What Does A Critical Analysis Essay Include

University studies always require students to make a critical analysis of a research paper, painting, literary piece, etc. Students in the fields of Science and Arts have to make a critical analysis of previous works because these analyses will prove how well you have mastered a certain profession and use it as a basis to dissect work. If you’re having trouble making a critical analysis, EssayPro is here to help.


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Definition

A critical analysis definition would be an academic paper designed to understand a certain written work. This kind of writing is subjective because you have to express personal opinions as evaluation. Two major steps you have to make in this kind of essay are Critical Reading and Critical Writing. On how to write a critical analysis paper, you should be able to express your opinions based on experience.

How to Write a Critical Analysis

The first step mentioned earlier in a critical path analysis is critical reading. To read critically, identify the author’s purpose and analysis. Take note of the passage’s main ideas and the paragraphs supporting the main idea. Consult proper reference materials for things that you do not comprehend. Write a description, outline, and a summary of the work. It’s important to consider the written work’s purpose. Is it factual? Is it written to entertain? Is it written to express an opinion? Asking these questions will help you write and synthesize. Evaluate if the author has achieved the purpose of his or her written work.

Outline

Most instructors will readily provide an outline or sample to help students make an organized written critical analysis. These outlines serve as a skeleton of how you want your written work to be structured. This is why in any academic paper, making an outline is a fundamental element. If you are not provided with an outline, you can follow this outline below:

  • Background Information: This is to make readers have an understanding or an overview of the work you’re going to evaluate. This is to ensure that important details are provided. This is an important part of the critical analysis because this will be your basis for evaluation. The information should be brief.
  • Information about the work:
  • Title
  • Author
  • Publication information
  • Statement of topic and purpose
  • Thesis statement indicating writer's main reaction to the work
  • Summary: This is another fundamental part of the critical analysis because to create a summary, you have to read critically.
  • Interpretation: Writing this part will vary from person to person. This interpretation should be subjective. It should be based on your experiences and honest opinions be it negative or positive. The way you will evaluate in this part of the essay will reflect who you are and your proficiency.
  • Discussion of the work's organization
  • Discussion of the work's style
  • Effectiveness
  • Discussion of the topic's treatment
  • Discussion of appeal to a particular audience

You could go on and search for critical analysis examples if you were not given one in class. These examples should answer some of your questions. Avoid opening statements like “I think…” and “In my opinion…” Your essay should focus on the analysis itself and not on you.

Your analysis should answer the following questions:

  • Is there a controversy surrounding either the passage or the subject which it concerns?
  • What about the subject matter is of current interest?
  • What is the overall value of the passage?
  • What are its strengths and weaknesses?

Take note of the rubrics or guide questions given to you. These are meant to make sure you will not miss details in your analysis. Support your statements with the text given to you. Remember that the purpose of critical analysis is not merely to inform, but also to evaluate the worth, utility, excellence, distinction, truth, validity, beauty, or goodness of something. Although, you will be expressing your opinions, make sure that you will be fair and well informed. Explore different sides of the analysis yet stand firm on what you believe in. Express your opinions honestly. Your review should provide information, interpretation, and evaluation. The information will help your reader understand the nature of the work under analysis. The interpretation will explain the meaning of the work, therefore requiring your correct understanding of it. The evaluation will discuss your opinions of the work and present valid justification for them.

Related article: How to Write an Analytical Essay

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The ability to critically analyze will come in handy in many different essays and exams. As the article stresses, critical analysis is subjective and should express your opinion. Approximately half of the paper should be your analysis and the other half would be your critique. As the article states, if this paper has your name on it, you do not need to use inclusive pronouns and phrases like “I think”. My advice is to make sure to support every critique that you have by some evidence in the analysis section. If your film teacher wants you to analyze a movie critically, draw opinions and conclusions from facts, not just because you think “it was entertaining” and “the special effects were good.” Support each and every one of your assumptions and your essay will be a success. Ask yourself “why” do you feel this way about a certain piece of writing.

