[The following material is directed at carrying out a book review. However, the same concepts could be used in reviewing an article or some media product.]

I. Preparation

  1. Utilize as resource bases books that seem to match your personal interests or needs.
  2. Complete those readings necessary to introduce you to topic of interest. At a minimum, this reading effort should include at least one book and preferably more so you get a "feel" for various points of view regarding the topic

II. Presentation

  1. Develop an interactive reading log, theory log, or some similar recording device as a synthesizing tool for your efforts. Supplements A and B provide some additional information to support your review efforts.
  2. Ask a mentor or colleague to read portions of your log and provide you feedback if such interaction and assessment is desired.

III. Educational Goals

  1. That you acquire a broad-based comprehension of related literature.
  2. That you become familiar with the different sources of information related to the topic of interest.

IV. Miscellaneous

  1. Some learners find it helpful to utilize several colleagues in some way to discuss readings, share materials, etc.
  2. Consider maintaining an on-going log or diary that accumulates various book review efforts.



Tips on Writing Book Reviews

(Adapted from Brockett, 1985)

The purpose of a book review is to provide readers with information so that they may make decisions on whether or not to read the book itself. It is the reviewer's job both to describe the main points of a book and to offer critical analyses of its strengths and weaknesses. A reviewer needs to provide an appropriate balance between the description and analysis, and "not steal the author's thunder."

The following tips may help the first time book-reviewer:

A book review is not intended to replace the book, but to provide readers with a tool to use in making an informed decision about reading the book itself. You will offer a useful tool if your book review is both fair and thoughtful, if you do a responsible and thorough job in describing the book, and if you state what you like and dislike about the book and why.



Evaluation Criteria

The following criteria have been used by journal editors in critiquing book reviews submitted for publication.

I. Summary of Content: Are the major topics and information in the book described adequately yet concisely in the review?

II. Critique of Content and Approach: Does the review discuss both strengths and weaknesses of the book, using examples when appropriate?

III. Quality of Writing: Is the review well organized and clearly written with a minimum of grammatical errors?

IV. Application to Your Field of Interest: Are potential applications of the book's content identified? Are these ideas adequately supported by logic and examples?


Brockett, R. G. (1985). Tips for the practitioner on writing book reviews. Lifelong Learning: An Omnibus of Practice and Research, 8(5), 29-30.

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