Example of Effective Critical Writing

The text below is an example of good critical writing, and is based on essay material supplied by University of
Leicester’s School of Psychology. The author refers to the available evidence, but also evaluates the validity of that evidence, and assesses what contribution it can realistically make to the debate.There are a number of inherent methodological difficulties in evaluating treatment efficacy in
this area, and this has contributed to controversy within the research literature surrounding
treatment outcomes for this group of offenders (Marshall, 1997). Firstly, while there is no
doubt that the primary criterion of treatment success is a reduction in the rate of re-offending
(Marshall et al., 1999), reconviction data does not, in isolation, provide a realistic
representation of actual levels of re-offending by this group. It is well established that there is
a discrepancy between re-offending and reconviction rates: the latter underestimating the
number of offences committed (Grubin, 1999). Indeed, a significant proportion of offences
committed by offenders are either unreported, or do not result in the offender being convicted
(Abel et al., 1987).
You can see how the author is considering the available evidence, but also the limitations on that evidence,
and will be taking all of this into account in drawing conclusions