Critical Approaches in Writing

Various critical approaches govern the writing of a reaction paper/ review/critique. Theoretical framework is to research as a critical approach is to a reaction paper/review/critique. A critical approach provides the basis that grounds the critique, giving it a solid foundation. It answers the question: What principle did the writer use?

Read the following book review. Take note of the author’s approach in explaining the book.

In the sample book review, the writer grounded her ideas using the biographical approach. The review would have been less credible if she had explained the book purely from a personal perspective. By layering her ideas with references to the author’s background and experiences both in childhood and adulthood, the review was able to provide deeper insights into the elements of fantasy and realism found in the book. Critical approaches abound, and the following list is just a partial What is the importance of being a summary of the critical approaches that are used in various fields, critical? Why must something he particularly literature, sociology and other social sciences, assessed using critical lenses?

This approach relies on the use of formal elements affecting the situation or event. This is the most basic of all approaches and relies on what can be said of the event or phenomenon on the basis of form, content, and style. If you use this approach, be prepared to discuss the event, place, or thing in relation to its structure, message, and theme. When writing about a seminar-workshop for example, be sure to assess the event in terms of its purpose, logistics, flow of the program, and resource speaker/s. Similarly, when you write a book review using this approach, your intent is to evaluate the merit of the book in terms of its structure, symbols, and meaning.

This approach recognizes that social and cultural environments have a tremendous effect on events and situations. When you use this approach, you should consider the time, social milieu, political climate, and socio-political context in relation to the event or phenomenon that you are writing about. This approach requires that you consider the work in relation to the period during which it was written. Further, this approach argues that the work is influenced by everything around it, including the way the event or phenomenon is perceived by people in society.


The historical approach focuses on the cultural and socio-political context of a particular era or time.

This approach relies on the fact that readers bring with them their own interpretation of the text. If you decide to use this approach, you should consider that the readers are able to construct their own interpretation of the event or situation. This approach is based on the premise that the text is not complete until the readers have interacted with it, and that the work is in a constant process of influencing and being influenced by the readers.

This approach concerns itself with how the event or phenomenon is perceived from a viewpoint that assumes that men and women have sex-ascribed roles in society. It has been argued that men and women think differently and therefore construct meaning differently. If you use this approach, you need to consider the work in terms of your sexual identity, as well as those involved in the event. In writing about an event using this approach, you need to view it from your own vantage point as either a male or a female. In writing about a fashion event for instance, you might wish to express your view about the way the female models are presented. When reviewing a book using this approach, you might wish to consider the roles given to men in relation to those given to women to see if they are treated equally, or if there is an imbalance.


The feminist approach takes into account feminist issues such as the role and position of women in society.

This approach is premised on the fact that the author’s life has a significant bearing on how the work is written and how it will take shape. Circumstances including the author’s education, background, and way of life are reflected in the writing. This approach is based on the premise that in the act of writing, the author is not just writing about the work but bringing into the work an entire belief system and a whole set of circumstances, both past and present.