How to Write a Critical Essay

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A critical essay is a form of academic writing that analyzes, interprets, and/or evaluates a text. In a critical essay, an author makes a claim about how particular ideas or themes are conveyed in a text, then supports that claim with evidence from primary and/or secondary sources.

In casual conversation, we often associate the word "critical" with a negative perspective. However, in the context of a critical essay, the word "critical" simply means discerning and analytical. Critical essays analyze and evaluate the meaning and significance of a text, rather than making a judgment about its content or quality.

What Makes an Essay "Critical"? 

Imagine you've just watched the movie "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory." If you were chatting with friends in the movie theater lobby, you might say something like, "Charlie was so lucky to find a Golden Ticket. That ticket changed his life." A friend might reply, "Yeah, but Willy Wonka shouldn't have let those raucous kids into his chocolate factory in the first place. They caused a big mess."

These comments make for an enjoyable conversation, but they do not belong in a critical essay. Why? Because they respond to (and pass judgment on) the raw content of the movie, rather than analyzing its themes or how the director conveyed those themes.

On the other hand, a critical essay about "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" might take the following topic as its thesis: "In 'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,' director Mel Stuart intertwines money and morality through his depiction of children: the angelic appearance of Charlie Bucket, a good-hearted boy of modest means, is sharply contrasted against the physically grotesque portrayal of the wealthy, and thus immoral, children."

This thesis includes a claim about the themes of the film, what the director seems to be saying about those themes, and what techniques the director employs in order to communicate his message. In addition, this thesis is both supportable  and  disputable using evidence from the film itself, which means it's a strong central argument for a critical essay .

Characteristics of a Critical Essay

Critical essays are written across many academic disciplines and can have wide-ranging textual subjects: films, novels, poetry, video games, visual art, and more. However, despite their diverse subject matter, all critical essays share the following characteristics.

  • Central claim . All critical essays contain a central claim about the text. This argument is typically expressed at the beginning of the essay in a thesis statement , then supported with evidence in each body paragraph. Some critical essays bolster their argument even further by including potential counterarguments, then using evidence to dispute them.
  • Evidence . The central claim of a critical essay must be supported by evidence. In many critical essays, most of the evidence comes in the form of textual support: particular details from the text (dialogue, descriptions, word choice, structure, imagery, et cetera) that bolster the argument. Critical essays may also include evidence from secondary sources, often scholarly works that support or strengthen the main argument.
  • Conclusion . After making a claim and supporting it with evidence, critical essays offer a succinct conclusion. The conclusion summarizes the trajectory of the essay's argument and emphasizes the essays' most important insights.

Tips for Writing a Critical Essay

Writing a critical essay requires rigorous analysis and a meticulous argument-building process. If you're struggling with a critical essay assignment, these tips will help you get started.

  • Practice active reading strategies . These strategies for staying focused and retaining information will help you identify specific details in the text that will serve as evidence for your main argument. Active reading is an essential skill, especially if you're writing a critical essay for a literature class.
  • Read example essays . If you're unfamiliar with critical essays as a form, writing one is going to be extremely challenging. Before you dive into the writing process, read a variety of published critical essays, paying careful attention to their structure and writing style. (As always, remember that paraphrasing an author's ideas without proper attribution is a form of plagiarism .)
  • Resist the urge to summarize . Critical essays should consist of your own analysis and interpretation of a text, not a summary of the text in general. If you find yourself writing lengthy plot or character descriptions, pause and consider whether these summaries are in the service of your main argument or whether they are simply taking up space.
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How To Write A Critical Analysis Essay With Examples

Declan Gessel

May 4, 2024

critical in essay

A Critical Analysis Essay is a form of academic writing that requires students to extract information and critically analyze a specific topic. The task may seem daunting, but with the right approach, it can become an exciting task. 

Critical Analysis Essays help students improve their analytical skills and foster principles of logic. In this article, we are going to discuss how to write an essay and break it down for you. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride!

Table Of Content

What is a critical analysis essay, why the subject of your critical analysis essay is important, 5 reading strategies for critical analysis essay, building the body of your analysis, 5 things to avoid when writing your critical analysis essay, write smarter critical analysis essay with jotbot — start writing for free today.

essay written on a laptop screen - Critical Analysis Essay

When you write a critical analysis essay, you move beyond recounting the subject's main points and delve into examining it with a discerning eye. The goal? To form your own insights about the subject, based on the evidence you gather. 

This involves dissecting and contemplating the author's arguments , techniques, and themes while also developing your own critical response. While forming your own conclusions may sound intimidating, it's a key aspect of fine-tuning your critical thinking skills and organizing your thoughts into a cohesive, argumentative response. 

Key Skills in the Craft

This process consists of two key elements: understanding the core components of the subject and forming your own critical response, both supported by evidence. The first part involves grasping the subject's main arguments, techniques, and themes. The second part entails taking that knowledge and constructing your analytical and evaluative response. 

Deconstructing the Subject

In other words, roll up your sleeves and get deep into the subject matter. Start by identifying the author's main point, deconstructing their arguments, examining the structure and techniques they use, and exploring the underlying themes and messages. By engaging with the subject on this level, you'll have a thorough understanding of it and be better prepared to develop your own response. 

The Power of Evidence

Remember that evidence is your secret weapon for crafting a convincing analysis. This means going beyond summarizing the content and instead using specific examples from the subject to support your own arguments and interpretations. Evidence isn't just about facts, either; it can also be used to address the effectiveness of the subject, highlighting both its strengths and weaknesses. 

The Art of Evaluation

Lastly, put your evaluation skills to work. Critically assess the subject's effectiveness, pinpointing its strengths and potential shortcomings. From there, you can offer your own interpretation, supported by evidence from the subject itself. This is where you put everything you've learned about the subject to the test, showcasing your analytical skills and proving your point.

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Let’s delve on the importance of understanding the Work you'll be analyzing:

Main Argument

When diving into a work, one must unravel the central point or message the author is conveying. All other analyses stem from this fundamental point. By identifying and comprehending the main argument, one can dissect the various elements that support it, revealing the author's stance or point of view.

Themes are the underlying concepts and messages explored in the subject matter. By venturing into the depths of themes, one can unravel the layers of meaning within the work. Understanding these underlying ideas not only enriches the analysis but also sheds light on the author's intentions and insights.

Structure & Techniques

Understanding how the work is built - be it a chronological story, persuasive arguments, or the use of figurative language - provides insight into the author's craft. Structure and techniques can influence the way the work is perceived, and by dissecting them, one can appreciate the intricacies of the author's style and the impact it has on the audience.

In critical analysis, understanding the context can add an extra layer of depth to the analysis. Considering the historical, social, or cultural context in which the work was created can provide valuable insights into the author's influences, intentions, and the reception of the work. While not always necessary, contextual analysis can elucidate aspects of the work that might otherwise go unnoticed.

To conduct a comprehensive critical analysis , understanding the work you'll be analyzing is the foundation on which all other interpretations rely. By identifying the main argument, themes, structure, techniques, and context, a nuanced and insightful analysis can be crafted. This step sets the stage for a thorough examination of the work, bringing to light the nuances and complexities that make critical analysis a valuable tool in literary and artistic exploration.

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1. Close Reading: Go Deeper Than Skimming

Close reading is a focused approach to reading where you don't just skim the text. Instead, you pay close attention to every word, sentence, and detail. By doing this, you can uncover hidden meanings, themes, and literary devices that you might miss if you were reading too quickly. I recommend underlining or annotating key passages, literary devices, or recurring ideas. This helps you remember these important details later on when you're writing your critical analysis essay.

2. Active Note-Taking to Capture Important Points

When reading a text for a critical analysis essay, it's important to take active notes that go beyond summarizing the plot or main points. Instead, try jotting down the author's arguments, interesting details, confusing sections, and potential evidence for your analysis. These notes will give you a solid foundation to build your essay upon and will help you keep track of all the important elements of the text.

3. Identify Recurring Ideas: Look for Patterns

In a critical analysis essay, it's crucial to recognize recurring ideas, themes, motifs, or symbols that might hold deeper meaning. By looking for patterns in the text, you can uncover hidden messages or themes that the author might be trying to convey. Ask yourself why these elements are used repeatedly and how they contribute to the overall message of the text. By identifying these patterns, you can craft a more nuanced analysis of the text.

4. Consider the Author's Purpose

Authorial intent is an essential concept to consider when writing a critical analysis essay. Think about the author's goals: are they trying to inform, persuade, entertain, or something else entirely? Understanding the author's purpose can help you interpret the text more accurately and can give you insight into the author's motivations for writing the text in the first place.

5.  Question and Analyze your Arguments

In a critical analysis essay, it's important to take a critical approach to the text. Question the author's ideas, analyze the effectiveness of their arguments, and consider different interpretations. By approaching the text with a critical eye, you can craft a more thorough and nuanced analysis that goes beyond a surface-level reading of the text.

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Let’s delve on the essentials of building the body of your analysis: 

Topic Sentence Breakdown: The Purpose of a Strong Topic Sentence

A powerful topic sentence in each paragraph of your critical analysis essay serves as a roadmap for your reader. It tells them the focus of the paragraph, introducing the main point you will explore and tying it back to your thesis. For instance, in an essay about the role of symbolism in "The Great Gatsby," a topic sentence might read, "Fitzgerald's use of the green light symbolizes Gatsby's unattainable dreams, highlighting the theme of the American Dream's illusion."

Evidence Integration: The Significance of Evidence from the Subject

To bolster your arguments, you need to use evidence from the subject you are analyzing. For example, in "To Kill a Mockingbird," when explaining Atticus Finch's moral compass, using a quote like, "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view - until you climb into his skin and walk around in it," can back up your analysis. It proves that the character values empathy and understanding.

Textual Evidence: Integrating Quotes, Paraphrases, or Specific Details

When you quote or paraphrase text, ensure it directly relates to your analysis. For example, when discussing Sylvia Plath's use of imagery in "The Bell Jar," quote, "I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story." This paints a vivid picture for readers and helps solidify your point about the protagonist's feelings of entrapment.

Visual Evidence: Analyzing Specific Elements in the Artwork

If you are analyzing a painting, you can use visual details like color, lines, or symbolism as evidence. For instance, if exploring Van Gogh's "Starry Night," you could delve into the calming effect of the swirls in the sky or the stark contrast between the bright stars and the dark village below. This visual evidence helps explain the painting's emotional impact on viewers.

Analysis & Explanation: The Importance of Going Beyond Evidence Presentation

When examining evidence, don't stop at merely presenting it. Analyze how it supports your thesis. For instance, when exploring the role of the conch in "Lord of the Flies," after showing how it represents order, explain how its loss signals the boys' descent into savagery. By unpacking the evidence's meaning, you help readers understand why it matters and how it connects to your overall argument.

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1. Avoiding Summary vs. Analysis Pitfalls

When crafting a critical analysis essay, it's crucial not to fall into the trap of merely summarizing the subject without offering your own critical analysis. A summary merely recaps the content, while an analysis breaks down and interprets the subject. If you overlook this vital distinction, your essay will lack the depth and insight that characterize a strong critical analysis. Ensure your critical analysis essay doesn't read like an extended book report.

