Critical Evaluation

Topics: Critical thinking, Textbook / Pages: 14 (3257 words) / Published: Feb 3rd, 2011
Critical Evaluation in Psychology:
A Guide for Students

Author: Julie Hulme

Table of contents

1. Introduction 3
1.1 What will this handout help me with? 3
1.2 What is critical evaluation? 3
1.3 Asking questions 3
1.4 Who is writing? 3
1.5 What evidence is used to support the arguments made? 4
1.6 What does this work contribute to knowledge of the subject? 5
2. Summary 6
3. An exercise in critical evaluation 7
3.1 The extract 7
3.2 Questions 8
3.3 Possible answers to the questions 8
4. Further reading: 9 Critical Evaluation: A Guide for Students

1. Introduction

This guide has been written by Dr. Julie Hulme (; tel 4674). A modified version of this document can be found as follows:

Hulme, J.A. (2004). Critical Evaluation: A Student Guide. Psychology Review, 10, 6-8.

Alternative formats are available on request.

1.1 What will this handout help me with?

In Psychology, students are often asked to show evidence of “critical evaluation” in their work. Many students find this difficult, and even those who are told they do it well, often do not understand what it is they are doing! This handout is designed to teach you a little about how to evaluate critically, and what it really means! It is only an introduction – with practice, you will learn to develop this important skill for yourself, and you should find that your ability to evaluate critically improves throughout your undergraduate years.

1.2 What is critical evaluation?

Critical evaluation is a process of assessing the relative merit of a piece of work, which may have been presented as a journal article, in a text book, on the internet, in a radio or television article, or in just about any other format (for academic purposes, this will usually be written, but could include seminar presentations). You are being asked to decide and discuss what is good, and what is bad, about the arguments being presented to you. Critical evaluation

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