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Critical Analysis Essay: a Step-by-Step Explanatory Guide
The composition of a critical analysis essay is a home task you’re sure to receive sooner or later. Professors like these assignments for their ability to test students’ vital academic skills, such as research, critical reading, and analysis of the collected evidence. So, get ready to complete such tasks from time to time!
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What Is a Critical Analysis Essay?
As the term suggests, the critical review essays are typically dedicated to analyzing the author’s content and how they treated a specific subject. The essay should not deal with the subject matter but how the author dealt with it.
An illustrative example would be:
WRONG: Writing is a skill that requires tedious work and diligence. Not everyone can write well.
RIGHT: In her book Everybody Writes, Ann Handley covers all aspects of learning the mastery of impactful writing, sharing her insights and experiences in a reader-friendly and concise manner.
How to Write a Critical Analysis Essay
Once you receive such an assignment, your first thought might be, “how to write a critical analysis essay?” Luckily, we are here to help you out, explaining every step of this process. Read on to learn the craft and impress your tutor with well-written critiques.
Read Thoroughly and Carefully
The critical review essays usually include two components – a summary of the text of interest and its analysis. To complete both parts well, you need to study the material from cover to cover. It can help to make notes in the process of reading, pointing out anything that caught your attention. You can always shape these points into an informative discussion afterward.
Define a Thesis Statement
A thesis statement is the kernel of every critical analysis essay. To achieve a maximum persuasive effect, take care of making it:
- Short enough to be reader-friendly.
- Clear and concise, focusing on a single topic.
- Informative, including major arguments you’re planning to consider.
- Logical and relevant to the overall topic of interest.
Write an Introductory Paragraph
To start argumentative essay writing, you should familiarize yourself with the subject you are to examine. Conduct some preliminary research on the topic and answer a couple of questions before introducing it to your readers:
- What do you know about the subject?
- What else did you read on this topic?
- Are there different views in this regard?
- What controversies or debates surround the issue?
- Why is it important and relevant for you/the community?
Once you take a closer look at the subject, you’ll be able to present it from multiple perspectives. Set the context for your discussion by introducing the subject/author/literary work you’ll critique, and then voice your personal stand on it.
Carefully Arrange the Body of Your Essay
As we have already mentioned, the essence of a critical analysis essay is to evaluate some other author’s arguments and present an informed, evidence-based critique of their reasonability, validity, and value. To do so, you need to answer a couple of questions.
- Theoretical questions related to the author’s background. Suppose the author holds some strong political views or is a proponent (or creator) of a particular theory. In that case, this background is sure to impact the perspective from which they approach any subject.
- Definitional questions presuppose analyzing the way the author addresses critical concepts on the topic. You can also discuss whether the concept descriptions in the analyzed work are concise or confusing.
- Evidence questions relate to how the reviewed author uses evidence to back their arguments. Does their evidence come from credible and relevant sources? Do they choose relevant evidence? Do you find their argumentation robust enough?
- Implication and relevant questions involve reflecting on the implications of the author’s arguments and their relevance to the broader area of concern. What does their analysis presuppose? What is the author heading to? How do their conclusions relate to the body of knowledge and practices in the area of interest?
In addition to these aspects, you can also think over the overall argument’s consistency. Does the author take a single stance and defend their point logically? Are there any deviations or turning points? Are there any biases in the approach that the author takes to the subject? How can the author’s background impact their objectivity or authority on the subject matter? Answering all these questions will add valuable insights to your essay content.
Craft Clear Topic Sentences
To design effective, logically flowing topic sentences, you should have a critical analysis essay outline. It is a roadmap of any academic text, guiding you through the process and letting you make sure that you don’t go off-topic. A typical outline would include:
An introduction of the work you’re critiquing. Introduction of the author and main topic. Voicing your opinion and indication of crucial points on which you focus in the analysis. Thesis statement culminating the paragraph.
Paragraph 1: Topic sentence (one argument). Evidence supporting the argument. Links to the following paragraph or the thesis statement.
Paragraph 2: The same as previous.
Paragraph 3: The same as previous.
A wrap-up on all critical arguments you presented. A reference to the broader context.
Populate Your Essay with Evidence
Your critical analysis essay is sure to benefit from sound, reliable evidence.
At this stage, the critical task of any writer is to choose credible sources of evidence so that they strengthen your point instead of challenging it. A useful tip from our writers is to use the CRAP algorithm for resource appraisal. The acronym includes Currency, Relevance, Authority, and Purpose components. Based on this tool, the sources you choose to back your arguments should be current, relevant, written by qualified professionals in your academic area, and relevant to your writing’s purpose (e.g., academic research).
Summarize Your Analysis in a Concluding Paragraph
The concluding part also matters much in terms of the effect your writing piece will produce on the readers.
To make your conclusion more convincing, consider the following tips:
- Include all critical analysis points as a quick recap.
- Restate the thesis statement in other words.
- Reiterate the critical arguments in stronger words by including additional arguments considered in the body of the essay.
- End the text with a call to action (if appropriate).
- Always refer to the broader context at the end.
With these components in mind, you’re sure to make the ending of your work much more impactful.
Revise If Necessary
Once the first draft is ready, it’s time to revise it. Pause to free your mind and take a detached stance on the writing piece. It would be best to check the draft on the next day, but if you’re short of time, a couple of hours apart will do.
We recommend reading the paper from the end to the beginning to focus on the content and isolate every sentence as a separate language item. It works much better for mechanic checking, and you can always count on finding more tiny errors than if you would read the text as usual.
Write a Final Draft
Now that you’ve completed the revision and have the final product at hand, you should proceed to the post-writing activities. Yes, you’re not mistaken; the writing process doesn’t end with completing your conclusion and final revision of the resulting text.
To let your critical analysis essay fetch you the highest grade, you should dedicate enough time to the editing process. We know it’s hard and painful to cut some parts from your brainchild or change some sentences, but the revision process is aimed to make your text better. Keep that in mind when proofreading the essay and focus on the content coherence and mechanics.
Here are the steps of critical analysis essay completion. Hopefully, after this exhaustive account, you are more knowledgeable about where to start and how to go on with the analysis. But even if you still feel unable to complete such an assignment or have no time for the task, no problem.
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