Opinions are everywhere because everybody will gladly share their personal experiences. Most people do it for pleasure and with the genuine wish to share their emotions and to help other people to make their choice. You can review any product or service, and some people even made this their profession. Besides, almost all services nowadays ask their users to provide their reviews.
The Purpose of the Review
Reviews are reflections of the users’ actual and emotional experience of some products or services. This defines why the users want to leave their reviews, and the producers want to get them:
- A review lets the author get feedback about their work;
- It motivates them to find and fix the troubles, and to improve the quality of the work;
- It helps to clarify dubious fragments and misunderstandings;
- And it helps to develop the writing skills.
That’s why the task to write a review is so common in colleges. You might not become a well-known movie critic after all, but it is worth to master the skills of creating and writing reviews. That’s why we have created this article to help you with all the steps of this task performing.
Preliminary Steps Before You Write a Review
- The first thing to do is to try the product you will review: watch the movie, read the article or the book, make your opinion basing on your knowledge and feelings. Personal experience is the key factor when you write a review, as your audience may also be familiar with the subject and notice any contradictions. So, you need to gather the information on the subject to make yourself an authority.
- A review is a possibility to make a statement about the quality of the product. If you share your opinion, consider your perspective. You may want to give a positive or a negative review or look at the subject from a new angle. Thus, think of your focus on the task.
- Examine your audience. You are going to present the review to the public that may or may not be well familiar with the subject. This will define the vocabulary you should use and your additional references. Will you need to provide side information to explain some factors, as your audience might not see the connections? Or, will the readers understand specific words you use, if you want to submit your review to the public platform? A difference between the general audience and the knowing readers is crucial for the success of your review.
- Make a summary of the main author’s ideas present in the source, the supportive arguments, and conclusions. Match them with the life experience – it is very useful if you write a review on some book or article which raises questions which are important in the current society. Look for the gaps in the author’s narrative and contradictions if there are any.
- Learn more about the personality of the author and the circumstances that they created the book or movie under. This helps to define the author’s position on the matter. Later in your work, you will be able to support or disprove it.
- Get familiar with other reviews on similar topics. You should not use their arguments or direct text fragments unless you cite some well-known experts and do it with all the credits. However, you may get some useful hints on the style they use, and the outline of the review.
The Structure of the Review
A review usually starts with the Abstract. It is a summary (about 200-300 words) of the questions you are going to explore in the review. Also, you need to briefly mention which studies you performed, and which conclusions you came to.
Note that you should not include any citations into the Abstract.
The general structure of a review is similar to that one of an essay. Thus, you are probably already familiar with it: you have to include the Introduction, the Body, and the Conclusion parts into your review.
- In the Introduction, you are supposed to define the topic you worked on. Give a brief description of what the subject is about and mention your focus – which themes you are going to explore in this work. The purpose of the Introduction part of a review is known: you have to get the audience’s attention, make them intrigued, and explain what exactly they will learn about. If your audience is prepared too, you may get a great discussion after that.
- In the Body, you explore the themes. You may concentrate on the general plotline, or refer to the sidelines, or examine the cultural and social references in the original work, or combine all these ideas. However, it is not necessary to make the review too long – consider the language and make it concise to present ideas and thoughts. Besides, most reviews are not very lengthy, so, being laconic is necessary.
- In the Conclusions, you again give a summary of the ideas (don’t repeat the words and phrases from the Introduction, though). You should also present your thoughts about the original work itself – how important it is nowadays, which new aspects and ideas it brings. And it is necessary to compose a strong ending to produce an emotional impression on the audience.
The Process of Writing a Review
- Give your review a title that should set the tone to the work. You can describe the theme or the main idea of the original work, declare your main argument, or ask a question which you will answer in the text. This will depend on your chosen approach.
- Define your judgment criteria. At the end of the day, even the best-known critics will review the works basing on their tastes and principles. Thus, it is important that your audience would understand the factors which led you to your conclusions. It does not mean that they will agree with you, but you need to illustrate the train of thought. Also, this will let them see the importance of the evidence you use in the text.
- And now give your judgment on the work. Evaluate how the author did their job, how the work matched the current agenda, how original or secondary you consider it to be. Indicate the main positive factors and negative issues which may spoil the impression.
- Explore the context. If you are reviewing an example of some definite genre, you need to keep in mind that the work should obey the laws of that genre. Though many works break such rules to experiment with the form or essence, some of the rules must remain. Your understanding of the context should also influence the judgment.
- Use direct citations from the work you are reviewing and from other sources you find relevant in this case. These can be fragments of dialogues, descriptions of visual scenes or actions, or opinions of prominent critics. However, follow the two main laws: don’t substitute your thoughts by retelling the original work, and always give credits when you cite other people.
- Consider giving a score out of five or out of ten. This is, in fact, a controversial method, as some experts do not like the scoring system and do not want to make it look like a school assessment. However, most of the audience still prefer to refer to such scores given by the authors they trust. This can help them to get a very general idea about the quality of the product.
Language for Your Review
You should be creative. You are more than encouraged to show your knowledge and use expressive means to evaluate the original work in such a way that the audience would value it as well. However, there are regulations you should consider when you start to write a review.
- Don’t use the “first-person” mode. Your statements, praises, or reproach should remain impersonal. Your audience already knows that it is your opinion, so, you should focus on the object of your work and refer.
- Use full sentences and descriptive words. Short truncated phrases and highly emotional but vague words would be natural in your personal Twitter, but they are hardly appropriate in a review. Especially when you make this review as a college task.
- Provide details and real evidence from the original work. This way your audience will see that you know what you talk about.
- Be sincere. You should not give a positive review on the subject which you genuinely disliked, even though your friends loved it. You may write a review and mention the factors which ruined your positive moods, the things that you believe did not match the author’s statement. However, mention the pluses too to be objective.
- The main requirement is to be interesting. The review format gives you the freedom to play with forms, you can even write a poem, and it will still be a review. Use humor, paradoxes, metaphors, etc.
Thus, an opinion is a thing that everyone possesses. However, when you put an effort to examine and explore the topic to provide arguments and evidence, your opinion becomes much more important and can help the other people. Use these recommendations to write a review that will be useful, catchy and interesting for everyone.