2. Steering Clear of Weak Thesis Statements

A critical analysis essay lives and dies on the strength of its thesis statement, the central argument that guides your analysis. A weak or vague thesis statement will result in an unfocused essay devoid of direction, leaving readers unclear about your point of view. It's essential to craft a thesis statement that is specific, arguable, and concise, setting the tone for a thoughtful and illuminating analysis.

3. Using Evidence is Key

The use of evidence from the subject matter under analysis is instrumental in substantiating your critical claims. Without evidence to back up your assertions, your analysis will appear unsubstantiated and unconvincing. Be sure to provide detailed examples, quotes, or data from the text under scrutiny to support your analysis. Evidence adds credibility, depth, and weight to your critical analysis essay.

4. The Importance of Clear and Supported Analysis

A successful critical analysis essay goes beyond simply presenting evidence to analyzing its significance and connecting it to your central argument. If your essay lacks clear analysis, readers won't understand the relevance of the evidence you present. Go beyond description to interpret the evidence, explaining its implications and how it supports your thesis. Without this analysis, your essay will lack depth and will not persuade your audience.

5. Addressing Counter Arguments

In a critical analysis essay, it's vital to acknowledge and engage with potential counterarguments. Ignoring opposing viewpoints undermines the credibility of your essay, presenting a one-sided argument that lacks nuance. Addressing counter arguments demonstrates that you understand the complexity of the issue and can anticipate and respond to objections. 

By incorporating counterarguments, you strengthen your analysis and enhance the overall persuasiveness of your critical essay.

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Critical Essay

Barbara P

Critical Essay Writing - An Ultimate Guide

Published on: Sep 3, 2020

Last updated on: Jan 29, 2024

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Critical Essay Outline -Step by Step Guide & Samples

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Are you tired of staring at a blank page, struggling to write a compelling critical essay?

In this comprehensive guide, you’ll get to learn all about critical essays. From steps to tips, this blog covers it all.

Plus, we’ve included some expertly written example essays and tips to ensure your critical essay lacks nothing. 

So, read on and learn!

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What Makes an Essay Critical?

A critical essay is not your typical run-of-the-mill essay. It goes beyond summarizing or describing a topic; instead, it dives deep into analysis, evaluation, and interpretation.

In a general essay, the focus is often on presenting information or sharing personal opinions. However, in a critical essay, the emphasis shifts toward examining and scrutinizing the subject matter. It involves a more in-depth exploration of the topic, breaking it down to uncover underlying meanings, implications, and flaws.

For instance, a general essay prompt might ask, "Discuss the benefits of technology in modern society." On the other hand, a critical essay prompt could challenge you with, "Analyze the ethical implications of technology's influence on personal privacy in modern society."

A critical essay goes beyond mere description or opinion-sharing, it demands interpretation. You become a storyteller, unraveling the hidden narratives within the topic. It's an opportunity to uncover the underlying motives and meanings and unravel the web of conflicting viewpoints.

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Characteristics of a Critical Essay

This type of essay particularly helps a student to learn how a provided subject is analyzed critically. This essay can be composed on a topic related to films, novels, poetry, video games, art, and many more. 

A good critical essay should have the following characteristics.

  • Central claim

Every outstanding critical essay revolves around a central claim, which is introduced right at the beginning. 

This claim is supported by a strong thesis statement that lays the foundation for the essay. As you progress, body paragraphs are dedicated to reinforcing the claim with compelling evidence and factual data. 

To further strengthen your argument, you may even acknowledge counterarguments and provide explanations.

A critical essay thrives on solid evidence. This evidence can take various forms, including dialogues, descriptions, or citations from secondary sources. 

Secondary sources often include scholarly works, articles, books, and other reputable references. 

By incorporating well-chosen evidence, you substantiate your central claim and show your knowledge of the subject matter. 

Once you have gathered relevant evidence, it's crucial to conduct a thorough analysis. 

Scrutinize the collected information to ensure its validity and relevance to support your claim. If you come across any weaknesses or shortcomings, replace them with more authentic and appropriate information. 

Remember, analysis is a vital aspect of a critical essay that should never be overlooked.

How to Write a Critical Essay?

Writing a critical essay is a technical thing to do, and a writer must have strong writing skills to write such an essay.

The following are the steps that help you in writing a critical essay. 

Let’s discuss them in detail. 

  • Examine Your Prompt/Topic 

Choose an interesting and captivating topic that will make your critical essay effective. 

Understanding the topic is crucial, so identify its strengths and weaknesses. Engage in critical reading to gather information and develop a solid understanding.

  • Conduct Research 

Once you've selected your topic, gather strong evidence and factual information to support your arguments. 

Research from reputable sources such as journals, books, and news articles. Stay focused during your research to avoid getting sidetracked. 

  • Create the Critical Essay Outline 

With your topic and relevant information in hand, create an outline for your essay. An outline provides structure and saves you time.  Typically, a critical essay includes three main sections:

  • Introduction
  • Body Paragraphs 

Here are the details of what each of the section covers in the essay:









Need help structuring your essay outline? Check out this guide on creating a critical essay outline !

4. Write the First Draft 

Start your critical essay with a concise summary of the main topic and its central claim. Analyze and evaluate the topic using supporting evidence. 

Conclude your essay by emphasizing the parts that support your argument. Maintain a formal writing style, use expressive language, and incorporate transitional sentences for coherence.

5. Proofread and Edit 

After completing the writing process, carefully revise your essay and rectify any minor mistakes. 

Proofreading is crucial for ensuring a high-quality essay. You can do it yourself or seek assistance from a friend. It's advisable to repeat the proofreading process multiple times for better results.

How to Write a Critical Essay

Critical Essay Examples

Examples make understanding things easy and more vivid. However, as discussed in the blog, a critical essay is not a typical type of essay and is also not easy to write. This is why looking at examples of the critical essay is important. 

Look at the following examples and see how a well-written critical essay is written. 

Critical Essay on Atlantis Theories

If you are a naive writer, the following example of a critical essay is perfect for your guidance. 

Critical Essay on Changing Gender Roles

Critical Essay about a Movie

Critical Essay on Jane Eyre

Critical Essay on Animal Farm

Critical Essay on Language Perception

Critical Essay on Oedipus Rex

Equality by Maya Angelou Critical Essay

Critical Essay Topics

One of the things that make an essay difficult for students is finding a good topic. For a critical essay, it is very important to have a good topic. 

Here we have made a shortlist of interesting topics that you might use and write an essay.  

  • Changing gender roles
  • Impact of technology
  • Homelessness
  • Drug abuse among teenagers
  • Multicultural societies
  • Islamophobia
  • First Nations of Canada
  • Connection of violent crimes with Genes
  • Wonders of the ancient world
  • How do you answer the question about wars in the U.S.?  
  • The pyramids of Giza
  • Colonization of America
  • Unemployment
  • Substitutes for fossil fuels

Thoroughly look into these topics and see which topic you find to be an interesting one for your critical essay.

Don’t see a suitable topic? Have a look at this extensive list of critical essay topics to choose from!

Critical Essay Writing Tips

Writing a critical essay requires very careful analysis and the construction of an effective argument.

If you are a naive writer or writing a critical essay for the first time, the following tips will help you write an effective critical essay. 

  • Be an Active Reader 

To write a good critical essay, the writer must be well-focused. The thing that keeps a reader focused is the availability of authentic information. And the best way to collect authentic information is to practice active reading strategies. 

This strategy will help you to identify specific details in the text that will make strong evidence to support your main argument. Reading is essential, especially if you aim to write a critical essay.

  • Read Examples

No matter how experienced a writer you are, examples will help you write an essay more effectively. 

In case you are writing a critical essay for the first time, it is going to be a challenging task for you. This is why before you hop on to the writing process, look into some critical essay examples online. 

Carefully read through the essay and pay attention to the structuring and the writing strategy of the essay. 

  • Avoid Using the Summarization 

Critical essays usually consist of an analysis and your personal opinion and interpretation of the text. It is not merely about the summary of the text in a general context. 

This is why be careful while writing and focus more on writing about your personal analysis regarding the argument rather than just writing summaries.

Learn more tips by viewing this video:

Now you've gained valuable insights into the art of writing a critical essay. So, it's time for you to put that knowledge to use and embark on your own critical writing adventure. You can also try our AI essay writer to get plagiarism-free content within a few minutes. 

However, if you still feel a little lost, it is best to hire professionals!

Our critical essay writing service is the perfect solution for you. You can rely on experienced professionals who will work closely with you to deliver a well-researched, well-structured critical essay.

At CollegeEssay.org , our " write my college essay " service aims to provide all our students with high-quality and impressive assignments. 

In case you are running out of time, or want to save your drowning grades, hit us up right now. Our customer service is available 24/7 to facilitate you and help you get well-written essays right on time. 

Place your order now and get amazing discount offers.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should you not do in a critical essay.

Here are some important points that you don’t include in a critical essay. 

  • Not focus on yourself. 
  • Do not mention the work’s title. 
  • Do not assume that the reader knows everything. 

How long is a critical analysis essay?

It is between 1-4 pages in length. 

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Barbara is a highly educated and qualified author with a Ph.D. in public health from an Ivy League university. She has spent a significant amount of time working in the medical field, conducting a thorough study on a variety of health issues. Her work has been published in several major publications.

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Critical Essay: The Complete Guide. Essay Topics, Examples and Outlines

Whether you specialize in literature or just write an essay for a class, knowing how to write a critical essay will give you an advantage throughout your studies at a university and in your professional career. Writing critical essays allows you to develop critical thinking skills, including attentive reading, technical analysis, academic writing skills, searching for reference books, and editing. Mastering these skills will help you conduct a scientific conversation and allow you to communicate and think more productively.

What is a Critical Essay?

A critical essay is an analysis of any piece of text. It can be a book, a movie, an article or even a painting. The main point of this type of an essay is to interpret text or position it in a wider context. For instance, if you write a critical analysis of a book, you may analyze the tone of its text and find out how it influences the overall meaning of the book. If you analyze a movie, you might concentrate on a symbol that you see over and over again. Nevertheless, you have to include an argumentative thesis about the text and have a lot of evidence sources, obviously textual, to support your statements.

How to write a Critical Essay? Step-by-Step Guide

  • Find out the topic as early as possible to plan your research.
  • Find the information you need in a wide variety of sources, including journal articles, books, encyclopedias, and news. Gather more information than you plan to actually refer to when writing a paper, but do not collect too much, it can distract you from the main thing, and you will eventually include it in your essay simply because you found it. Do not use Wikipedia and do not copy other people’s comments; no matter from which website you take them, plagiarism will be discovered.
  • Look through your sources to separate interesting information from irrelevant material. Interesting research can be found in books, literary guides, in published critical articles on your particular topic. And vice versa, do not investigate things that do not relate to your topic, what I mean is, do not engage in the study of witches, if the topic of your paper is a monarchy.
  • Carefully reread the relevant materials and evaluate them critically. Highlight, underline or otherwise mark the necessary information in your personal articles and books. Use colored stickers to draw your attention to important details in library books. Make a brief summary of each source after reading it. Pay attention to important details and highlight the main point of view for further use.
  • Formulate the thesis by reviewing your notes and research. You can write a more general thesis or ask an important question that your paper will answer.
  • Write a preliminary introduction, knowing that you can edit or even rewrite it later.
  • Develop an approximate plan based on your notes and studies.

