A review essay is exactly what it sounds like. It is an evaluation of an author’s written work. Review essays are analytical in nature. They are supposed to dissect an author’s work, developing an argument that supports a particular theme, presenting evidence to strengthen the argument and then delivering a conclusion.
Review essays are not necessarily expected to hone your research skills. Rather, they are more concerned with your writing and analytical talents. The process of writing an essay of this sort typically involves the following:
1. You need to provide a title. You should also remember to provide all the relevant personal details such as the course number, the instructor’s name, and your name.
2. The first stage of a review essay requires that you ask some sort of question. If you don’t have a question, your teacher will encourage you to find a theme that your essay will address. Once this is done, you need to tell the reader the conclusion you have reached regarding your question or theme. You should explain the methods you will use to argue your stance.
3. At this point, all you have written in the introduction. Once it is complete, you can proceed to the body of your essay. This is where you take a deep dive into your theme. Tell the readers why it matters in the first place and what drove you to pursue it.
Start reviewing the works at the center of your review essay. In most cases, you are expected to make comparisons and contrasts in your effort to explore the theme or question at the center of your essay. It is in the body that you present the argument behind the conclusion you reached.
4. The body is the densest part of the essay. Once it is done, you can jump to what would pass for a conclusion to the essay. Here, you need to raise and respond to the criticisms that you expect your conclusion to attract. If there are additional questions raised by the work being reviewed, present them.
None of the steps outlined above are easy, so you must prepare for some late nights. You need to understand that review essays can take a variety of shapes and formats. There is no singular method of approaching the assignments in this field. For instance, Omnipapers recommends:
5. You can choose to tackle a single literary work. This normally involves identifying a relevant author and summarizing their work. Such essays are designed to not only restate ideas and arguments but to determine how effectively they accomplished their objectives.
6. You can tackle multiple works from the same author. This is a more difficult undertaking because you have to analyze multiple literary sources before finding some sort of thread that connects them. IN other words, you have to approach the individual works of a single author as singular pieces of the same puzzle that spell out a particular revelation about the author’s career. Such review essays are almost biographical.
7. If single works or the numerous works of authors are not your cups of tea, you have the option of exploring a single topic. This involves identifying a topic of interest and then comparing and contrasting the disparate views of various experts on that same topic.
Essays of this sort do not necessarily offer definitive conclusions. Rather, they reveal the attitudes that surround your topic of choice. They can also present new ways of interpreting or approaching the topic.
Some students will go so far as to critique the sources they are reviewing. This is also acceptable. Review essays can be very broad. This works in the favor of students because it gives them room to experiment. You just have to remember to select a striking topic for your review essay.
All review essays are expected to have a central theme or question, regardless of whether you are tackling single works, multiple works or single topics. Ensure that the focus of your essay is immediately engaging to the reader. This is the easiest way to hook your teacher’s interest. A teacher can take a lenient approach to score your essay if they were captivated by your work.
Of course, your writing and analytical skills are just as important. But the topic you choose matters far more than some students realize.
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