How to Write a Critical Essay?

By Aimen
In How to Write
May 11th, 2011
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How to Write a Critical Essay

What is Critical Writing?

Critical writing is not solely about gathering data, memorizing facts, or restating what others believe but it is more about vigorous involvement of every individual to comprehend the topic well enough which primarily is a learned proficiency.

What is Critical Thinking?

In a non-technical language, critical thinking means to assemble available information concerning a topic. This can be gathered together from primary and secondary resources.

Further, one needs to interpret the relevancy of the sources used and quoted. Finally, one needs to process the information into an intellectual approach of thinking about it.

Points to Consider Before Beginning a Critical Essay

In order to write a critical essay or even brainstorm the central ideas, it is significant to have these two key prerequisites in mind:

  • Learn how to think critically
  • Learn how to read critically

The reason why both the above-mentioned points need to be learned is that human beings by default do not think critically. The reason behind this is that we have internal biases set up in our mind that we tend to rely upon while making judgments.

Importance of Critical Essay Writing

Knowing how to write a critical essay will give you an edge throughout your academic and professional career. Writing critical essays facilitate you to build up your critical skills together with close and vigilant reading, methodological research, intellectual writing, referencing and proof reading.

Learning these techniques will help you out to enter into scholarly conversations and add tools to think and correspond in further insightful ways.

Purpose of a Critical Essay or Analysis Paper

A critical essay is usually a review or critique of a different work. This might include literary works and mostly those related to art. For example, a critique or review on a book, play, painting or a movie.

Nevertheless, critical essays are more than just a summary of the contents of the other work that you wish to write upon. In fact, it is a purposeful analysis of the work, exploring both the positive and negative aspects.

How do I write a critical essay paper?

A critical essay is an objective analysis of the work, shedding light upon both the positive and negative sides. Many people confuse the word ‘critical’ or ‘critique’ as to it being negative for all times. You may write a critical essay that totally agrees with the entire reading. The word ‘critical’ solely describes your attitude towards what you have read and are to write about.

Planning a Critical Essay

The planning procedure consists of entirely the same factors as of any other essay.

Choose Your Topic

The first step includes choosing your topic. Most of the times, this topic is already assigned to you by the examiner.

Search for Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Sources

As soon as being assigned with a topic, look up for all the possible resources. As mentioned earlier, these can be both your primary and secondary sources. Secondary sources, just to make clear, are supplementary materials or on the desk data that is already recorded and you only need to gather it from places like a library or the internet.

Organize Your Reading Material

Once you are done with gathering all the sources, it is now time to read up on all of them having an objective in mind such that you are able to recall them once read. The important details you find in these sources are likely to be used in order to form a thesis statement.

Format a Hypothesis/ Thesis Statement/ Topic

After having a thesis statement for your essay, write a detailed outline for your critical essay. Make sure your thesis reflects in every point of the outline that you are going to be elaborating in the critical essay.

Guidelines for Writing a Critical Essay

Introduction Writing

Write a brief introduction that should be somewhat between three to five lines briefly stating the thesis statement. The introduction should also comprise of the name of the work that you are analyzing and the author or artist of the work. It should also state your position on the work and what led you to develop the arguments that you will further be talking about throughout the body of your critical essay.

Body Development

Collect and Present from the Primary Sources

Summarize each of the primary sources that you are using separately in the body paragraphs. One of the most common mistakes made by some writers while writing critical essays is that they make long summaries.

Analyze and Argue with Evidence

Write an evaluation of each primary source along with the summary. In addition to this, discuss the type of evidence the author uses to author uses to support the arguments in the book or the artist for a play or painting.

State Arguments in Lieu with Your Position

State your arguments along with the main supporting points. This plays the most important role in a critical essay. The argument, if not against the author whose work you are considering, could talk about what convinced you towards the author’s work. Use evidence from sources to support your argument. Any claim that you make must be based upon logical evidence.

Formatting Conclusion of a Critical Essay

The conclusion of your critical essay should restate your position and summarize how your evidence supports your perspective. Remember to restate the title and the author of the work that you are critically reviewing in your conclusion.

Types of Critique Essays

Critical Essay on a Book

A critical essay on a book, also known as a book review is a critical analysis or evaluation of a secondary text which analyzes the tone, setting, theme and characterization in a book. The author is supposed to provide a personal evaluation and comprehensive analysis of the content material in the concluding paragraph of the essay.

Critical Response Essay

A critical response essay highlights and discusses the flaws and errors in an author’s ideas, concept, or arguments. The essayist is also supposed to provide with an alternative hypothesis which according to his judgment is better suited to the situation or concept.

Writing a critical response essay requires mature analytical ability and critical thinking along with an objective style of argumentation and persuasion.

Critical Review Essay

A critical review essay provides a comprehensive and elaborative review on a topic or subject by analyzing the material in comparative scenario, including other works in the same genre or by analyzing the works produced in contemporary times by various writers.

Critical Essay on Literature

A literary critical essay provides explanation and elaboration on any work of literature (fiction, poetry, drama, discourse, story, essay) by  interpreting the intention, tone and background circumstances of the writer.

The goal of a literary critical analysis is to provide the audience with a  broad and in-depth  understanding of a work of literature.

How to Proofread Your Critical Essay

Remember to proofread your critical essay once you are done with it. Consider the below mentioned points while editing and proofreading your essay:

  • Is specific citation format followed?
  • Are there any grammatical, spelling or punctuation errors?
  • Are there any typos?
  • Does the tone of the critical essay sound objective?
  • Are the arguments backed up by supporting evidence?
  • Is the approach informative?
  • Does the conclusion make clear as to what I had to write?
  • Does the conclusion touch upon the arguments previously made in the essay?

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