Writing the annotation - Evaluation and analysis

You will usually be required to include an evaluation or critical analysis of the source in your annotation.

This will require you to evaluate or critically analyse a source.

In addition to the questions that you have already been asking, consider also:

  • Does the author have the authority to make their claims?
  • How does the author’s background affect the content and their argumentation?
  • What assumptions has the author made? Have they clearly expressed these assumptions?
  • Does the argument flow logically? Is it complete?
  • What are the limitations of the methodology being used? Is it appropriate for this discussion?
  • Is the evidence strong enough to lead to the stated conclusions?
  • How does the discussion compare and/or contrast with the other source you’ve cited (also relevant in the reflection, depending on what is emphasised)?
  • How does the discussion contribute to the scholarly debate on the topic?

Refer to the critical reading resource for additional help.

For example:

See the italicised section in the extract below for an example of what a brief evaluation or critical analysis might look like.

Dixon, S. (2007). Digital Performance: A History of New Media in Theatre, Dance, Performance Art, and Installation. The MIT Press.

In this book, Dixon and Smith focus on the history and significance of ‘digital performance’ which they define as being ‘where computer technologies play a key role rather than a subsidiary one…’ (p. 3). The book covers both history and theory, and also considers specific case studies and artists. The authors do criticise postmodern interpretations of the arts, and digital performance in particular, but in doing so, they seem to underestimate how postmodernist theory can actually enhance our understanding of the arts.