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AFAM/COMM 370: Communication and Diversity : Book Review

This course guide is intended as a starting point for research assignments in AFAM/Comm 370.

Book Review

Write a five page review of:

McChesney, Robert W.  Digital Disconnect: How Capitalism Is Turning the Internet Against Democracy

Your essay must include:

  • Summary
  • Critical Analysis
  • Intertextualization, a discussion of the book  as it relates to other books addressing similar or related issues. How is this book similar to or different from our other readings for the class or from other books in this subject area?

 Library copy is an eBook

Writing a Critical Review

Some Common Features of a Critical Review

A review gives the reader a concise summary of the content.

  • Description of the research topic and scope of analysis
  • Overview of the book's overall perspective, argument, and/or purpose.

A review offers a critical assessment of the content, often in relation to other studies on the same topic.

  • Document your reactions to the work under review
  • What strikes you as noteworthy or important
  • Whether or not the arguments made by the author(s) were effective or persuasive
  • How the work enhanced your understanding of the research problem under investigation.

In addition to analyzing a book's strengths and weaknesses, a scholarly review often recommends whether or not readers would value the work for its authenticity and overall quality. This measure of quality includes both the author's ideas and arguments as well as practical issues, such as, readability and language, organization and layout, indexing, and the use of non-textual elements.

Assessment Strategy

Develop a set of questions that should be answered as you read the book. Some questions include:

  • What is the central thesis—or main argument—of the book?
  • What exactly is the subject or topic of the book? Does the author cover the subject adequately? Does the author cover all aspects of the subject in a balanced fashion? Can you detect any biases? What type of approach has the author adopted to explore the research problem [e.g., topical, analytical, chronological, descriptive]?
  • How does the author support his or her argument? What evidence does the author use to prove his or her point? Is the evidence based on an appropriate application of the method chosen to gather information? Do you find that evidence convincing? Why or why not? Does any of the author's information [or conclusions] conflict with other books you've read, courses you've taken, or just previous assumptions you had about the research problem?
  • How does the author structure his or her argument? Does it follow a logical order of analysis? What are the parts that make up the whole? Does the argument make sense to you? Does it persuade you? Why or why not?
  • How has this book helped you understand the research problem? Would you recommend the book to others? Why or why not?



When reviewing the overall quality of a book, examine the following:

  • table of contents
  • foreword
  • conclusion
  • author's biography


Adapted from: USC's Writing a Book Review

Cited References

One way to gague the influence an article or book has on its field is to see who has been citing it and in what context. Humanities International Complete and ScienceDirect databases let you perform a cited reference search. As always with databases, just be aware that they only indexing a select group of resources. Another source that provides cited reference statistics is Google Scholar.

Communication Journals

Take a look at the book review section of the following communication journals to see examples that will guide you in both format and content.

The full text will be found in the database Communication and Mass Media Complete.  Search for the journal title in the SO Publication Name field and then limit your results to Full Text and Document type:  Book Reviews.

 (click image for full-sized example)


You can also search the journal titles in Primo.

Search for Book Reviews

There are many databases the library subscribes to that include the full-text or citations to book reviews.

Search Tip: Limit your search to reviews.

Search Primo

Use Primo to find resources on your topic at Collins Library and beyond. Request books held by Summit libraries for delivery to Collins Library within 5-7 business days.

Tip: To find related books to your topic, look at the subject terms assigned to the book.