Identify two or three main sections of the body of your essay. These sections should consist of your most important arguments. Use your notes and research to fill these sections with details. You can copy and paste the most important details or arguments into your plan.

  • Identify the relationships between sections of your essay and briefly describe them on the margins of your plan.
  • Use this connection to write an approximate conclusion.
  • Set your paper aside for a few days before rereading the draft.
  • Leave enough time to make a thorough review of all material that will clarify any illogical reasonings or arguments.
  • Complete your essay by carefully checking the final version of the printed version. Use your imagination and make the introduction interesting for readers. Write a clear thesis statement and use up-to-date sources, with a lot of useful information.

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Critical Essay Outline

Writing a good critical essay requires a deep analysis of a given topic, and the ability to form clear arguments in order to draw meaningful conclusions. It is important to be aware of the various elements that must be taken into consideration when ordering an essay in order to produce a well-structured, balanced and compelling piece of work. Doing so will help you understand the material better, think more critically, and come up with a more insightful analysis of the topic. Additionally, it will also help you to identify any gaps in the existing literature that can be addressed in your own research.

As with any other essay, the critical analysis consists of the introduction, body, and conclusion. The outline that you will see below is just a sample for you to understand what it can look like. Once you are comfortable, you are free to change it, add more details or arrange it differently to make it more effective. If you are really unsure what your essay is supposed to look like, you can also contact your teacher.

INTRODUCTION

The introduction has three main functions. First of all, you have to introduce the reader to the topic of your paper, what are you going to analyze here but briefly? Then, describe how are you going to address the topic of your paper. And finally, grab the reader’s attention, make them want to stay here, and read the rest of your paper.

BODY PARAGRAPHS

This is going to be the largest part of your essay. Here you have to write about something you said you are going to write about in the intro. In other words, support your thesis statement. You have to make a General Statement, then add some quotes to expand it or prove it. After that you have to explain how the quote relates to the thesis, here you have to ask yourself “so how does it relate to my thesis”. And do not forget about Transitions which are connecting paragraphs.

To write a paper in a relevant way, students need to add new information to their research and assess the significance of each argument. Critical essays are meant to be insightful and thought-provoking, so they should provide enough evidence and analysis to support the argument and connect it to the thesis statement. Moreover, students should pay attention to the structure of the essay and make sure they write a paper that is logically organized and easy to understand.

In other words, the conclusion is restating of your thesis. If you have written a strong and clear introduction, the conclusion will not be a problem at all.

So, you have to Restate your Thesis. But do not just repeat what you said before, put it differently. Basically, you said that you are about to prove to us something and now you have to show us that you did. And make a good ending. Make it memorable. Your reader has to have a feeling that the point has been proven.

Introduction

  • Attention-catcher
  • Briefly say what you are going to talk about
  • Thesis statement

Body paragraphs

  • Topic Sentence (piece of evidence that supports your opinion)
  • Supporting Evidence and Details
  • Concluding Sentence/Transition
  • Restate the thesis statement in different words
  • Summarize the main key pieces of evidence
  • Final closing sentence

Critical Essay Topics

Good critical essay topics.

  • Describe the way irony was used in your favorite classical book
  • Feminist ideologies in a piece of literature
  • Analyse how the background of the author affects his writing.
  • Describe the secondary characters in your favorite book
  • What makes a good and captivating drama series?
  • Choose a movie/series that recently won a best picture award
  • Provide one alternative to anti-poverty programs today and discuss
  • What are the problems of eating healthy? Discuss
  • What are the economic benefits of recycling? Discuss what makes it effective in your context
  • Discuss how historical figures is portrayed in movies

Critical Essay Tips

  • Try to start in advance, if possible. You will write a better essay and will not experience stress if you start writing earlier than the last night.
  • Finish the draft a few days earlier to leave time for checking it.
  • Ask a friend or a family member to check and comment on your essay. Professional writers write a few drafts of their work, and you, most likely, will have to do the same.
  • Work according to your own needs. For example, some people need a plan, while others believe that a formal plan kills inspiration. Find out what is best for you, and act accordingly.
  • Write in your own style. It is better to correctly use words that you know, than abuse words that you do not know, in an attempt to sound smarter.
  • Make sure that the quotes are given as accurately as possible, including inverted commas, statistics, and theoretical concepts. If in doubt, it’s better to be wrong in quoting than to be accused of not being able to conduct your research, which can lead to accusations of plagiarism.
  • Essays written at the last minute, suffer from a lack of logic and poor grammar. Remember that your teacher has read hundreds, if not thousands of student papers, and can easily understand that you wrote an essay at the last minute.

I know that you might still be lost in all these long explanations but bear with me. Here are some useful links you might like to review at Edusson :

  • Essay Topic Generator. Do not know how to name your essay? Then this link is just for you. Everything is simple, enter the keywords for your essay and select the category and you’ve got yourself a great title.
  • Essay Examples . I know that sometimes you just can’t start writing until you see how it is all supposed to look like. So, here you go – essay examples. Be sure not to rewrite the content, though.
  • Essay Checker . One of the most important parts of writing an essay is checking it once it’s done. You might write a great essay in terms of content, but if you have grammar mistakes or your answers are not relating to the questions, say goodbye to your good grade.
  • Essay Editing Service . Just to make sure you have not missed anything, use this service. Let a professional do their work.

Writing a good definition essay can be a challenging task. Students often need to pay for papers to be written for such assignments, and it is not always easy to find a reliable source for them. Fortunately, Edusson can provide quality papers and ensure that students get the best results. By using this custom essay writing service, students can be sure that their papers will meet the requirements of their professor and be of the highest quality.

So, that is it. I hope your skills will get even better now. Good luck!

Related posts:

  • Narrative Essay: Useful Guidelines for Writing
  • Research Paper Writing Help Guide
  • How to Write a Critical Thinking Essay: Effective Tips
  • How to Structure and Write an Effective Critique Paper

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Definition Essay: The Complete Guide with Essay Topics and Examples

Definition Essay: The Complete Guide with Essay Topics and Examples

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How to Write a Critical Essay

Last Updated: April 8, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Megan Morgan, PhD . Megan Morgan is a Graduate Program Academic Advisor in the School of Public & International Affairs at the University of Georgia. She earned her PhD in English from the University of Georgia in 2015. There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 1,164,185 times.

The goal of a critical essay is to analyze a book, film, article, painting, or event and support your argument with relevant details. When writing a paper like this, you will have to come up with an interpretation of your own and then use facts or evidence from the work or other sources to prove that your interpretation is acceptable. A critical essay on a book, for example, might focus on the tone and how that influences the meaning of the book overall and would use quotations from the book to support the thesis. This type of paper requires careful planning and writing, but is often a creative way to engage with a subject that you are interested in and can be very rewarding!

Preparing to Write a Critical Essay

Step 1 Make sure that you understand the assignment.

  • Get to know the text inside and out by reading and rereading it. If you have been asked to write about a visual text like a film or piece of art, watch the film multiple times or view the painting from various angles and distances.

Step 3 Take notes as you read your text.

  • What is the text about?
  • What are the main ideas?
  • What is puzzling about the text?
  • What is the purpose of this text?
  • Does the text accomplish its purpose? If not, why not? Is so, how so? [3] X Research source Don't: summarize the plot — you should already be familiar with it. Do: jot down thoughts that may guide your paper: Does he mean __? Does this connect to __?

Step 4 Review your notes to identify patterns and problems.

  • Your solution to the problem should help you to develop a focus for your essay, but keep in mind that you do not need to have a solid argument about your text at this point. As you continue to think about the text, you will move closer to a focus and a thesis for your critical analysis essay. Don't: read the author's mind: Mary Shelley intended Frankenstein's monster to be more likable because... Do: phrase it as your own interpretation: Frankenstein's monster is more sympathetic than his creator, leading the reader to question who the true monster really is.

Conducting Research

Step 1 Find appropriate secondary sources if required.

  • Books, articles from scholarly journals, magazine articles, newspaper articles, and trustworthy websites are some sources that you might consider using.
  • Use your library’s databases rather than a general internet search. University libraries subscribe to many databases. These databases provide you with free access to articles and other resources that you cannot usually gain access to by using a search engine.

Step 2 Evaluate your sources to determine their credibility.

  • The author and his or her credentials. Choose sources that include an author’s name and that provide credentials for that author. The credentials should indicate something about why this person is qualified to speak as an authority on the subject. For example, an article about a medical condition will be more trustworthy if the author is a medical doctor. If you find a source where no author is listed or the author does not have any credentials, then this source may not be trustworthy. [5] X Research source
  • Citations. Think about whether or not this author has adequately researched the topic. Check the author’s bibliography or works cited page. If the author has provided few or no sources, then this source may not be trustworthy. [6] X Research source
  • Bias. Think about whether or not this author has presented an objective, well-reasoned account of the topic. How often does the tone indicate a strong preference for one side of the argument? How often does the argument dismiss or disregard the opposition’s concerns or valid arguments? If these are regular occurrences in the source, then it may not be a good choice. [7] X Research source (Note, however, that literary criticism often presents a very strong preference for one reading; this is not usually considered "bias" because the field of literary study is inherently subjective.) Don't: dismiss an author for favoring one point of view. Do: engage critically with their argument and make use of well-supported claims.
  • Publication date. Think about whether or not this source presents the most up to date information on the subject. Noting the publication date is especially important for scientific subjects, since new technologies and techniques have made some earlier findings irrelevant. [8] X Research source
  • Information provided in the source. If you are still questioning the trustworthiness of this source, cross check some of the information provided against a trustworthy source. If the information that this author presents contradicts one of your trustworthy sources, then it might not be a good source to use in your paper. [9] X Research source

Step 3 Read your research.

  • Clearly indicate when you have quoted a source word for word by putting it into quotation marks and including information about the source such as the author’s name, article or book title, and page number. Don't: highlight a phrase just because it sounds significant or meaningful. Do: highlight phrases that support or undermine your arguments.

Writing Your Essay

Step 1 Develop your tentative thesis.

  • Make sure your thesis provides enough detail. In other words, avoid simply saying that something is "good" or "effective" and say what specifically makes it "good" or "effective." [12] X Trustworthy Source University of North Carolina Writing Center UNC's on-campus and online instructional service that provides assistance to students, faculty, and others during the writing process Go to source
  • Place your thesis statement at the end of your first paragraph unless your instructor tells you to place it elsewhere. The end of the first paragraph is the traditional place to provide your thesis in an academic essay.
  • For example, here is a multi-sentence thesis statement about the effectiveness and purpose of the movie Mad Max: Fury Road : "Many action films follow the same traditional pattern: a male action hero (usually white and attractive) follows his gut and barks orders at others, who must follow him or die. Mad Max: Fury Road is effective because it turns this pattern on its head. Instead of following the expected progression, the movie offers an action movie with multiple heroes, many of whom are women, thereby effectively challenging patriarchal standards in the Hollywood summer blockbuster." Don't: include obvious facts ( Mad Max was directed by George Miller ) or subjective opinions ( Mad Max is the greatest movie of 2015 ). [13] X Trustworthy Source University of North Carolina Writing Center UNC's on-campus and online instructional service that provides assistance to students, faculty, and others during the writing process Go to source Do: present an argument that you can back up with evidence.

Step 2 Develop a rough...

