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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.

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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)