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Critical Reading
Critical reading checklist

The questions on this checklist 1 are designed as a guide to the process of reading academic texts critically and analytically. You can apply these questions to most academic texts. You may like to print the checklist out for future use.

Printable version of the critical reading checklist

bullet What is the author's approach/perspective?
bullet Is there another theoretical or philosophical approach which might have been taken?
bullet Who/what is left out of the text?
bullet Does the author write from an insider's/outsider's perspective? How does this effect what is included/excluded from the text?
bullet Do you agree with the points the author is making?

bullet Are the points made by the author supported by evidence?
bullet Is the evidence anecdotal or is the evidence the result of scientific study/research?
bullet Is the evidence referenced? Is it recent?
bullet Does the writer present opinion as fact?
bullet Does the writer use valid reasoning?
bullet Have any assumptions made by writer been made clear to the reader

bullet Does the writer oversimplify complex ideas?
bullet Does the writer make unsupported generalisations?
bullet Does the writer make reasonable inferences?
bullet Does the writer represent the ideas of others accurately? Fairly?
bullet Does the writer distort the ideas of others or present them out of context?

bullet Does the writer use unfair persuasion tactics such as appeals to prejudice or fear?
bullet Does the writer present a balanced picture of the issue?
bullet How would you characterise the writer's tone? How does the tone affect your response to the text?
bullet Does the writer's language, tone, or choice of examples reveal any biases? If so, do the writer's biases reduce his or her credibility?
bullet Do your reactions reveal biases in your own thinking?
bullet Does the text challenge your own values, beliefs, and assumptions?
bullet If the paper contains statistics, graphs, illustrations etc, are these adequately introduced and discussed and do they contribute to the author's argument?

The questions below are some that are especially relevant to research articles. 2

bullet Are the limitations of the procedures clear?
bullet Is the methodology valid? (e.g. size of the sample, method of sampling used)
bullet Are the results consistent with the objectives?
bullet Are the results verifiable?
bullet Are the claims the author makes about his or her own research internally consistent, that is, are the aims, method, results and conclusion of the research logically consistent with each other (i.e. what is argued on the basis of the research is supported by the results; the methodology allows the aims of the research to be achieved)?
bullet Are the diagrams clear to the reader?

1 The questions on this checklist are adapted from: Kirszner, L.G. & Mandell, S.R. (1992) The Holt Handbook Sydney: Harcourt Brace College Publishers, pp. 100-117.

2 These critical questions are adapted from: Journal Of Construction Engineering and Management, (1992), Vol 18, p.1-2.

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