Skip to main content


Thompson ENGL 1102: Home

Criticism vs. Review

What is the difference between a book review and scholarly criticism?

Scholarly literary criticism is defined as,
"...Literary criticism can be published as journal articles or full-length book.  In general, it is the peer-reviewed work of  scholars who discuss a particular text or texts, including fiction, poetry, plays, films, and other works.  A work of literary criticism differs from a book review in that it is typically a more in-depth critique of a work, and it's most often intended for an academic audience."

One caveat: News reports/newspaper articles

News reports and newspaper articles can be primary or secondary sources, depending on the point of view. If a reporter is reporting on an event he or she took part in or witnessed first hand, it would be considered a primary source. For example, if a reporter witnessed and then reported on a Congressional hearing, the article would a primary source.

If the reporter is analyzing an event that took place by collecting facts after the event, it would be a secondary source.

Connect with Lane Library's help

Call the research help desk at 912.344.3026

Email the research help desk at


Primary Sources

Primary source documents are documents created by witnesses of events being documented. They offer an inside viewpoint. They can include:

  • Primary sources include:
    • charters
    • texts of legislative bills
    • U.S. code
    • court decisions
    • correspondence
    • autobiographies
    • diaries
    • memoirs
    • journal articles that present original research
    • technical reports
    • early works
    • interviews
    • manuscripts
    • oratory
    • pamphlets
    • personal narratives
    • speeches
    • letters

Some examples include:

  • Diary of Anne Frank - Experiences of a Jewish family during WWII 
  • The Constitution of Canada - Canadian History 
  • A journal article reporting NEW research or findings

Source: Princeton University

Secondary Sources

Secondary sources interpret and analyze primary sources. They are written after an event has occurred, and provide analysis and secondhand accounts of events/topics because they are one or more steps removed from the event. The perspective, interpretation, and conclusion of a secondary source may be different from that of the primary source.

Secondary sources include:

  • journal and magazine articles that interpret previous findings (such as literature reviews)
  • encyclopedias
  • textbooks
  • books that interpret information (such as historical events or research conducted by others)