How to Write a Dissertation Critique: Examples & Guide 2021

Dissertation critique writing develops the students’ critical and logical thinking abilities. When composing, the students learn to analyze the works conducted by other researchers.

To critique a dissertation, you should:

  • Thoroughly read the paper.
  • Take notes and summarize the text.
  • Interpret and evaluate the dissertation.
  • Develop a structure for your critique.
  • Write it and polish your writing style.

In this article, we will discuss the aspects of the dissertation critique writing in detail. Our experts gathered essential tips regarding the subject. Follow these easy instructions and check the dissertation critique examples to present a profound analysis.

📝 How to Critique a Dissertation?

First of all, choose a written dissertation published within the last five years for writing your dissertation critique. The dissertations should present some empirical research based both on primary and secondary data analysis.

Before you start writing, you would need to get ready. The first step would be to conduct a critical reading of the thesis. While reading, you can ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is the purpose of the dissertation?
  • Did the author convince you with the help of their evidence?
  • Is there any bias in the text?
  • How did the text affect you?

Put down notes while you’re reading. It will help you critique the work more thoroughly.

When writing a thesis critique, remember that it should include the following points:

  • Information about the dissertation and its contents.
  • Interpretation of the text, where you explain its meaning after a thorough analysis.
  • Evaluation of the work, where you discuss its validity and importance.

Mind that you should be impartial when writing a dissertation critique. Your paper is intended to give the reader a general assumption of the work they never studied before and present its profound analysis.

See the structure with dissertation critique examples:

1. A critique starts with an introduction. It includes the name of the author, the title, and the main points of the dissertation. There can also be some background information about the author, e.g., other works they have written, the work’s thesis statement (usually it can be found on the first page), and the author’s hypothesis.

Example:

  1. E.g., The author of the dissertation participated in a Dissertation Fellowship program.
  2. E.g., The purpose of the thesis is to determine the best methods of teaching mathematics to pre-schoolers.
  3. E.g., The author hypothesizes that mathematics should be taught using games.

2. Then, write a summary of the dissertation. Discuss the research conducted by the author, the methods they used, and their findings. The overview should cover all the critical information in the thesis. But don’t make it too lengthy—two pages will do.

Example:

  1. E.g., The author conducted their research on two separate groups of children. One group was studying mathematics through games, the other learning it by rote.
  2. E.g., The results show that games are more effective than learning by rote

3. After the summary, you can begin your critique. Write about the dissertation’s strong and weak points, its style, effectiveness, credibility, etc. Bear in mind that your opinions should be informed and well-grounded. Don’t forget to support your critique with evidence from the text!

Example:

  1. E.g., The small sample size chosen by the author (only 30 participants) doesn’t allow to generalize their findings.
  2. E.g., There is bias in the author’s assumptions that makes their research less credible.

Finally, write a conclusion. Here you can summarize the key points of your analysis and comment on the significance of the research. You may also give the direction for future research.

Example:

  1. E.g., A larger sample will help to make the findings more accurate.
  2. E.g., Further research is needed to establish the most effective ways of teaching mathematics to pre-schoolers.

✍️ Dissertation Critique: Writing Style

There are some rules regarding critique writing. For example, the length of the dissertation critique is about five pages. It is done in prose-style according to academic writing requirements.

Here are some of the most popular dos and don’ts on academic style writing:

  • Formal texts often use third-person pronouns and rarely uses the pronoun “I.”
  • In academic writing, the passive voice is often used.
  • When writing in formal style, you avoid vague and slang expressions.
  • It is objective and is characterized by the frequent use of examples.
  • Formal words are frequently used (e.g., “therefore,” “furthermore,” “NB”).
  • In academic writing, you avoid contractions, because they are considered colloquial (use “do not” instead of “don’t,” “it is” instead of “it’s,” etc.)
  • The same goes for abbreviations, such as, e.g. (“for example”), etc. (“and so forth”), and others.
  • You can use so-called power words, such as “superlative” and “benevolent,” which are more precise than “the best” or “kind.”
  • Use formal reporting verbs, such as “persuade,” “examine,” argue,” object,” etc.
  • Avoid emotional words, e.g., “extremely” or “terrible.” They make you sound less objective.
  • Reference other texts often, and cite references correctly (e.g., in Chicago, Oxford, Harvard referencing style)

Don’t forget to ask your professor if they have their requirements for the dissertation critique writing style!

🖥️ Where to Get a Dissertation Critique Sample?

We hope that our recommendations will help you write a comprehensive critique of a Ph.D. thesis or a Master’s dissertation. However, you may still need a sample to give you an even better idea about writing. If so, there are some options for you.

  1. First of all, you can ask for help from your professor.

They can provide you with a written outline and give some personal recommendations. Remember that they are there to guide you, and don’t be afraid to ask questions! Also, it is essential to ask for clarification if there’s anything you don’t fully understand.

  1. Secondly, you can try to find one online.

Better use academic websites. These are the most credible resources that are most likely to use the right formatting style. Such websites usually end with .edu or .gov. If you can’t find the samples you need, look for similar things, such as a research article critique sample. It would be even better if you look for a template on your university’s page. Different universities often use specific guidelines, so you better make sure that the sample you’ve chosen is correct.

  1. Finally, go to the library and find a free template there.

It is especially useful if your university doesn’t provide a free online one. A template can be stored on the library computer in PDF format or kept as a physical document. It will cost you nothing, and the library personnel will be there to help you. Just don’t be afraid of asking, and you’ll do your best!

