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Critical Reading and Writing for Postgraduates

Critical Reading and Writing for Postgraduates

Second Edition

264 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

Praise for first edition:

A very clear, accessible introduction that will be invaluable to postgraduate students trying to engage with reading and writing in a critical way' - R.M. Lee, Professor of Social Research Methods, Royal Holloway University of London

In Critical Reading and Writing for Postgraduates Second Edition, the authors show students how to read critically and how to write using critical techniques. This book is a 'must-have' resource for postgraduate students and early-career academics. It has been expanded and updated to include:

  • A range of examples encompassing disciplinary areas including linguistics, education, business and management
  • Commentaries on using e-resources and features of e-research
  • New and additional material available online including access to journal articles

This book is for postgraduate students, methods course tutors and researchers.

What It Means to Be Critical
Making a Critical Choice
Getting Started on Critical Reading
Getting Started on Self-Critical Writing
Creating a Comparative Critical Summary
The Key to a Mental Map for Exploring the Literature
The Argument Component of Your Mental Map
More Components: Knowledge, Literature, Intellectual Projects
Developing a Critical Analysis of a Text
A Worked Example of a Critical Analysis
Developing Your Argument in Writing a Critical Review of a Text
Focusing and Building up your Critical Literature Review
Integrating Critical Literature Reviews into Your Dissertation
Tools for Structuring a Dissertation
Using the Literature in Research Papers and Oral Presentations
Abridged article: 'One word or two?'

Abridged article: 'Sharing leadership of schools through teamwork'

Blank form for the Critical Analysis of a text

Logic Checklist: developing a logical overall argument in a dissertation


'Mike Wallace and Alison Wray's book confirms that the answers that you get depend on the questions that you ask. One of the most important skills for researchers to acquire is that of asking the right questions, and they show that this process begins with identifying the questions that need to be asked about the existing literature on a chosen subject. Wallace and Wray demonstrate that critical engagement with one's sources pays dividends in terms of depth of understanding what those sources tell us. In addition, developing the skills of the critical reader also helps to make budding researchers into better writers, through the realisation of what works better and what works less well when communicating ideas and information. The book is written in a clear and straightforward fashion that is guaranteed to make you think, as well as encouraging constructive and engaging modes of writing that will improve your connection to your audience. '
Professor Graham Crow, University of Southampton

Praise for first edition:

A very clear, accessible introduction that will be invaluable to postgraduate students trying to engage with reading and writing in a critical way' - R.M. Lee, Professor of Social Research Methods, Royal Holloway University of London

If you are considering undertaking postgraduate studies then this book will prepare you for your forthcoming studies. Reading this book will prepare you for the critical thinking, literature reviewing and critiquing as well as the standard of writing for MA and other postgraduate writing.

Mr Sam Emmett
Early Childhood Education, Glyndwr University
July 3, 2017

Pertinent to several modules on the MSc programme.

Miss Deborah Slade
Clinical Health Care Department, Oxford Brookes University
January 15, 2016

Provides excellent and easy to follow advice on how to locate and critique academic work as well providing skills to improve academic writing. Especially useful as it is an easy book to engage with and therefore assists less academic students studying at PGCE level.

Mr Sam Emmett
Division of Social Sciences and Educatio, Glyndwr University
October 23, 2015

This book will be used to help improve study skills for my first-year masters students in their first course. Our students come from a diverse background and some refreshment of skills is sometimes needed.

Of particular help are the sections on writing a critical synopsis, since we spend a lot of time of this course critiquing scholarly articles.

Dr Elizabeth Van Couvering
Dept of Media & Communication Studies, Karlstad University
June 18, 2015

This is the essential reader for students keen to develop their critical appraisal skills

Mr Mark Gillespie
School of Nursing, University of the West of Scotland
June 10, 2015

This is an excellent guide for MA students required to complete critical and evaluative literature reviews as part of the programme requirements

Mr John Cavener
Health and Life Sciences , Northumbria University
June 3, 2015

An ideal addition to the study skills library

Mr Iain Stainton
Inst of Policing and Criminal Justice, University of Cumbria
April 13, 2015

Useful for clinicians studying at postgraduate level and expected to write essays as part of their assessment in this module. Students who are skilled in writing reports and documenting observations in clinical notes have found this book useful in developing their critical reading and writing skills for their academic work.

Ms Tina Stern
College of Nursing, Midwifery and Healthcare, University of West London
March 20, 2015

An essential read for all students new to post graduate study

Mrs Rachael Major
adult nursing, Institute of Health and Social Care Studies
August 20, 2015

Mike Wallace

Mike Wallace is a Professor of Public Management at Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University, where he teaches postgraduate courses on research methods. He was formerly an Associate Director of the Advanced Institute of Management Research (AIM), responsible for research capacity building in the management field, and also the Economic and Social Research Council’s Strategic Adviser for Researcher Development. His research on managing change in the public services is reported in many books and academic journals. Most recently, he is lead author of a major monograph Developing Public Service Leaders: Elite Orchestration, Change Agency,... More About Author

Alison Wray

Alison Wray is a Research Professor of Language and Communication at Cardiff University. Her research concerns the modelling of lexical storage and processing, particularly in relation to formulaic phrases, and it has been applied to language learning, evolution of language and language disability. Her two monographs Formulaic Language and the Lexicon (Cambridge University Press, 2002) and Formulaic Language: Pushing the Boundaries (Oxford University Press, 2008) are internationally acclaimed. Her current research focusses on dementia communication. Her 2020 book The Dynamics of Dementia Communication won the 2021 book prize of the British... More About Author