Useful Tips on How to Conduct a Descriptive Review

How to Conduct a Descriptive Review

Do you need to develop a descriptive review of your final course work and don’t even know where to start? Well, this content was written to help you! Many students tend to have doubts about how to design this part of their work.

If the student has already had some brief contact with the course conclusion work, he/she must have probably heard mentions about the descriptive review. How to do it or structure it is one of the most frequent doubts in the academic world. If you doubt what it is and how to do a descriptive review, keep following this article so that all your doubts are resolved!

Useful Tips on How to Conduct a Descriptive Review

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Descriptive review: what is it?

As the name itself already specifies, the descriptive review is a type of textual genre often found in course completion works. It aims to describe and relate and enumerate the various properties that are relevant within an object, that is, the corpus or content of the work. For an overview, it aims to analyze a work or an event.

One of the most important characteristics, if not the most important, is that the descriptive review should serve only as an objective and impersonal text; that is, it cannot present opinions or judgments, whether positive or negative. It is important to point out that this type of text, which expresses an opinion, is quite distinct from the critical review.

Writing an impersonal text without showing opinions can often end up being a very difficult task for some people, especially for those who do not have much contact with this type of genre. Then check out some tips on how to write this type of text, mainly aimed at an academic descriptive review.

What is an academic descriptive review?

There is no significant difference between the descriptive review and the academic descriptive review. However, in the academic field, a type of survey should be made referring to the work’s main points, its characteristics, ideas, and the theme of the work or event. This description can be made from different perspectives, such as, for example, social, pedagogical, artistic, or any other academic nature.

Precisely because it is a purely academic text, he must seek to go deeper into the theme, describing practically all the details, or at least all the relevant points to the work. In this way, it is prevented from having different interpretations of the content, except for the work proposal.

Characteristics of the descriptive review

1. Brief writing

A descriptive review is a short writing that presents the relevant features of a scientific or literary work. It can be done from a written work (novel, poem, specialized article), visual (film or theater), or musical (group or performer).

2. Provides information

Its main function is to provide accurate, essential, and concise information. In this way, it makes it easier for the reader to understand the object reviewed.

3. Particular superstructure

The descriptive review has a particular superstructure. In general, the review begins with the title of the work and a technical sheet or an introductory heading where the work details are specified.

Depending on the nature of said work, the data varies. For example, if it is a bibliographic material, it will probably include the author, publisher, city, and year of publication. Later an exhibition summary of the work is presented.

4. Language adequacy

A professional review is characterized by the appropriateness of the language to the audience for whom it is addressed. Taking this into account, it will be more or less specialized. Also, their topics are diverse and are determined by the medium in which they are published.

The observations in the reviews should expand the knowledge about the reviewed work. The authors are specialists in different areas of knowledge or the media.

Okay, but then, what to address in a descriptive review?

First, who makes the real decision of what should or should not be addressed within the descriptive review is you: the author. All of this will depend on how much you intend to deepen in analyzing that research object. With that in mind, there are a few points that typically appear in 100% of these types of descriptive reviews, which are:

  • Name of the author or authors of the work;
  • The full title of the work, without changes (exactly like the original version of the article);
  • If any, name of the publisher or collection of the work;
  • Place of publication;
  • Date of publication;
  • Volume number (if more than one) and number of pages;
  • If the work is foreign, it is highly recommended to inform the source language of the work and, if there is a translation, who is the translator.

If the author is describing an event and not work, he should try to provide as many details as possible, such as:

  • Date of the event;
  • Local;
  • Involved;
  • Details about the event.

Summary within the academic descriptive review

The academic descriptive review must carry an objective summary of its content. The abstract must contain the general theme of the work, the points of view and perspectives adopted by the author, the genre, the methods used, and the tones found in the work and any other relevant subject.

There is no specific size for the academic descriptive review summary, but it is recommended that it be between 50 and 80 lines.

Top 8 steps to writing an amazing academic descriptive review

Here, we have mentioned the eight main steps for you to write an academic descriptive review that meets all academic criteria so that your work is perfect:

  1. Do not forget to add in the text the bibliographic data that is essential for the work or article, as well as its characteristics, be it an event or work to be analyzed;
  2. Leave well explained in a few words, what the work is about, describing the content succinctly;
  3. Describe the entire structure of the reviewed work, not forgetting to talk about the divisions of chapters, indexes, what is the narrative focus, and any other important information;
  4. Do not exceed five paragraphs at most to address the content and summarize the text that will be addressed;
  5. Based on the concept and based on other renowned authors’ works, argue and analyze the work covered, making comparisons and explanations. Usually, three to four paragraphs are used for this analysis;
  6. Leave specified for whom this work can be useful, thinking about social, pedagogical elements and education;
  7. Briefly talk about the author’s life and works;
  8. In the end, identify yourself (usually in the last paragraph, it is also possible to use some nickname, such as “Graduating from X course at university X”).

The steps mentioned here can also be used for descriptive reviews of events, adapting them to describe the place, the date, and details about the event.

Difference between descriptive and critical review

1. Purpose

Descriptive review and criticism differ primarily in purpose. The first seeks to inform about the content of work through the accurate description of its parts. Instead, the critical review offers an interpretation and assessment based on critical aspects of the reviewed work.

The purpose of a critical review is to persuade through the reviewer’s opinion about the review’s purpose.

2. Organization of information

The organization of the information in the two classes of reviews shows little variation. Although the structure is the same (introduction, development, and conclusion), the introduction is the author’s thesis (or opinion). This assessment is taken up in the conclusions.

3. Language

Language, expressive devices, and tone differ greatly. Denotative language and objective tone are common in a descriptive review. Critical reviews are characterized by connotative language, in which subjectivity predominates. That is why qualifying adjectives and adverbs abound.

That said, it is important to clarify that the critical review makes use of the description. A descriptive review also implies certain criticism since certain positive or negative aspects are selected over others.


Writing a descriptive review just got a lot easier with these tips!

Now that you have a little more insight into what a descriptive review is immerse your content and start producing.