Academic Skills 4: Critical Review

Assignment 2: Critical review of Mansbridge (1999), Pantoja and Segura (2003), and Bird (2005)


  1. Carefully read
    1. Mansbridge, J. (1999). Should blacks represent blacks and women represent women? A contingent “yes”. The Journal of Politics, 61, 628-657.
    2. Pantoja, A. D. & Segura, G. M. (2003). Does ethnicity matter? Descriptive representation in legislatures and political alienation among Latinos. Social Science Quarterly, 84, 441-460.


  1. Bird, K. (2005). The political representation of visible minorities in electoral democracies: A comparison of France, Denmark, and Canada. Nationalism and Ethnic Politics, 11, 425-465.
  1. Write a partial review of these articles. The review should include the following (see the “Writing a Critical Review Essay” and Pearson (2000) examples to review what these sections require):
    1. Unique title
    2. Introduction
      1. NOTE: Now that you are writing an evaluation, this section must include your overall argument.
      2. For proper APA formatting of this section, see
    3. Summary
    4. Synthesis
    5. Evaluation
      1. Atomistic evaluation (Hint: Use this as a natural transition between the synthesis and evaluation sections. For example, if you’ve identified an important difference between the three texts, has one text made a better choice than the others?)
      2. Holistic evaluation
    6. Conclusion
  2. Do not merely copy and paste sections from Assignment 1 and reuse them in Assignment 2. A handful of sentences may overlap, but Assignment 2 differs from Assignment 1 in several crucial ways that you must bear in mind:
    1. The introduction must include your overall argument.
    2. Because of space constraints (and also based on the principles of good academic writing), the summary needs to be concise. Do not use this section to “fill out” your paper. The synthesis and evaluation sections should be the longest and most substantive components of the critical review.
    3. In the synthesis, discussions of a given similarity or difference should usually include all three articles.


  1. The evaluation section must very clearly tie back to the main argument offered in the introduction. (It would also be useful to use the synthesis to help set up the evaluation and, in turn, the overall argument.)
  1. Formatting:
    1. The assignment may be no more than four (4) A4 pages in length.
      1. Going over this length will automatically result in a 1-point deduction (on a 10-point scale).
      2. Your instructor also reserves the right to grade only that material covered in the first four pages.
    2. Follow all other formatting guidelines in the syllabus.

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