about the data of the work

A review is presented as a continuous text, which has an invisible structure that includes an introduction, a synthesis, a critical comment and a conclusion.

All reviews must begin with an introductory paragraph that gives specific information about the author, the title of the work, the place of publication and the publisher, the year of publication and the length of the book (or equivalent data in the case of other type of cultural product, such as a film, a play, etc.). Likewise, it must indicate succinctly what the topic is and its relevance in the sociocultural context in which it is inserted.

2. Present the main idea of ​​the work

Once the above is done, the writer of the review must report on the subject, and make the main ideas known to the reader, for which he must take into account the main objective and the secondary objectives of the analyzed publication.

3. Offer a synthesis of the work

In the following paragraphs, the review must make a synthetic exposition of the work that presents the following aspects: structure chosen by the author of the analyzed work, topics addressed, key ideas and most relevant concepts.

The synthesis should not be confused with a summary, since the editor is not analyzing the theme of the work but the way in which it is developed by the author and the validity of his approaches.

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4. Make a brief critical comment

When it comes to a critical review, the writer must end his exposition with a brief evaluation of the work done by the author of the book, which is different from giving an opinion on the subject in question.

The editor of the review will not comment on the subject, but on how the author has exposed, treated and developed it.

5. Present a conclusion

The review must contain a last paragraph in which the writer offers a conclusion on the subject studied. Once this is done, the author will be able to recommend the work, whether it is a book or another type of cultural product.

6. Be brief

Reviews are texts that must meet the criteria of brevity, since they are presented to give an idea about the interest or value of a work and not to replace it or analyze it in depth.

7. Have a constructive character

Reviews usually have a constructive nature, since their function is to assess and/or recommend a work. This is valid both for the case of reviews published in the press (recommending the work), and for academic reviews (assessing the work in the context of the discipline studied).

However, that the review is constructive, or that its purpose is to value, does not mean that it should be complacent. Assessing the successes and failures of a work whose importance has made it be reviewed also implies taking charge of what the reviewer has missed.

Now, when the intention is to make an in-depth evaluation to expose the limits and scope of a work, then we do not speak of a review but of criticism.

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See also:

  • Characteristics of an essay
  • Journalistic genres
  • Review