When an academic assignment asks you to “critically review” or include a “critical analysis” of the work of other people, it generally means that you’ll need to “think critically”. This means analysing and assessing the work in terms of what the author was trying to achieve, the approach they took, how they conducted the research, and whether the outcomes were valid and acceptable. 

A critical review evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of an item’s ideas and content. It provides description, analysis and interpretation that assess the item’s value. It’s an exercise that can be carried out on many different types of writing, but is most often carried out on a report, a book or a journal article. 

Thousands of publications relevant to HR appear every year, via established journals, websites, management consultancy reports and universities all over the world. With so much information becoming available, many of which offer new ideas, new HR theories and approaches, it’s important that HR practitioners can evaluate whether what they read is valid, sound and unbiased. We can’t take everything we read at face value, and it’s an important skill, and a very important activity to conduct, if you’re going to base corporate change and your proposals to management on information from published sources. 

Selecting an item to review

The critical review process

Writing the critical review

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