Many people have always thought that a dissertation is the synonym of a graveyard for young and struggling scholars. Well, not anymore!

Dissertation Critique
Download the free sample

✏️ How To Critique A Thesis?

You probably know that academic works can differ significantly from discipline to discipline. A thesis in social sciences will have little in common with a dissertation in commerce. The good news is that all of them are critiqued according to similar rules!

Here’s what you need to know: 

Different parts of a thesis need to be critiqued differently. You can do it by answering questions associated with various sections of your analysis. You don’t have to answer them all. Pick the most suitable ones, and you are ready to write a perfect critique.

☝️  Thesis Statement Critique

First, you should analyze and evaluate the thesis statement. It is the most critical part of the dissertation because it represents its entire purpose in a couple of sentences. Many criteria should be met in a good thesis statement, including clarity and brevity.

Evaluating the thesis statement, answer these questions:

  1. What is the purpose of the dissertation?
  2. What is the problem stated by the author?
  3. Are there variables involved?
  4. Is it possible to test them properly?
  5. Is the problem significant?

📚  Literature Critique

Here you should discuss the way the writer used the literature. In other words, you are critiquing the theoretical framework of the thesis. It should include the definitions of all the terms used in the text and the pre-existing research and background information. See if the dissertation you’re reviewing meets these criteria!

Also, you can try to answer the following questions:

  1. What are the primary references cited by the writer?
  2. Are any of the sources outdated?
  3. Is the literature well-chosen?
  4. Does the theory provide enough background information?

🧐  Hypothesis Critique

The hypothesis is the expected answer to the research question. It is either proven or disproven throughout the dissertation. While it’s still hypothetical, it should be grounded in theory. And, naturally, it must be well-formulated.

Evaluate the dissertation’s hypothesis according to these criteria, and answer the following questions:

  1. What is the hypothesis of the dissertation?
  2. How does it relate to the problem statement and purpose?
  3. What kind of research is required to prove the hypothesis?
  4. Is the hypothesis far-fetched? Is it testable?

🔬  Research Critique

While evaluating the dissertation’s research, you can do the following:

  • analyze the effectiveness of the methodology chosen (consider its strengths and weaknesses),
  • say what can be done to improve the methods applied, if necessary;
  • explore the methodology matching the research questions.

Here are some questions you can try to answer in your critique:

  1. What type of research design does the author use?
  2. Is the type of data collection used in research adequate?
  3. What kind of sampling did the author use?
  4. Is the sample size sufficient?
  5. Are the measurement methods used in the study effectively?

🧪  Research Results Critique

In this section, you analyze the way the results are presented, their importance for the research. Also, you should evaluate the way the author interprets the results, whether alternative interpretations are suggested. Say if you find them valid and explain why.

Some other questions that you can cover:

  1. Are the results relevant?
  2. Can they be generalized? Are they biased?
  3. Did the author calculate validity and reliability?
  4. Do the results support the hypothesis?

🖊️  Writing Style Critique

Here you describe the following:

  • The writing style of the author: their keeping to the formal style, clarity of descriptions, logic, and coherence of the ideas proposed;
  • Grammar, spelling, the format and the style mistakes made by the author;
  • Your general impression of dissertations writing.

The following questions can help you with this section:

  1. Is the dissertation well-structured?
  2. Is the text too long, or too short?
  3. Do all the chapters include introductions and conclusions?
  4. Is there any plagiarism in the thesis?

📎  Final Recommendations

In conclusion, you can discuss the relevance of the work to other existing researches on the problem, the work’s innovations and contribution to the field, and possible improvements that you may suggest.

Here are some questions for your dissertation critique conclusion:

  1. Is the hypothesis proven or disproven?
  2. What generalizations are made in the text?
  3. What recommendations concerning future research does the author give?
  4. How can the results of the dissertation be applicable in practice?

And your critique is done!Thanks for reading the article! Share it with peers who might find it helpful, and good luck with your dissertation critique.

🤔 FAQs

❓ What is a dissertation critique?

Any published research gets some opinions and qualitative analyses from its readers. An article that assesses a dissertation according to some standards is a dissertation critique. It is usually about five pages long and is written in an academic style.

❓ How to critique a thesis?

To critique a thesis like a pro, you should remember some rules. Be as objective as possible. Only assess the paper, not the topic/author/etc. Be careful with your statements; write thoughtfully and politely. Make sure to structure your critique appropriately.

❓ How to critique a dissertation proposal?

You should begin with an outline for your critique. Start with an appropriate introduction, then make a body with a few well-structured points. Conclude logically. Ensure that you pay attention to methodology, provide examples to your statements, and remain polite, concise, and objective.

❓ How to write a dissertation critique introduction?

To write an appropriate Introduction, have the key points of the body already in place. Give a high-level overview of the dissertation (field of science, topic, etc.) In the Introduction, do not go into identifying the strengths and weaknesses of each chapter yet.

You might also be interested in:

🔎 References

Comments (3)

Brendon Workman
Brendon Workman

I’m so happy to find your post on dissertation critique writing! Thanks a lot for it! This is a really helpful blog! I’m fond of it!

Nick T.
Nick T.

Thanks for highlighting the main aspects to consider when writing a dissertation critique. The author of the post seems a real expert in dissertation critique writing!

yu su
yu su

Good ideas for my Ph.D. study!