Guide to Writing Critical Essay

The purpose of a critical essay is to analyze and interpret a particular text, play, artwork, or musical piece. The purpose of the writing should be an academic one and reviews are often founded on a solid argument. Although critical essays often become confused with reviews, the former is much more like a formal-style essay. Such an essay should include properly referenced facts and intellectual observations.

The Steps Required to Write a Critical Essay

  • The process begins with the student or their tutor choosing a text, movie, play, or musical piece for review. Regardless of what your essay is about, you need to make sure you have sufficient knowledge about it before starting to write.
  • You need to identify suitable materials to use as references. These can include articles, books, journals, and various online sources provided these are academic rather than just popular in nature.
  • You should make notes about the work you are reviewing and construct an argument. You will need to take a particular stance or viewpoint with respect to the subject matter.
  • A critical essay’s body is made up of at least three body paragraphs, and you should write these first. Each new paragraph should be devoted to a single point that supports and substantiates your argument(s).
  • The next step is writing the conclusion, which sums-up all main points and any argument(s), and includes a sentence that brings everything to a close.
  • You should try to write your introduction paragraph last to ensure it covers everything in a clear manner. This paragraph should comprise of a solid thesis statement, which also summarizes the main argument.
  • You should read or re-read your completed essay several times, edit it, correct it, and proofread it to eliminate any possible mistakes.

Possible Topics for Critical Essays

  • How technology has impacted lives
  • Can recidivism be avoided?
  • Doping in sports and at the Olympic Games
  • Gender role changes
  • Atlantis
  • Ancient wonders of the world
  • What impact do videogames have on children?
  • Why entrepreneurship is important
  • Inflation management techniques
  • What causes young people to become delinquents?

Main Points to Take Into Account

  • Arguments for critical essays can be built around a text’s unique qualities. You should consider the type of audience or readers the author of the text may be addressing or intended to address.
  • Critical essays should examine a text, ask questions about it, and undertake an evaluation of it. The writer should indicate what genre the text belongs to and whether the author achieved their aims in writing it i.e. does it inform, instruct, educate, or entertain?
  • You should use a mixture of main points and secondary ones in the body paragraphs, and these should present the primary essence of your essay. You should rework a variety of concepts, ideas, and facts taken from your earlier notes to build your argument(s).
  • You should not use rhetorical questions because these are sometimes seen as a predictable and feeble way to construct an argument, and you should also avoid truisms. It is always better to use the opinions, findings, or views of an authoritative source.
  • You should use persuasion effectively to successfully argue a text’s value or absence of value. Common persuasion techniques include using referenced facts and evidence, and by appealing to readers’ emotions. Any techniques you use should be based on logic or adhere to some similar discipline.
  • Nonetheless, critical essays should not just accept the opinions and decisions of other people. They should analyze, question, and put forward alternative opinions, views, and approaches.  

Critical Writing Styles

The claim and evidence writing style is just one method you could use to write your critical essay. Here, the writer is expected to make several claims about the text or any other work they are examining. You then support your claims with evidence or references taken from other works.  

The new information style is another good method for developing your essay. If you choose this style, you will be expected to provide new research or “new information” that no one else has previously used. 

Then there is the examination and exploration style, which is one that expects the writer to go into the finer details of the work they are critiquing. The aim is to explore every possible reason, motivation, or inspiration the work’s creator may have had for producing the work.  

What to Do and Not Do

Do

Look for a few referenced facts or information – rather than just one item - to support each of your arguments. Use direct quotes when you want to describe the author’s exact words.

Describe the text or work in accurate terms to show you have studied it in detail.

Remember that critical essays need not be a long litany of negative remarks or criticisms.

Use philosophical ideas like deduction, inference, and logic to support points.

Draw attention to opposing viewpoints and arguments to show you understand both sides of the issue.

Use effective and accurate paraphrasing when interpreting quotes and references taken from journals and books.

Encourage readers to oppose your argument(s), and show you know that different opinions exist with regards to your chosen text.

Do Not

It is not a good idea to make absolute statements without supporting these with quotes and referenced materials.

Do not lose sight of your essay’s argument.

New materials should not be introduced in the concluding or closing paragraph of your essay.

Do not criticize your chosen text in an overly-active or overly-negative subjective way.

The use of colloquialisms, magazine-type prose, popular rhetoric, or hackneyed examples should be avoided. Arguments should always be presented in scholarly fashion.

Try not to be neglectful about the quality of your thinking and writing. Poor preparation will always show even if you have a good argument but the language is poor, or you have a bad argument but the language is good.

Frequently Made Mistakes

  • Do not drive your point(s) home too forcefully. Supporting any claims you make with reliable evidence is sufficient. There is no need for repetition or overly-energetic language.
  • If a critical essay is to be effective, it should appeal to the sentiments of readers, but without overdoing it.
  • Try to use language that matches the style of your argument(s).
  • Your points should not be mere opinions.
  • Include direct quotations from relevant sources. Make sure all the references you use are suitable to the theme and subject matter and are up-to-date.
  • Do not present data and facts while neglecting to include a well-considered and clearly written thesis statement. Create a comprehensive plan or outline at the start, and stick to it.
  • Do not use an excessive amount of negative-sounding sentences. It is permissible for critical essays to be as positive in nature as any other written piece. Hence, your interpretations, questioning, and analysis do not have to be negative.

An effective critical essay is a flawlessly written piece with carefully chosen language and a well-organized argument. Evaluators consider clear reasoning, an investigative approach, and logic to be the basis of a great critical essay.

Writing a Critical Essay

Take a look at a sample of critical essay writing to see that it is essentially a review of some other author's work. Writing a critical essay can consist of scientific or literary writing, reviews of artwork, or any type of academic project. Students have to learn the process of writing a critical response essay so that they can write their opinions on various topics. Writing a critical essay involves providing a balanced perspective of the work's positive and negative aspects. The critical response essay takes a neutral stance when making objective statements about another author's work. Students have the advantage of writing critical essays on a subject they know about personally. It is essential to select the right topic when writing a critical essay. A sample of critical essay writing will also illustrate that one should not use the first person perspective in writing critical essays on any topic.

Make the Subject Interesting

Any essay has to be interesting for the readers to go through. When students have trouble making their writing sound interesting, many of them will buy essays online to compensate. The most important aspects should be mentioned in the essay to generate instantaneous interest in it. A twist to a problem or a problem's solution would make an interesting paper. Another way to generate interest is to compare the point of the paper with the opinions of other experts. This will help add weight to a student's humble opinion.

Analytic Viewpoint Is Essential

A detailed study of a topic is called the analysis. Students with an analytical frame of mind are very successful in review writing. The process, however, takes a good deal of time to craft into mastery. Writers should concentrate specifically on a number of points. Making a paper overly complex will cause readers to lose interest very quickly.

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