Reviews: Form

Reviews: Form

Overall Aim and Structure

  • A review is a critical evaluation of a text, performance, product, or event that is written with the intent to inform, persuade, or entertain.
  • It generally includes a brief overview or summary of what is being reviewed, an evaluation of its quality, and a recommendation for or against it.
  • The length and content of a review will depend on its audience and purpose.
  • The tone of a review is usually subjective, reflecting the reviewer’s own reaction to what they are reviewing.


  • The introduction of a review sets the scene and gives some general context about what is being reviewed.
  • It can make a strong claim or interesting statement about the text, performance, product, or event to grab the audience’s attention.
  • From the very beginning, the reviewer should make their stance or perspective clear.
  • Do not forget to mention the title of what you are reviewing and give some basic information about it.


  • A key part of any review is providing a summary of what is being reviewed.
  • The summary should not just recount events or details, but should also highlight the key aspects of the text, performance, product, or event.
  • It’s important not to give away too much information or too many details, especially if you want your audience to explore the product or experience themselves.
  • The summary should be balanced and unbiased, setting the groundwork for your own evaluation.


  • The evaluation is where you get to express your own opinions and ideas about what you’re reviewing.
  • Consider the key aspects of what you are reviewing – for a book, these might include the plot, the characters or the writing style; for a performance, it might be the acting, the set design, or the directing.
  • Support your views with precise evidence from the text, performance, product, or event, and also justify your views — explain why you reacted as you did.
  • Use persuasive language to make your points – your reader should be convinced by your arguments.


  • A review always concludes with a recommendation.
  • This summarises your overall impression of what you reviewed and suggests whether the audience should or should not see, read, or use the item or experience you reviewed.
  • The conclusion should be a consolidation of your thoughts and should reinforce your viewpoint.
  • Leave the reader with a strong final impression, whether that be positive, negative, or mixed.

General Points

  • A review must be balanced, fair, and honest. Your readers need to trust your judgement, so presenting a one-sided perspective will not be useful to them.
  • Make your language lively and interesting. Use imagery, metaphors, and adjectives to evoke the experiences and feelings that the book, performance, product or event gave you.
  • Be original. Your review is a chance to express your own unique perspective and voice. Avoid clichés and generalizations, and remember that your readers are looking to you for fresh insights.
  • Keep your audience in mind. The level of detail and the style you adopt will depend on whether you’re writing for experts, enthusiasts, or the general public.
  • Proofread for spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors to ensure your ideas are communicated effectively.
  • Always remember to both inform and entertain – a good review is enjoyable to read as well as useful.