  • You may want to use a formal outline structure that uses Roman numerals, Arabic numerals, and letters. Or, you may want to use an informal "mind-map" type of outline, which allows you to gather your ideas before you have a complete idea of how they progress.

Step 3 Begin your essay with an engaging sentence that gets right into your topic.

  • Other good techniques to open an essay include using a specific, evocative detail that links to your larger idea, asking a question that your essay will answer, or providing a compelling statistic.

Step 4 Provide background information to help guide your readers.

  • If you are writing about a book, provide the name of the work, the author, and a brief summary of the plot.
  • If you are writing about a film, provide a brief synopsis.
  • If you are writing about a painting or other still image, provide a brief description for your readers.
  • Keep in mind that your background information in the first paragraph should lead up to your thesis statement. Explain everything the reader needs to know to understand what your topic is about, then narrow it down until you reach the topic itself.

Step 5 Use your body paragraphs to discuss specific components of your text.

  • Provide a claim at the beginning of the paragraph.
  • Support your claim with at least one example from your primary source(s).
  • Support your claim with at least one example from your secondary sources.

Step 6 Develop a conclusion for your essay.

  • Summarize and review your main ideas about the text.
  • Explain how the topic affects the reader.
  • Explain how your narrow topic applies to a broader theme or observation.
  • Call the reader to action or further exploration on the topic.
  • Present new questions that your essay introduced. Don't: repeat the same points you made earlier in the essay. Do: refer back to earlier points and connect them into a single argument.

Revising Your Essay

Step 1 Set aside your paper for a few days before revising your draft.

  • It is important to begin writing a paper far enough ahead of time to allow yourself a few days or even a week to revise before it is due. If you do not allow yourself this extra time, you will be more prone to making simple mistakes and your grade may suffer as a result. [16] X Research source

Step 2 Give yourself sufficient time to do a substantive revision that clarifies any confusing logic or arguments.

  • What is your main point? How might you clarify your main point?
  • Who is your audience? Have you considered their needs and expectations?
  • What is your purpose? Have you accomplished your purpose with this paper?
  • How effective is your evidence? How might your strengthen your evidence?
  • Does every part of your paper relate back to your thesis? How might you enhance these connections?
  • Is anything confusing about your language or organization? How might your clarify your language or organization?
  • Have you made any errors with grammar, punctuation, or spelling? How can you correct these errors?
  • What might someone who disagrees with you say about your paper? How can you address these opposing arguments in your paper? [17] X Research source

Step 3 Complete your paper by carefully proofreading a printed version of your final draft.

  • If you are submitting your paper online or through email, check with your teacher or professor to find out what format s/he prefers. If you have used any textual formatting in your paper, you may wish to save it as a PDF file to preserve your formatting.

Sample Essays

critical in essay

Community Q&A

Community Answer

  • Ask a friend, family member or other acquaintance to proofread and make constructive comments on your paper. Professional writers go through several drafts of their work and you should expect to do the same. Thanks Helpful 9 Not Helpful 0
  • It is often easier to write a rough introduction and proceed with the rest of the paper before returning to revise the introduction. If you're feeling lost on how to introduce your paper, write a placeholder introduction. Thanks Helpful 8 Not Helpful 1
  • Write in your own voice. It is better to correctly use the words you know than to misuse the words you do not know in an attempt to sound scholarly. Thanks Helpful 6 Not Helpful 1

critical in essay

  • Make sure to cite all of your research including quotations, statistics and theoretical concepts as accurately as possible. When in doubt, err on the side of citing more rather than less, since failing to cite your research can result in a charge of plagiarism. Thanks Helpful 6 Not Helpful 2
  • Papers written at the last minute suffer from logic gaps and poor grammar. Remember that your teacher has read hundreds, if not thousands of student papers, and as such, can tell when you've written a paper at the last minute. Thanks Helpful 6 Not Helpful 2

You Might Also Like

Write a Research Introduction

  • ↑ https://uwc.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/UWC_handouts_readingessayprompts.pdf
  • ↑ http://www.sussex.ac.uk/s3/?id=122
  • ↑ http://www2.southeastern.edu/Academics/Faculty/elejeune/critique.htm
  • ↑ https://guides.lib.uw.edu/research/faq/reliable
  • ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/553/03/
  • ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/673/1/
  • ↑ http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/thesis-statements/
  • ↑ https://www.irsc.edu/students/academicsupportcenter/researchpaper/researchpaper.aspx?id=4294967433
  • ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/engagement/2/2/58/
  • ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/561/05/

About This Article

Megan Morgan, PhD

To write a critical essay, develop a thesis that expresses your essay's main focus and states an arguable claim. Next, write an introduction that gives a basic overview of your paper and introduces your thesis. Then, create paragraphs that discuss your specific ideas, focusing on one main idea per paragraph. Be sure to start each paragraph with a claim and use examples from primary and secondary sources to support that claim. Finally, create a conclusion that summarizes your main points. For tips on outlining and revising your paper, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Academic writing: a practical guide

Criticality in academic writing.

  • Academic writing
  • The writing process
  • Academic writing style
  • Structure & cohesion
  • Working with evidence
  • Referencing
  • Assessment & feedback
  • Dissertations
  • Reflective writing
  • Examination writing
  • Academic posters
  • Feedback on Structure and Organisation
  • Feedback on Argument, Analysis, and Critical Thinking
  • Feedback on Writing Style and Clarity
  • Feedback on Referencing and Research
  • Feedback on Presentation and Proofreading

Being critical is at the heart of academic writing, but what is it and how can you incorporate it into your work?

What is criticality?

What is critical thinking.

Have you ever received feedback in a piece of work saying 'be more critical' or 'not enough critical analysis' but found yourself scratching your head, wondering what that means? Dive into this bitesize workshop to discover what it is and how to do it:

Critical Thinking: What it is and how to do it (bitesize workshop)[YouTube]

University-level work requires both descriptive and critical elements. But what's the difference?

Descriptive

Being descriptive shows what you know about a topic and provides the evidence to support your arguments. It uses simpler processes like  remembering , understanding and applying . You might summarise previous research, explain concepts or describe processes.

Being critical pulls evidence together to build your arguments; what does it all mean together? It uses more complex processes: analysing ,  evaluating and creating . You might make comparisons, consider reasons and implications, justify choices or consider strengths and weaknesses.

Bloom's Taxonomy  is a useful tool to consider descriptive and critical processes:

Bloom's Taxonomy [YouTube]  |  Bloom's Taxonomy [Google Doc]

Find out more about critical thinking:

Being critical

What is critical writing?

Academic writing requires criticality; it's not enough to just describe or summarise evidence, you also need to analyse and evaluate information and use it to build your own arguments. This is where you show your own thoughts based on the evidence available, so critical writing is really important for higher grades.

Explore the key features of critical writing and see it in practice in some examples:

Introduction to critical writing [Google Slides]

While we need criticality in our writing, it's definitely possible to go further than needed. We’re aiming for that Goldilocks ‘just right’ point between not critical enough and too critical. Find out more:

Google Doc

Critical reading

Criticality isn't just for writing, it is also important to read critically. Reading critically helps you:

  • evaluative whether sources are suitable for your assignments.
  • know what you're looking for when reading.
  • find the information you need quickly.

Critical reading [Interactive tutorial]  |  Critical reading [Google Doc]

Find out more on our dedicated guides:

Being Critical

Using evidence critically

Academic writing integrates evidence from sources to create your own critical arguments.

We're not looking for a list of summaries of individual sources; ideally, the important evidence should be integrated into a cohesive whole.  What does the evidence mean altogether?  Of course, a critical argument also needs some critical analysis of this evidence.  What does it all mean in terms of your argument?

Find out more about using evidence to build critical arguments in our guide to working with evidence:

critical in essay

Critical language

Critical writing is going to require critical language. Different terms will give different nuance to your argument. Others will just keep things interesting! In the document below we go through some examples to help you out:

Assignment titles: critical or descriptive?

Assignment titles contain various words that show where you need to be descriptive and where you need to be critical. Explore some of the most common instructional words: 

Descriptive instructional words

define : give the precise meaning

examine : look at carefully; consider different aspects

explain : clearly describe how a process works, why a decision was made, or give other information needed to understand the topic

illustrate : explain and describe using examples

outline : give an overview of the key information, leaving out minor details

Critical instructional words

analyse : break down the information into parts, consider how parts work together

discuss : explain a topic, make comparisons, consider strengths & weaknesses, give reasons, consider implications

evaluate : assess something's worth, value or suitability for a purpose - this often leads to making a choice afterwards

justify : show the reasoning behind a choice, argument or standpoint

synthesise : bring together evidence and information to create a cohesive whole, integrate ideas or issues

CC BY-NC-SA Learnhigher

More guidance on breaking down assignment titles:

  • << Previous: Structure & cohesion
  • Next: Working with evidence >>
  • Last Updated: Jul 1, 2024 6:09 PM
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Research Method

Home » Critical Analysis – Types, Examples and Writing Guide

Critical Analysis – Types, Examples and Writing Guide

Table of Contents

Critical Analysis

Critical Analysis

Definition:

Critical analysis is a process of examining a piece of work or an idea in a systematic, objective, and analytical way. It involves breaking down complex ideas, concepts, or arguments into smaller, more manageable parts to understand them better.

Types of Critical Analysis

Types of Critical Analysis are as follows:

Literary Analysis

This type of analysis focuses on analyzing and interpreting works of literature , such as novels, poetry, plays, etc. The analysis involves examining the literary devices used in the work, such as symbolism, imagery, and metaphor, and how they contribute to the overall meaning of the work.

Film Analysis

This type of analysis involves examining and interpreting films, including their themes, cinematography, editing, and sound. Film analysis can also include evaluating the director’s style and how it contributes to the overall message of the film.

Art Analysis

This type of analysis involves examining and interpreting works of art , such as paintings, sculptures, and installations. The analysis involves examining the elements of the artwork, such as color, composition, and technique, and how they contribute to the overall meaning of the work.

Cultural Analysis

This type of analysis involves examining and interpreting cultural artifacts , such as advertisements, popular music, and social media posts. The analysis involves examining the cultural context of the artifact and how it reflects and shapes cultural values, beliefs, and norms.

Historical Analysis

This type of analysis involves examining and interpreting historical documents , such as diaries, letters, and government records. The analysis involves examining the historical context of the document and how it reflects the social, political, and cultural attitudes of the time.

Philosophical Analysis

This type of analysis involves examining and interpreting philosophical texts and ideas, such as the works of philosophers and their arguments. The analysis involves evaluating the logical consistency of the arguments and assessing the validity and soundness of the conclusions.

Scientific Analysis

This type of analysis involves examining and interpreting scientific research studies and their findings. The analysis involves evaluating the methods used in the study, the data collected, and the conclusions drawn, and assessing their reliability and validity.

Critical Discourse Analysis

This type of analysis involves examining and interpreting language use in social and political contexts. The analysis involves evaluating the power dynamics and social relationships conveyed through language use and how they shape discourse and social reality.

Comparative Analysis

This type of analysis involves examining and interpreting multiple texts or works of art and comparing them to each other. The analysis involves evaluating the similarities and differences between the texts and how they contribute to understanding the themes and meanings conveyed.

