BS 3916 Thinking about Management – Assignment 1 (critique) (session 2005-2006)


Some guidelines and suggestions (not an exhaustive checklist!)



Assignment Title


‘Take any recent journal article  from the Business and Management field (preferably in the last two years) and write a critique of it as though you were writing for a professional journal or acting as a book reviewer.


In your critique, you should :

(a)        evaluate the clarity of exposition of the theme, the development of
the argument, the evidence base for the article and the type of argument deployed


(b)        argue what you consider to be the principal strengths and
weaknesses of the article, justifying your reasons carefully

(c)        Put the article into its wider context and attempt an assessment of the             contribution which it makes to our understanding of the area.
           (You will need to read around the subject matter or follow up some of
            the references in the article for this task}




·            Read the paper Using Academic Journals by Dr. Loykie Lominé

·            First locate the Journals in the Library (current and stored in stacks)

·            Choose a journal or two

·            Select an article (or two)

·            Take two photocopies (one for day-glo, one to submit with the assignment)



Evaluate the clarity of exposition


·         Are the ideas set out clearly?

·         Is the language, terminology and style  appropriate for the audience (fellow academics)?

·        Is the argument easy to follow?


(evaluate the) development of the argument


·         Is the article well-constructed (flowing on naturally/logically from one point to the next?)

·         Does it build upon or extend  the existing literature?

·         Do the conclusions follow from the body of the article?


(evaluate the) evidence base for the argument


·         Is the argument theoretical (key word ‘model building’)

·         Are the results of a survey mentioned (Quantitative? Qualitative?)

·         Is the survey work well conducted ? (adequate sampling, good statistical analysis, well-drawn tables)


(evaluate the) type of argument deployed


·         Is primarily theoretical/conceptual?

·         Empirical (e.g. reporting results of a survey, using existing data)

·         Summarising and/or evaluative of other contributions?

·         Pointing out new directions?
(NB it is possible that an article can contain several of these themes)



ARGUE what you consider to be the principal strengths and weaknesses of the article


·         Do not just be opinionated but produce evidence for your statements (e.g. sample size too small, response rate too low to draw these conclusions etc.)


Put the article into its wider context (perhaps challenging but earns extra marks!)


·         Does it build upon classics in the field (e.g. in the case of ‘Motivation’ does it extend our knowledge derived from Maslow, Herzberg, McGregor etc.)

·         How does it relate to other material in the field (read some of the other references)

·         Does it have application to current or emerging business problems?


Assess its contribution to our understanding of the area


·         Is it a major new development or conceptualisation?

·         Does it provide empirical (survey ) evidence to illustrate  a theory?

·         Does it codify or  provide a coherent summary of the rest of the literature?

·         How does it advance the discipline or understanding of the business area?


Final steps


·         Have you checked your assignment fits the assessment brief?

·         Is it the right word-length (c. 2000 words)?

·         Is it carefully proof-read (on paper) before final corrections?

·         Is it page numbered and properly line spaced (1.5)?

·         Have you properly referenced any citations to the literature (Harvard style) that you yourself have made?

·         Have you included the assignment brief?

·         Have you included the Declaration of Academic Integrity?

·         Have you included a clean copy of the article being critiqued?

·         Is your name, student number, module code etc. included?

·         Have you kept a copy of it (electronically, on disk and on paper)?

·         Are you completely happy with the presentation and professionalism of your document?

·        To the best of your knowledge, have you chosen an article that no-one else has chosen?


What lessons have you learnt?


·         Were Time Management skills well learnt?

·         What lessons have you learnt for next time you write an assignment?