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A critical analysis (sometimes called a critique, critical summary, or book review) is a systematic analysis of an idea, text, or piece of literature that discusses its validity and evaluates its worth. A critical analysis usually includes a summary–a concise restatement of what a text says–and an evaluation–how well it says it. A critical analysis in literature, for example, might examine the style, tone, or rhetorical appeals of a text, while an analysis of a scientific paper might examine the methodology, accuracy, and relevance of the research.

A good critique will consider the following questions

  • Who is the author, and what are his/her qualifications?
  • What is the nature of the work (type, purpose, intended audience)?
  • What is its significance? How does it compare to other material on the same subject? By the same author?
  • What is the author's thesis?
  • What is the organizational plan or method? Is it well conceived? Does it achieve the author's objectives?
  • What are the underlying assumptions? Are they stated or do they lurk behind a stance of neutrality and objectivity?
  • How do assumptions and biases affect the validity of the piece?
  • Are arguments/statements supported by evidence? Is the evidence relevant? Sufficient?
  • Is the author's methodology sound?
  • What evidence or ideas has the author failed to consider?
  • Are the author's judgments and conclusions valid?
  • What rhetorical strategies does the author use? Are they effective?

A word about the thesis statement

Remember that no matter what format you follow in writing your critical analysis, it should have a thesis statement that establishes your approach to or opinion about the piece. Your thesis statement will not be the same as the original author's thesis statement. For example, say that the original author's thesis statement is “the moon is made of green cheese.” Your own thesis might be “the author's assertion that the moon is made of green cheese is ill-founded and is not supported with adequate evidence.”

Organizing the Critical Analysis

There are many models for writing a critical analysis. Some disciplines recommend breaking an analysis into two sections: The first section provides a summary of the content of the work, while the second section analyzes and evaluates the work. Other disciplines, in contrast, favor a model in which the summary and analysis are smoothly integrated. See the reverse side for two serviceable (if unembellished) formats for a critical analysis. Also, remember that length can vary from a paragraph to several pages.

Sample Critical Analysis — Two-Part Structure

Introduction

[Summary Section]

In “Nature Cannot be Fooled,” [title] originally published in 1998 in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, [date and source] Washington University Professor Jonathan Katz[author name and descriptor] contends [active verb] that American Society denies reality, living instead as if its “wished-for fictions” were “true” [paraphrase (and partial quotation) of author's thesis]. Katz further [transition] argues[active verb] that this distorted view of reality manifests itself in many negative ways—from public health policy to education. [list of key ideas]

[Evaluation Section]

(Note that the evaluative terms are bold-faced for the purposes of illustration only.)

Unfortunately, Katz fails to support his argument. His commentary relies onfallacies, unsupported claims, and opinions rather than on logical statements, supported claims, and facts. Therefore, even though Katz expresses much passion, he fails to offer a persuasive argument. [Use your own thesis statement to provide an organizational plan for the paper.]

Body Paragraphs

The body paragraphs should analyze particular components of the work. For instance, in an analysis of the Katz commentary, the body would offer specific illustrations of the flawed passages in Katz's commentary; these illustrations would support the analytical claims that you are making about the work. The focus, then, is objective analysis, not subjective response.

Conclusion

The conclusion may restate the author's thesis, but the main purpose of the conclusion should be to emphasize your assessment of the writer's work.

Sample Critical Analysis — Integrated Model

One technique for integrating a summary and an evaluation is simply to merge the two separate sections (like the examples above) into a single introductory paragraph. Another technique is to synthesize the summary and evaluative comments, as in the following sample introduction:

Introduction

In 1936, J.R.R. Tolkien wrote “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics” for an audience of literary scholars of his own day. Thus, the essay can pose some difficulties for modern readers, who may not be familiar with literary history or the specific critics to whom Tolkien refers. In addition, Tolkien's diction is formal and quite dense. Nevertheless, he offers a persuasive and masterful defense of Beowulf, one of England's most beloved works. [Our thesis] Tolkien argues that Beowulf scholars are wrong to mine the poem solely for historic evidence about the Anglo-Saxon period, rather than reading it as a great and inspiring work of literature. [Tolkien's thesis] Although he agrees that its historical value is high, he shows that Beowulf is so powerful as a poem that its literary qualities far outshine its historical value.

Teresa Sweeney & Fran Hooker Webster University Writing Center, 2005

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