Critical Analysis Format

Critical Analysis Format is as follows:

I. Introduction

  • Provide a brief overview of the text, object, or event being analyzed
  • Explain the purpose of the analysis and its significance
  • Provide background information on the context and relevant historical or cultural factors

II. Description

  • Provide a detailed description of the text, object, or event being analyzed
  • Identify key themes, ideas, and arguments presented
  • Describe the author or creator’s style, tone, and use of language or visual elements

III. Analysis

  • Analyze the text, object, or event using critical thinking skills
  • Identify the main strengths and weaknesses of the argument or presentation
  • Evaluate the reliability and validity of the evidence presented
  • Assess any assumptions or biases that may be present in the text, object, or event
  • Consider the implications of the argument or presentation for different audiences and contexts

IV. Evaluation

  • Provide an overall evaluation of the text, object, or event based on the analysis
  • Assess the effectiveness of the argument or presentation in achieving its intended purpose
  • Identify any limitations or gaps in the argument or presentation
  • Consider any alternative viewpoints or interpretations that could be presented
  • Summarize the main points of the analysis and evaluation
  • Reiterate the significance of the text, object, or event and its relevance to broader issues or debates
  • Provide any recommendations for further research or future developments in the field.

VI. Example

  • Provide an example or two to support your analysis and evaluation
  • Use quotes or specific details from the text, object, or event to support your claims
  • Analyze the example(s) using critical thinking skills and explain how they relate to your overall argument

VII. Conclusion

  • Reiterate your thesis statement and summarize your main points
  • Provide a final evaluation of the text, object, or event based on your analysis
  • Offer recommendations for future research or further developments in the field
  • End with a thought-provoking statement or question that encourages the reader to think more deeply about the topic

How to Write Critical Analysis

Writing a critical analysis involves evaluating and interpreting a text, such as a book, article, or film, and expressing your opinion about its quality and significance. Here are some steps you can follow to write a critical analysis:

  • Read and re-read the text: Before you begin writing, make sure you have a good understanding of the text. Read it several times and take notes on the key points, themes, and arguments.
  • Identify the author’s purpose and audience: Consider why the author wrote the text and who the intended audience is. This can help you evaluate whether the author achieved their goals and whether the text is effective in reaching its audience.
  • Analyze the structure and style: Look at the organization of the text and the author’s writing style. Consider how these elements contribute to the overall meaning of the text.
  • Evaluate the content : Analyze the author’s arguments, evidence, and conclusions. Consider whether they are logical, convincing, and supported by the evidence presented in the text.
  • Consider the context: Think about the historical, cultural, and social context in which the text was written. This can help you understand the author’s perspective and the significance of the text.
  • Develop your thesis statement : Based on your analysis, develop a clear and concise thesis statement that summarizes your overall evaluation of the text.
  • Support your thesis: Use evidence from the text to support your thesis statement. This can include direct quotes, paraphrases, and examples from the text.
  • Write the introduction, body, and conclusion : Organize your analysis into an introduction that provides context and presents your thesis, a body that presents your evidence and analysis, and a conclusion that summarizes your main points and restates your thesis.
  • Revise and edit: After you have written your analysis, revise and edit it to ensure that your writing is clear, concise, and well-organized. Check for spelling and grammar errors, and make sure that your analysis is logically sound and supported by evidence.

When to Write Critical Analysis

You may want to write a critical analysis in the following situations:

  • Academic Assignments: If you are a student, you may be assigned to write a critical analysis as a part of your coursework. This could include analyzing a piece of literature, a historical event, or a scientific paper.
  • Journalism and Media: As a journalist or media person, you may need to write a critical analysis of current events, political speeches, or media coverage.
  • Personal Interest: If you are interested in a particular topic, you may want to write a critical analysis to gain a deeper understanding of it. For example, you may want to analyze the themes and motifs in a novel or film that you enjoyed.
  • Professional Development : Professionals such as writers, scholars, and researchers often write critical analyses to gain insights into their field of study or work.

Critical Analysis Example

An Example of Critical Analysis Could be as follow:

Research Topic:

The Impact of Online Learning on Student Performance

Introduction:

The introduction of the research topic is clear and provides an overview of the issue. However, it could benefit from providing more background information on the prevalence of online learning and its potential impact on student performance.

Literature Review:

The literature review is comprehensive and well-structured. It covers a broad range of studies that have examined the relationship between online learning and student performance. However, it could benefit from including more recent studies and providing a more critical analysis of the existing literature.

Research Methods:

The research methods are clearly described and appropriate for the research question. The study uses a quasi-experimental design to compare the performance of students who took an online course with those who took the same course in a traditional classroom setting. However, the study may benefit from using a randomized controlled trial design to reduce potential confounding factors.

The results are presented in a clear and concise manner. The study finds that students who took the online course performed similarly to those who took the traditional course. However, the study only measures performance on one course and may not be generalizable to other courses or contexts.

Discussion :

The discussion section provides a thorough analysis of the study’s findings. The authors acknowledge the limitations of the study and provide suggestions for future research. However, they could benefit from discussing potential mechanisms underlying the relationship between online learning and student performance.

Conclusion :

The conclusion summarizes the main findings of the study and provides some implications for future research and practice. However, it could benefit from providing more specific recommendations for implementing online learning programs in educational settings.

Purpose of Critical Analysis

There are several purposes of critical analysis, including:

  • To identify and evaluate arguments : Critical analysis helps to identify the main arguments in a piece of writing or speech and evaluate their strengths and weaknesses. This enables the reader to form their own opinion and make informed decisions.
  • To assess evidence : Critical analysis involves examining the evidence presented in a text or speech and evaluating its quality and relevance to the argument. This helps to determine the credibility of the claims being made.
  • To recognize biases and assumptions : Critical analysis helps to identify any biases or assumptions that may be present in the argument, and evaluate how these affect the credibility of the argument.
  • To develop critical thinking skills: Critical analysis helps to develop the ability to think critically, evaluate information objectively, and make reasoned judgments based on evidence.
  • To improve communication skills: Critical analysis involves carefully reading and listening to information, evaluating it, and expressing one’s own opinion in a clear and concise manner. This helps to improve communication skills and the ability to express ideas effectively.

Importance of Critical Analysis

Here are some specific reasons why critical analysis is important:

  • Helps to identify biases: Critical analysis helps individuals to recognize their own biases and assumptions, as well as the biases of others. By being aware of biases, individuals can better evaluate the credibility and reliability of information.
  • Enhances problem-solving skills : Critical analysis encourages individuals to question assumptions and consider multiple perspectives, which can lead to creative problem-solving and innovation.
  • Promotes better decision-making: By carefully evaluating evidence and arguments, critical analysis can help individuals make more informed and effective decisions.
  • Facilitates understanding: Critical analysis helps individuals to understand complex issues and ideas by breaking them down into smaller parts and evaluating them separately.
  • Fosters intellectual growth : Engaging in critical analysis challenges individuals to think deeply and critically, which can lead to intellectual growth and development.

Advantages of Critical Analysis

Some advantages of critical analysis include:

  • Improved decision-making: Critical analysis helps individuals make informed decisions by evaluating all available information and considering various perspectives.
  • Enhanced problem-solving skills : Critical analysis requires individuals to identify and analyze the root cause of a problem, which can help develop effective solutions.
  • Increased creativity : Critical analysis encourages individuals to think outside the box and consider alternative solutions to problems, which can lead to more creative and innovative ideas.
  • Improved communication : Critical analysis helps individuals communicate their ideas and opinions more effectively by providing logical and coherent arguments.
  • Reduced bias: Critical analysis requires individuals to evaluate information objectively, which can help reduce personal biases and subjective opinions.
  • Better understanding of complex issues : Critical analysis helps individuals to understand complex issues by breaking them down into smaller parts, examining each part and understanding how they fit together.
  • Greater self-awareness: Critical analysis helps individuals to recognize their own biases, assumptions, and limitations, which can lead to personal growth and development.

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5 Tips for writing a critical essay

The following table provides a helpful summary of key questions you should ask yourself as you prepare an essay that demonstrates the level of criticality expected at postgraduate level. The suggestions in the ‘do’ and ‘don’t’ columns are equally important so pay attention to suggestions.

Table 3 Tips for writing a critical essay
Answer the question. Keep referring back to the title – both mentally and in your work. Forget the title. It is amazing how many people do!
Contextualise – give background to help your reader but include ONLY what is really necessary.Just narrate or ‘splurge’, telling the whole story starting from the big bang and including everything you ever heard about the topic!
Outline, trace or summarise briefly instead of including superfluous data or detail. Describe in too much detail or include all your data – unless specifically asked to. Reserve your main effort for the most important parts – the analysis and discussion.
Define your terms, the problem etc. Tip-toe around the issue, not being specific.
Show processes in a logical order. Muddle everything together.
Explain subtle points and finer details. State the obvious, repeat or over-explain.
Be precise, clear, direct and to the point. Be concise: reduce what you say to its essence in both your thinking and your communicating.

Be vague or include detail that doesn’t help answer the question.

Oversimplify or see things ‘in black and white’.

Use definite, specific, concrete language. Use terms consistently – stick to one meaning for each, or explain if you need a different usage.

Use loaded or deliberately emotive language.

Use colloquial expressions, phrases or clichés (e.g. the word ‘get’ can often be replaced by a more specific term appropriate to the context – e.g. ‘purchase’, ‘arrive’, ‘achieve’).

Use ‘signposting’ to help the reader follow your thread: provide the reader with strong ‘umbrella’ sentences at beginnings of paragraphs, ‘signposts’ throughout, and brief ‘so what’ summary sentences at intermediate points to help your reader understand your comparisons and analyses. Assume the reader knows why you are including the information you are. Instead tell them explicitly why it’s relevant and what it shows, so that they can follow your line of thought without having to guess at connections you make in your head.

Emphasise an important point by giving it a prime place in the sentence or paragraph, or by reinforcing it with the language you use, e.g. ‘Something which needs particularly careful consideration is…’ or ‘It may appear that x is the case, but evidence shows that what actually occurs is y’.

Give specific examples to illustrate the points you make about how something happens in context.

