Skip to Main Content

Critical and evaluative reading

A way of engaging actively with the resources you need to study.

5 things you need to know...

Critical and evaluative reading is a way of engaging actively with the resources you need to study.

  1. Take time to have a first look at the topic you are studying - consider the range of resources you might use. Don’t spend a long time focusing on a single resource only to discover that there might be other better sources available.

  2. Decide what type or types of information you need to use. Do you need books, journal articles, scientific reports or case studies? There is a vast amount of material you could use- consider what you need most to back up the arguments you want to make.

  3. Evaluate all the material you have already gathered. Try using a set of criteria to decide if the resources you are using are fit for use at University level.

  4. Question the resources you intend to use - do they really match the focus of the work you have been asked to do. Are there are other sources you could find? Are they pitched at academic level?

  5. Read actively- engage with the material rather than reading it passively. Question and challenge the resources you have found and make notes as you read. Do you agree with the author? Do the arguments in his/her writing strengthen or weaken the case you are making?



Need to know more ...

UNIVERSITY OF LEICESTER (2009) What is critical reading? (online) Available from [Accessed 16th December 2015]

JACOBS, R. (2001) A beginner’s guide to critical reading. London: Routledge

WALLACE, M. & WRAY, A. (2011) Critical reading and Writing for Postgraduates. 2nd Ed. London: Sage


UNIVERSITY OF EAST LONDON. (2015) Write it right-critical reading and critical thinking. (2mins 23 seconds)