Summarize the paper in a few sentences at the beginning of your critique. This should be your own summary.
Describe the context/thesis of the paper:
Is there a sub-area on which it focuses?
What are the questions it targets?
Why should one care?
What is the significance-of/motivation-for-asking these
Questions/or making these statements?
Provide a brief description of the main premise, ideas, concepts, and the way you view them. Rather than repeating the paper’s definitions, try to explain the basic notions and context semi-informally.State in what way this paper contributes to our understanding of public administration.
Comment on how these assertions differ, expand or improve the state-of-the-art (based on the information provided by the paper, as well as the concepts presented in the materials/lectures from the course.
a) What are the main conceptual idea(s)?
b) How well is the paper written? Is the paper sufficiently self-contained? Does it deliver on the promises/statements it makes?
Does it over-sell/under-sell itself?
c) In what ways do you think the paper could be improved?
d) What do you think are the follow-up questions to pursue?
Is the content of the paper good? This question is delicate, and has several facets. When reading a paper, we are sometimes dissatisfied with the quality or generality of the concepts, the level of inquiry, or the style of the presentation. However, critical reading does not mean finding fault with the paper. On the contrary, it means finding the gold nugget in it, no matter how deeply it may be buried. A brilliant idea poorly presented is still a brilliant idea.
A paper that overlaps 90 percent with something else may still contain 10 percent new material. Please be positive in your comments, but do point out flaws.
Overall we want to know the following: Is the paper well written? Is its structure satisfactory? Is it clear? Is proper reference made to other literature in the field? Is the thesis useful, or does its complexity hide a lack of ideas or get in the way of comprehension? These questions are secondary given the purposes of our class, but they will help you understand how to write better papers yourself.
Avoid unsupported value judgments, like “I liked…” or “I disagreed with…” If you make judgments of this sort, explain why you liked or disagreed with the point you describe.
Your critique should be typed (single space) and should list the title of the paper and its authors at the top, along with your name.
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