Repeat the same information in the same or slightly different words in the hope that the reader will not notice that you are padding it out! On the contrary, the reader will definitely notice and will be bored!
Support and illustrate your claims with appropriate evidence and examples. Exploit the information you have, and show your reading with up to date and appropriate references. Copy and paste from texts books and articles. Refer to books, because they sound impressive, even though you have not read them.
Develop your argument to reflect your actual findings and reading. Decide what you think first and then twist the facts or refer to texts selectively to make them fit your claims.
Analyse and discuss issues, looking at pros/cons, strengths/weaknesses, patterns/trends, connections and complexities, and aim to propose a convincing theory with some input of your own derived from your research. Make unproven assumptions and generalisations, especially from merely anecdotal evidence or personal experience alone.
Persuade and convince, showing why you think what you’re saying is interesting, relevant and valid. Rely on persuasive language alone to make your point.
Start from a reliable premise (e.g. smoking has been shown to cause heart disease and lung cancer) and arrive at a reliable conclusion (therefore it is reasonable to say that smoking is a health hazard). Construct a faulty argument on the basis of a weak premise, e.g. there is a strong correlation between people’s shoe size and the size of their vocabulary. Therefore having a large vocabulary causes your feet to grow.
Make intelligent suggestions, predictions and hypotheses using appropriate language to show that what is said is only one possible interpretation or belief. Useful words are: ‘highly likely’, ‘probably’, ‘not very likely’, ‘highly unlikely’, ‘often’, ‘usually’, ‘seldom’, ‘I doubt’, ‘I suspect’, ‘most’, ‘many’, ‘some’, ‘it could be said’, ‘it seems’, ‘evidence suggests’… Choose ‘it could be’ rather than saying ‘it is’. Make absolute statements unless stating a very simple non-debatable fact (like ‘the Earth is a planet’ – and even then it is better to say ‘The Earth is considered a planet because…’ to allow for the possibility that someone may one day prove otherwise or re-categorise it…).
Account for weaknesses in your own argument, rather than leaving them for your reader to criticise – this will undermine your credibility, whereas pointing up your own faults will show thoroughness, and filling in the gaps will help convince. Ignore or overlook faulty logic in your own or others’ work.
Comment / pass judgment, giving a reasoned opinion based on evidence analysis (Cottrell, 1999).Write descriptive and repetitious comments rather than giving an opinion.
Consider and evaluate others’ ideas, whether they oppose yours or not. Ignore opposing arguments, as this will weaken your own.
Reject and refute others’ theories if you find them unconvincing – AS LONG AS you can justify your response in scholarly terms, i.e. your objections are formed from your research. Agree with or accept unquestioningly information, arguments, theories or the beliefs of others just because they seem like authorities – i.e. have published their written work.
Make recommendations according to the results of your study and your findings. Moralise or preach, rant or tell people what you think they should do.

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What do you critically analyse?

In a critical analysis you do not express your own opinion or views on the topic. You need to develop your thesis, position or stance on the topic from the views and research of others . In academic writing you critically analyse other researchers’:

  • concepts, terms
  • viewpoints, arguments, positions
  • methodologies, approaches
  • research results and conclusions

This means weighing up the strength of the arguments or research support on the topic, and deciding who or what has the more or stronger weight of evidence or support.

Therefore, your thesis argues, with evidence, why a particular theory, concept, viewpoint, methodology, or research result(s) is/are stronger, more sound, or more advantageous than others.

What does ‘analysis’ mean?

A critical analysis means analysing or breaking down the parts of the literature and grouping these into themes, patterns or trends.

In an analysis you need to:

1. Identify and separate out the parts of the topic by grouping the various key theories, main concepts, the main arguments or ideas, and the key research results and conclusions on the topic into themes, patterns or trends of agreement , dispute and omission .

2. Discuss each of these parts by explaining:

i. the areas of agreement/consensus, or similarity

ii. the issues or controversies: in dispute or debate, areas of difference

ii. the omissions, gaps, or areas that are under-researched

3. Discuss the relationship between these parts

4. Examine how each contributes to the whole topic

5. Make conclusions about their significance or importance in the topic

What does ‘critical’ mean?

A critical analysis does not mean writing angry, rude or disrespectful comments, or  expressing your views in judgmental terms of black and white, good and bad, or right and wrong.

To be critical, or to critique, means to evaluate . Therefore, to write critically in an academic analysis means to:

  • judge the quality, significance or worth of the theories, concepts, viewpoints, methodologies, and research results
  • evaluate in a fair and balanced manner
  • avoid extreme or emotional language

strengths and weaknesses computer keys showing performance or an

  • strengths, advantages, benefits, gains, or improvements
  • disadvantages, weaknesses, shortcomings, limitations, or drawbacks

How to critically analyse a theory, model or framework

The evaluative words used most often to refer to theory, model or framework are a sound theory or a strong theory.

The table below summarizes the criteria for judging the strengths and weaknesses of a theory:

  • comprehensive
  • empirically supported
  • parsimonious

Evaluating a Theory, Model or Framework

The table below lists the criteria for the strengths and their corresponding weaknesses that are usually considered in a theory.

Comprehensively accounts for main phenomenaoverlooks or omits important features or concepts
Clear, detailedvague, unexplained, ill-defined, misconceived
Main tenets or concepts are logical and consistentconcepts or tenets are inconsistent or contradictory
Practical, usefulimpractical, unuseful
Applicable across a range of settings, contexts, groups and conditionslimited or narrow applicability
Empirically supported by a large body of evidence

propositions and predictions are supported by evidence
supported by small or no body of evidence

insufficient empirical support for the propositions and predictions
Up-to-date, accounts for new developmentsoutdated
Parsimonius (not excessive): simple, clear, with few variablesexcessive, overly complex or complicated

Critical analysis examples of theories

The following sentences are examples of the phrases used to explain strengths and weaknesses.

Smith’s (2005) theory appears up to date, practical and applicable across many divergent settings.

Brown’s (2010) theory, although parsimonious and logical, lacks a sufficient body of evidence to support its propositions and predictions

Little scientific evidence has been presented to support the premises of this theory.

One of the limitations with this theory is that it does not explain why…

A significant strength of this model is that it takes into account …

The propositions of this model appear unambiguous and logical.

A key problem with this framework is the conceptual inconsistency between ….

How to critically analyse a concept

The table below summarizes the criteria for judging the strengths and weaknesses of a concept:

  • key variables identified
  • clear and well-defined

Evaluating Concepts

Key variables or constructs identifiedkey variables or constructs omitted or missed
Clear, well-defined, specific, preciseambiguous, vague, ill-defined, overly general, imprecise, not sufficiently distinctive

overinclusive, too broad, or narrowly defined
Meaningful, usefulconceptually flawed
Logicalcontradictory
Relevantquestionable relevance
Up-to-dateout of date

Critical analysis examples of concepts

Many researchers have used the concept of control in different ways.

There is little consensus about what constitutes automaticity.

Putting forth a very general definition of motivation means that it is possible that any behaviour could be included.

The concept of global education lacks clarity, is imprecisely defined and is overly complex.

Some have questioned the usefulness of resilience as a concept because it has been used so often and in so many contexts.

Research suggests that the concept of preoperative fasting is an outdated clinical approach.

How to critically analyse arguments, viewpoints or ideas

The table below summarizes the criteria for judging the strengths and weaknesses of an argument, viewpoint or idea:

  • reasons support the argument
  • argument is substantiated by evidence
  • evidence for the argument is relevant
  • evidence for the argument is unbiased, sufficient and important
  • evidence is reputable

Evaluating Arguments, Views or Ideas

Reasons and evidence provided support the argumentthe reasons or evidence do not support the argument - overgeneralization
Substantiated (supported) by factual evidenceinsufficient substantiation (support)
Evidence is relevant and believableBased on peripheral or irrelevant evidence
Unbiased: sufficient or important evidence or ideas included and considered.biased: overlooks, omits, disregards, or is selective with important or relevant evidence or ideas.
Evidence from reputable or authoritative sourcesevidence relies on non reputable or unrecognized sources
Balanced: considers opposing viewsunbalanced: does not consider opposing views
Clear, not confused, unambiguousconfused, ambiguous
Logical, consistentthe reasons do not follow logically from and support the arguments; arguments or ideas are inconsistent
Convincingunconvincing

Critical analysis examples of arguments, viewpoints or ideas

The validity of this argument is questionable as there is insufficient evidence to support it.

Many writers have challenged Jones’ claim on the grounds that …….

This argument fails to draw on the evidence of others in the field.

This explanation is incomplete because it does not explain why…

The key problem with this explanation is that ……


The existing accounts fail to resolve the contradiction between …

However, there is an inconsistency with this argument. The inconsistency lies in…

Although this argument has been proposed by some, it lacks justification.

However, the body of evidence showing that… contradicts this argument.

How to critically analyse a methodology

The table below provides the criteria for judging the strengths and weaknesses of methodology.

An evaluation of a methodology usually involves a critical analysis of its main sections:

design; sampling (participants); measurement tools and materials; procedure

  • design tests the hypotheses or research questions
  • method valid and reliable
  • potential bias or measurement error, and confounding variables addressed
  • method allows results to be generalized
  • representative sampling of cohort and phenomena; sufficient response rate
  • valid and reliable measurement tools
  • valid and reliable procedure
  • method clear and detailed to allow replication

Evaluating a Methodology

Research design tests the hypotheses or research questions research design is inappropriate for the hypotheses or research questions
Valid and reliable method dubious, questionable validity
The method addresses potential sources of bias or measurement error.
confounding variables were identified
insufficiently rigorous
measurement error produces questionable or unreliable

confounding variables not identified or addressed
The method (sample, measurement tools, procedure) allows results to be generalized or transferred.

Sampling was representative to enable generalization
generalizability of the results is limited due to an unrepresentative sample:

small sample size or limited sample range
Sampling of cohort was representative to enable generalization

sampling of phenomena under investigation sufficiently wide and representative

sampling response rate was sufficiently high
limited generalizability of results due to unrepresentative sample:

small sample size or limited sample range of cohort or phenomena under investigation


sampling response rate was too low
Measurement tool(s) / instrument(s), appropriate, reliable and valid

measurements were accurate
inappropriate measurement tools; incomplete or ambiguous scale items


inaccurate measurement

reliability statistics from previous research for measurement tool not reported

measurement instrument items are ambiguous, unclear, contradictory
Procedure reliable and validMeasurement error from administration of the measurement tool(s)
Method was clearly explained and sufficiently detailed to allow replicationExplanation of the methodology (or parts of it, for example the Procedure) is unclear, confused, imprecise, ambiguous, inconsistent or contradictory

Critical analysis examples of a methodology

The unrepresentativeness of the sample makes these results misleading.

The presence of unmeasured variables in this study limits the interpretation of the results.

Other, unmeasured confounding variables may be influencing this association.

The interpretation of the data requires caution because the effect of confounding variables was not taken into account.

The insufficient control of several response biases in this study means the results are likely to be unreliable.

Although this correlational study shows association between the variables, it does not establish a causal relationship.

Taken together, the methodological shortcomings of this study suggest the need for serious caution in the meaningful interpretation of the study’s results.

How to critically analyse research results and conclusions

The table below provides the criteria for judging the strengths and weaknesses of research results and conclusions:

  • appropriate choice and use of statistics
  • correct interpretation of results
  • all results explained
  • alternative explanations considered
  • significance of all results discussed
  • consistency of results with previous research discussed
  • results add to existing understanding or knowledge
  • limitations discussed
  • results clearly explained
  • conclusions consistent with results

Evaluating the Results and Conclusions

Chose and used appropriate statisticsinappropriate choice or use of statistics
Results interpreted correctly or accuratelyincorrect interpretation of results
the results have been over-interpreted
For example: correlation measures have been incorrectly interpreted to suggest causation rather than association
All results were explained, including inconsistent or misleading resultsinconsistent or misleading results not explained
Alternative explanations for results were consideredunbalanced explanations: alternative explanations for results not explored
Significance of all results were consideredincomplete consideration of results
Results considered according to consistency with other research or viewpoints

Results are conclusive because they have been replicated by other studies
consistency of results with other research not considered
results are suggestive rather than conclusive because they have not been replicated by other studies
Results add significantly to existing understanding or knowledgeresults do not significantly add to existing understanding knowledge
Limitations of the research design or method are acknowledgedlimitations of the research design or method not considered
Results were clearly explained, sufficiently detailed, consistent results were unclear, insufficiently detailed, inconsistent, confusing, ambiguous, contradictory
Conclusions were consistent with and supported by the resultsconclusions were not consistent with or not supported by the results

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Critical Essay

Definition of critical essay, evolution of the critical essay, examples of critical essay in literature, example #1: jack and gill: a mock criticism (by joseph dennie).

