a usually short “discourse intended to express its author's reflections or to guide others in contemplation” (M-W)
“a critical evaluation (as of a book or play)” (M-W);
“an evaluative account of … a newly published literary or scholarly work, usually written and signed by a qualified person, for publication in a current newspaper, magazine, or journal. The account can be descriptive, reportorial, comparative, or critical or serve as a vehicle for a lengthy essay in which the reviewer discusses several recently published works (omnibus review) or a broader topic for which the works reviewed serve as a springboard” (ODLIS).
“immoderate praise of a book or other creative work, usually in the form of a review or advertisement written by the publisher, author, or a copy writer, intended to influence opinion and promote sales. In book publishing, a puff is usually printed on the dust jacket or included in an advertisement in a review publication. A preliminary puff is written prior to publication for the use of sales representatives” (ODLIS)
“refers to the process of interpreting a text. It is to be distinguished from translation on the one hand and from inquiry into the principles of interpretation, or hermeneutics, on the other” (Irving Hexham's Concise Dictionary of Religion); “scholarly explanation or interpretation of a word, phrase, sentence, or passage in a written work, based on close study and critical analysis of the text, especially to clarify an obscure point in the Bible or some other sacred work” (ODLIS).
“the interpretation of a text (as of the Bible) by reading into it one's own ideas” (M-W)
Academic / Scholarly
“of, relating to, or associated with an academy or school especially of higher learning,” “of or relating to performance in academic courses,” “based on formal study especially at an institution of higher learning,” or “conforming to the traditions or rules of a school (as of literature or art) or an official academy” (M-W);
“having or showing knowledge, learning, or devotion to academic pursuits” (AskOxford.com);
“systematic argumentative discourse in defense (as of a doctrine)” or “a branch of theology devoted to the defense of the divine origin and authority of Christianity” (M-W);
purpose: to defend a belief against attempts to discredit it;
reasoned arguments defending a theory or doctrine (Compact Oxford English Dictionary)
“Eventually orthodox scholars also accepted the validity of many methods created by the Biblical critics to answer such questions as: ‘What are the most reliable and trustworthy texts of the Hebrew Bible and New Testament? What is the relationship between the various books? When and by whom were the texts written and for what purpose? What are the sources, if any, the authors used? What is the relationship of these sources to other oral and written materials of the time?’” (Irving Hexham's Concise Dictionary of Religion).
the history of a person’s life
“a chronological record of significant events (as affecting a nation or institution) often including an explanation of their causes” (M-W);
an account of past events based on primary sources
gathering statistical data, often through the use of a questionnaire