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SOCY U341 Sociology of Families: What Should An Academic Book Review Look Like?

Academic Book Reviews Follow a General Format

Academic Book Reviews are written for two main readers, the academic scholars and specialized readers.  Every book review will be different depending on assignment or the audience of review.  Generally speaking a review should have the following four sections.

  1. Citation
  2. Introduction
  3. Middle or Body
  4. Conclusion

Citation

Standardized citation (MLA, APA, Chicago etc.) also include ISBN, number of pages in book, format (hard cover, online, etc.), and price (check cover or publishers web site for cost)  

check out our LibGuide for Citation Styles Citation Styles LibGuide

Introduction

Should generally cover three basic areas

  1. Context
    • how this material fits into existing writings
    • authors qualifications and standing in field
    • history of topic
  2. Authors Thesis
    • state what the authors thesis is
    • evaluate how this thesis compares with the field
  3. Your Opinion
    • DO NOT just summarize, make sure to add your opinion as reader and expert (even if you don’t feel like one)
    • give an overall value added commentary

Middle or Body – Method of Critique

  1. Body of your critique should be both detailed and succinct cover major points such as:
    • Author’s main argument
    • Individual chapters and arguments
    • Author’s methodology
    • Accessibility / Readability
    • Factual errors
    • Relevance
    • Appropriateness for intended audience
    • Relationship to other research in field
    • Originality
    • Implications for future study
  2. Back up opinion with quotes from text
  3. Follow one of 3 basic formats for body
    • Follow the Chapters: evaluate and group chapters together following the order of the book.
    • Topic / Ideas: organize by the general topics covered in the book and evaluate each grouping as appropriate
    • Criticism based: Each paragraph will address your critical points about the book. This can lead to a choppy review offering examples that jump around the text.

Conclusion

  1. End on a positive note but don’t lie or embellish
  2. Who should read and why

  • Be Detailed but succinct
  • Back up criticism with examples from the text. 
  • Stay away from minor points such as spelling/grammar mistakes, cover art, visual appeal and gossip.