“The personages being now seen, their situation is next to be discovered. Of this we are immediately informed in the subsequent line, when we are told, Jack and Gill Went up a hill. Here the imagery is distinct, yet the description concise. We instantly figure to ourselves the two persons traveling up an ascent, which we may accommodate to our own ideas of declivity, barrenness, rockiness, sandiness, etc. all which, as they exercise the imagination, are beauties of a high order. The reader will pardon my presumption, if I here attempt to broach a new principle which no critic, with whom I am acquainted, has ever mentioned. It is this, that poetic beauties may be divided into negative and positive, the former consisting of mere absence of fault, the latter in the presence of excellence; the first of an inferior order, but requiring considerable critical acumen to discover them, the latter of a higher rank, but obvious to the meanest capacity.”

Example #2: On the Knocking at the Gate in Macbeth (by Thomas De Quincey)

“But to return from this digression , my understanding could furnish no reason why the knocking at the gate in Macbeth should produce any effect, direct or reflected. In fact, my understanding said positively that it could not produce any effect. But I knew better; I felt that it did; and I waited and clung to the problem until further knowledge should enable me to solve it. At length, in 1812, Mr. Williams made his debut on the stage of Ratcliffe Highway, and executed those unparalleled murders which have procured for him such a brilliant and undying reputation. On which murders, by the way, I must observe, that in one respect they have had an ill effect, by making the connoisseur in murder very fastidious in his taste, and dissatisfied by anything that has been since done in that line.”

Example #3: A Sample Critical Essay on Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises (by Richard Nordquist)

“To keep Jake Barnes drunk, fed, clean, mobile, and distracted in The Sun Also Rises , Ernest Hemingway employs a large retinue of minor functionaries: maids, cab drivers, bartenders, porters, tailors, bootblacks, barbers, policemen, and one village idiot. But of all the retainers seen working quietly in the background of the novel , the most familiar figure by far is the waiter. In cafés from Paris to Madrid, from one sunrise to the next, over two dozen waiters deliver drinks and relay messages to Barnes and his compatriots. As frequently in attendance and as indistinguishable from one another as they are, these various waiters seem to merge into a single emblematic figure as the novel progresses. A detached observer of human vanity, this figure does more than serve food and drink: he serves to illuminate the character of Jake Barnes.”

Functions of a Critical Essay

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How to Critically Discuss in An Essay

Published by Carmen Troy at September 19th, 2023 , Revised On January 5, 2024

Writing an essay often involves more than just relaying information or expressing an opinion. For many academic and professional purposes, you are required to critically discuss topics, demonstrate an understanding of various perspectives and showcase your analytical skills. 

So, what does it mean to critically discuss something in an essay? And more importantly, how can you do it effectively?

What is Critical Discussion?

Before diving into the how-to, grasping what critical discussion entails is essential. Essay writing help often emphasises the importance of this step. Critical discussion requires a deeper level of analysis where you explain a topic and evaluate and dissect its various facets.

Imagine an object in the middle of a room, with observers standing at different points around it. Each person sees the object from a unique angle. Similarly, when you critically discuss a topic, you are trying to view it from multiple angles, considering various perspectives and arguments and avoiding biases where certain perspectives might be overlooked.

How to Critically Discuss

Consider the following steps to critically discuss an essay. 

Start with Thorough Research

To critically discuss a topic, you need to understand its nuances. This requires in-depth research:

  • Diverse Sources: Instead of relying on a single type of source, such as books, expand your horizons. Use academic journals, reputable news articles, podcasts, interviews, and more. Essay services can be an invaluable tool in this stage for collating resources.
  • Contrasting Opinions: Deliberately seek out sources that disagree with each other. This will provide a more holistic view of the topic and help you understand the key debates in the field. 

Organise your Thoughts

Begin by brainstorming. Jot down the key points, arguments, counterarguments, and evidence you have gathered. Categorise them and try to identify connections or patterns.

Structure your Essay for Critical Discussion

Critical discussion typically follows this essay structure :

  • Introduction of an Essay : Introduce the topic and highlight its significance. Outline the main points you intend to discuss, backed up by scholarly source references.
  • Main Body: This is where the meat of your critical discussion will lie and where techniques like the rhetorical analysis of an essay can be invaluable.
  • Present Different Angles: Every paragraph should tackle a unique perspective or argument. Discuss its strengths and weaknesses. If you are discussing a controversial topic, you might delve into the argumentative essay.
  • Use Evidence: Always back up your statements with evidence. Quotations, statistics, and examples can bolster your claims.
  • Contrast and Compare: Highlight how different perspectives agree or differ from one another. This comparative approach will enrich your analysis.
  • Conclusion: Summarise the main points discussed and reiterate their significance. You might also want to mention areas for further research or exploration.

Question Everything

When critically discussing, you are essentially playing the devil’s advocate. Some questions to pose include:

  • What are the underlying assumptions here?
  • How might someone oppose this perspective?
  • Are there any weaknesses or limitations?
  • What real-world implications does this have?

Avoid Bias and Stay Objective

While it is challenging to be entirely free from biases, strive for objectivity. Remember, a critical discussion is not about what you believe; it’s about presenting a rounded view of the topic.

Write with Clarity

Complex topics demand clear writing. Avoid jargon unless it is essential, and ensure your sentences are concise and straightforward. Each paragraph should have a clear focus, and the flow from one paragraph to another should be logical.

Incorporate Feedback

Once you have written your essay, share it with peers, mentors, or tutors. Their feedback will provide fresh perspectives and highlight areas requiring more clarity or depth.

Revise and Refine

Like any essay, the first draft might not be perfect. Dedicate time to revising your work, refining your arguments, and ensuring the essay flows smoothly.

Conclude with Forward-Thinking

A hallmark of an excellent critical discussion is leaving the reader with something to ponder. Highlight areas where research is still ongoing, or propose questions that have not been addressed adequately.

What Critical Discussion is Not

Critical discussion is essential for deepening understanding, stimulating creative thought, and promoting a collaborative environment. However, certain behaviors and attitudes are not conducive to critical discussion. Here is what critical discussion is not:

Ad Hominem Attacks

A critical discussion does not involve attacking a person’s character, motives, or other personal attributes. The focus should be on the content of the argument, not on the person making it.

Appeal to Emotion

While emotions can be involved, a critical discussion should not be based solely on emotional appeals, nor should it be used to manipulate participants.

Straw Man Fallacy

Misrepresenting or oversimplifying an opponent’s argument to make it easier to attack is not genuine discussion.

Dodging questions, changing the topic abruptly, or not addressing the central issues is not a part of critical discussion.

Closed-mindedness

A true critical discussion requires participants to be open to new ideas and willing to change their minds if presented with compelling evidence.

Talking Over Others

Dominating the conversation, interrupting, or not allowing others to speak does not foster a healthy discussion.

Confirmation Bias

Only seeking out or acknowledging information that confirms one’s pre-existing beliefs is not the essence of critical discussion.

Appeal to Authority

Simply stating that an authority figure believes something does not make it true or end the discussion.

Overgeneralisations

Making broad statements without sufficient evidence or specifics undermines a constructive dialogue.

False Dichotomies

Presenting issues as if there are only two sides or solutions when there might be a spectrum of possibilities, in reality, is not conducive to critical exploration.

Circular Arguments

Arguing a point by merely restating it in different words does not add depth or clarity to a discussion.

Unwillingness to Listen

Entering a discussion with the intent to lecture rather than also to listen, learn, and potentially adjust your views stifles genuine discourse.

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Critical Discussion Example

let’s set up a scenario for a critical discussion:

Topic: The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health

Participants: Alex and Jamie

Alex: I have read a lot of articles recently that suggest social media has a negative impact on the mental health of users, particularly young people. There’s a correlation between increased social media use and increased rates of depression, anxiety, and loneliness.

Jamie: That is a valid point, Alex. There have been studies that suggest that. However, correlation does not imply causation. People who are already feeling lonely or depressed may be simply more likely to spend time on social media. How do we know that social media is the cause and not just a symptom?

Alex: That is a fair point. Some studies have shown that excessive use of social media can lead to feelings of inadequacy, especially when people compare their lives to others. The constant barrage of highlight reels from other people’s lives can make users feel like they’re not doing enough or not leading fulfilling lives.

Jamie: True, comparison can be detrimental. But social media also has its benefits. It is a way for people to connect, especially those who might feel isolated in their real lives. For some, it offers a community and a sense of belonging. Shouldn’t we consider these positive aspects as well?

Alex: Absolutely, I agree that social media can provide vital connections for many. But there is also the element of screen time. Being constantly connected can disrupt sleep patterns and reduce face-to-face social interactions, which are crucial for emotional and social development.

Jamie: Yes, moderation is key. Users need to be self-aware and ensure that their online interactions enhance their lives rather than detract from them. Healthy social media use education might be more beneficial than demonising the platforms.

This is a simplified example, but it highlights some features of critical discussion, similar to what you would find in a discursive essay :

  • Respectful Exchange: Both participants listened to each other’s viewpoints.
  • Exploration of Ideas: The participants delved into the complexities of the issue.
  • Use of Evidence: Alex and Jamie provided reasons and evidence for their perspectives.
  • Open-Mindedness: Both were open to adjusting their views or considering the other’s viewpoint.

Seeking Understanding: Instead of trying to “win” the argument, they aimed for a clearer understanding of the topic.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does critically discuss mean.

“Critically discuss” means analysing and evaluating a topic or argument thoroughly, considering its strengths and weaknesses. It involves a detailed assessment rather than a mere description, often requiring one to question assumptions, recognise biases, and provide evidence to support the analysis. It is a deep, balanced examination of a subject.

How to answer a critically discuss question?

To answer a “critically discuss” question:

  • Introduce the topic briefly.
  • Present key arguments or points.
  • Analyse the strengths and weaknesses of each.
  • Use evidence to support your analysis.
  • Consider alternative viewpoints.
  • Conclude with a balanced assessment.
  • Ensure clarity, coherence, and proper referencing throughout.

How to critically discuss a theory?

To critically discuss a theory:

  • Outline the theory’s main propositions.
  • Examine its historical and academic context.
  • Evaluate its strengths and weaknesses.
  • Compare with alternative theories.
  • Highlight empirical evidence supporting or refuting it.
  • Analyse underlying assumptions.
  • Conclude with a balanced perspective, acknowledging its relevance and limitations.

How to critically discuss a topic?

To critically discuss a topic:

  • Introduce the topic succinctly.
  • Present key facts or arguments.
  • Analyse strengths and limitations.
  • Reference relevant evidence or research.
  • Consider opposing views or counterarguments.
  • Assess the implications or significance.
  • Conclude with an informed perspective, reflecting a comprehensive understanding.

How to critically discuss in psychology?

  • Introduce the psychological concept/theory.
  • Detail its historical development and key proponents.
  • Evaluate empirical evidence supporting and opposing it.
  • Examine methodological strengths and limitations.
  • Compare with alternative theories or explanations.
  • Discuss real-world implications or applications.
  • Conclude, reflecting on its overall validity and relevance.

You May Also Like

While there are many types of essays, they can be broadly categorized into the following four main types – argumentative, expository, descriptive, and narrative.

Learn what is the difference between essays and reports so you can work out why and you should prefer one form of writing over the other.

An expository essay requires the writer to take a balanced approach to the subject matter rather than justifying a particular point of view.

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How to Write a Critical Essay [Ultimate Guide]

Table of Contents:

1.How to write a critical essay 2.What Makes Essay Critical 3.Steps to Write a Critical Essay 4.Creating a critical essay plan 5.Tips for Writing a Critical Essay 6.Useful techniques used in writing a critical essay 7.Critical Essay Structure 8.Topics for writing a critical essay 9.Critical Essay Examples

How to write a critical essay:

  • Examine a source: read it carefully and critically.
  • Organize your thoughts: figure out the core claim and evidence, do research of secondary resources.
  • State a thesis: make sure it has both a claim and details sustaining it.
  • Write an outline.
  • Write a draft of your critical essay.
  • Edit and improve your essay .

Critical essays are among the most common types of writing assignments in college. Also known as analytical, a critical essay is about evaluating somebody’s work (a movie, a book, an article, etc.) and proving that your evaluation is correct.

The problem is, students often confuse a critical essay with a report, a critical precis , or a review.

In this article, we’ll reveal the core characteristics of a critical essay and learn the right way of writing it.

critical-essay-featured-picture

What Makes Essay Critical

A critical essay has  a claim  and  evidence  to prove that claim.

Here you need to  analyze the work (a book, a movie, an article, whatever), respond to its central themes, and evaluate  how its author conveyed them.

Attention!  If the purpose of your paper isn’t to critique but inform or persuade readers of something, it won’t be a critical essay. Check our guides on  expository essays  or  persuasive essays  instead.

In other words,  your essay is critical if:

  • There is a thesis about the central themes of a discussed work in it.
  • It explains what an author wanted to say about those themes.
  • You describe what techniques an author used to communicate the message.

Please note that “critical” doesn’t mean “negative.” It’s about analysis and interpretation, not judging or disparaging.

When a teacher assigns a critical essay, they want to get a professionally presented and grammatically correct paper with a clear argument and consistent and accurate references to support that argument. They need a paper demonstrating that you’ve read a source, understood its theme, and evaluated the evidence relating to that theme.

Steps to Write a Critical Essay

Before you take a seat and start writing a critical essay, make sure you understand its characteristics and purpose inside out.

You need to analyze and evaluate a work.

Note:  Analysis = breaking down and studying the part; evaluation = assessing strengths and weaknesses.

You need to express a central claim of your work in a  thesis statement  and then support it with evidence in each body paragraph.

Note:  The evidence can be either the details from a source (dialogues, imagery, descriptions, text structure, etc.) or secondary resources such as scholarly articles or expert reviews that can help you support your argument.

You need to  write a conclusion .  Summarize a critical essay, emphasizing its most essential insights.

Long story short, here go your steps to write a critical essay.

Step 1: Examine a Source

You won’t write a critical essay if you don’t understand the subject of evaluation. Let’s say you write an essay on a book. It stands to reason that you need to read it first, right?

So, your first step to writing a critical essay will be critical reading. And while reading, make sure to take as many notes as possible. Utilizing an essay maker can help to organize your thoughts and structure your essay.

Take note of the instruments the author uses to communicate the message. What does he want to say? What words, grammar constructions, or stylistic devices does he use?

Also, think of the questions that come to your mind while reading. Write them down, too.

Step 2: Organize Your Thoughts

Now it’s time to figure out the core topic and problem of a piece. Find its central claim and the evidence demonstrating that claim. What does make it different or similar to other corresponding works?

Brainstorm to come up with what you already know, think, and feel about the topic. Think of related ideas and associations arising when you try to analyze it. Once your thoughts are on paper, start organizing them: group all the ideas and identify the areas for further research.

You might need to  do research  and find secondary sources such as scholarly articles or online reviews by experts to understand the original piece better. Collect all the necessary references you might later need to give credit in your critical essay.

Step 3: State a Thesis

Your critical essay should have a one-sentence thesis with two components: a claim and details sustaining it. Based on the information you’ve gathered from the subject of evaluation (a book, a movie, etc.) and secondary sources, write a thesis that will specify your essay’s direction.

thesis-statement-for-critical-essay

Hint:  When making a claim, answer the question, “What point am I trying to make?” If still in doubt, introduce your idea and evidence to a  thesis statement generator : it will craft a thesis draft that you’ll modify later (if needed) to reflect your position better.

Step 4: Write a Critical Essay Outline

You can’t write an essay without outlining. At least, it will help you  save time : here you’ll structurize all the points into paragraphs so it would be easier to write them later.

At this stage, you’ll have arguments and evidence to evaluate in essay paragraphs. Decide on the evidence that would support your thesis statement best.

Step 5: Write a Draft

Once the essay outline is ready, it’s time to write. (Yeap, finally!) Begin with an examination (a summary) of the work and respond to its central claim. Then, analyze and evaluate it with the evidence. And finally, conclude your critical essay with the emphasis on its most essential insights.

While writing, remember about academic style: stay formal and objective; use language precisely; remember about references; use transition words in paragraphs to guide readers and help them follow your train of thoughts.

Step 6: Edit and Improve

The best advice here would be to hold your completed draft for a short while and get some rest from writing. Then,  read your essay  a few times to see all the mistakes. You may do it yourself or ask a friend, a mom, or a groupmate to help you: they’ll see your essay from a different perspective, as readers, so it will be easier for them to identify weak points to edit.

Revise your essay, making all the necessary amendments until you see it’s perfect. To make sure it’s genuinely so, don’t hesitate to  ask writing service for professional help .

write-a-draft

Creating a critical essay plan

To write critical essay correctly, you will need a work plan. This will make it possible not to be confused by your information and to do the work consistently. More often than not, only three basic steps will suffice:

  • The first thing to do is to write an introduction that will allow the topic to be disclosed, give the first argument, and strengthen the thesis.
  • Next, you must create the central part, consisting of at least three full paragraphs. Consistently give arguments, facts, figures, and comparisons.
  • Conclude with a proper conclusion. You can rephrase the thesis statement to make a circle between the end and the beginning of your paper.

Now you know how to write a critical essay introduction and can get started efficiently.

Tips for Writing a Critical Essay

Writing a critical essay is about your thinking skills. It’s an analysis- and argument-building process, and you need to practice a lot to develop essential skills of thinking. These tips will help you start and write academic papers that work, no matter if that’s a SAT essay , a dialectic essay , or any other type of college writing.

  • Practice smart reading.  It’s when you read a text, identifying and analyzing its specific details: an author’s claims, how he or she presents those claims, controversies surrounding the message, its strengths and weaknesses, its overall value, etc.
  • Read some examples of critical essays.  It will help to understand their structure and writing style. But don’t copy others’ ideas, trying to sound smarter! Develop your writing style, use the words you know, and introduce your ideas.
  • Start writing a critical essay in advance. Don’t wait until the last moment: you’ll need time to read and evaluate the source, find evidence, introduce your thesis, write, and edit your essay. The more time you have, the better.
  • Remember to introduce the author and the work  you’re going to evaluate in your essay.
  • Avoid the “I think” or “in my opinion” stuff  when writing. You need to focus on the work, not yourself. When expressing your opinion, do it third-person and back it up with evidence.
  • Always document quotes, paraphrases, and other references  you use in essays.
  • Resist the temptation of summarizing the source in general. If you start writing lengthy descriptions of all characters and the plot, stop and double-check if this information helps your analysis. Critical essays are about interpretation and evaluation, not retelling the plot.

Useful techniques used in writing a critical essay

Writing critical analysis essays can help you with a few useful tricks that even experts use during their work:

  • you need to create a clear thesis statement to follow throughout the paper;
  • work properly with textual evidence. Don’t leave only quotes in the paragraph and give clear examples;
  • try to break paragraphs in time to create the right pauses for readers and to move from description to critique.

By doing so, your chances of succeeding in your assignment will return several times over!

Critical Essay Structure

Most essay types have a standard structure that includes an introduction (with a thesis statement), a body (paragraphs with arguments and evidence to support the thesis), and a conclusion (with a thesis restatement and essential insights). A critical essay structure is not an exception here.

But before you start writing, craft an outline,  aka  a roadmap for your essay to make sure you won’t miss any critical detail while writing a draft.

Critical Essay Outline

When you have an essay plan, its writing becomes much easier. Consider the format: as a rule, critical essays have a standard structure that consists of an introductory paragraph, a few body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Use this template that will help you write a detailed outline for your critical essay :

critical-essay-outline

Once you’ve completed the critical essay outline, it’s time to start writing. Do it quickly (you will have time to proofread and edit it later), paying attention to all the details from your outline.

Critical Essay Introduction

All essays have introductions, as it’s a part where you  hook readers , tell about the topic and its importance, and, therefore, persuade them to continue reading. But while the purpose of most introductions is to introduce the thesis, a critical essay introduction is more complicated.

  Here’s how to write a critical essay introduction:

  • First,  you need to introduce the author and the title of the work.
  • Second,  you need to state the author’s main point (of the entire work or the section you’re going to evaluate in your critical essay). Answer the question, “What does the author want readers to remember?”
  • Third,  you need to state (1-2 sentences) your evaluation of the work. (It will be your thesis statement.)
  • And finally, add any background information the reader might need to understand the work’s context (its overall topic, the controversy it might involve, etc.). While it’s not a narrative essay , you need to set the stage: the chances are, your audience didn’t read the work so they wouldn’t understand your essay without the provided background.

Critical Essay Body

It’s the most detailed part of your critical essay, and it involves several sections. Each section addresses a particular detail and evidence to support your thesis.

The first section is the work’s summary.

Write a short, objective, and unbiased report of the work (or its abstract) you’re evaluating in your critical essay. Here you need to tell about the author’s overall point and the main supports he or she offers for that point. Make sure to avoid your personal opinion: write a summary in the third person!

The second section is the work’s interpretation and evaluation.

It’s where your report ends, but your  analysis  starts. Here you’ll evaluate the work’s strong and weak parts, by the following criteria:

  • How accurate is the information in the work you’re criticizing?
  • Does it have or lack definitions and key terms?
  • Are there any controversies or hidden assumptions?
  • Is the author’s language clear?
  • Is the author fair? Does he or she cover both sides of the issue, without any bias?
  • Is the work’s organization logical? Does the author present all the points in a meaningful way?
  • Are there any gaps in his or her arguments?
  • What are (if any) the author’s fallacies? (Too emotional language, over-simplification, generalization, etc.)

After that, your interpretation comes. It’s not about judging (evaluation) anymore, but your response (opinion) on this work.

Ask yourself:

  • Where do I agree or disagree with the author?
  • What does he or she get right or wrong?
  • Would I recommend this work as a credible research source?

Your interpretation is, actually, the thesis of your essay. In this section, you’ll support the opinion you expressed in the thesis.

Critical Essay Conclusion

Yes, finally! Here comes the time to write a critical essay conclusion, and it doesn’t have to be too long. It’s like a reworded introduction, where you repeat the importance of your topic, reiterate the points you discussed, and summarize your interpretation.

  • Remind readers why this topic is essential.
  • Combine your evaluation and interpretation to focus on the work’s overall strengths and weaknesses.
  • State what makes the work so popular and successful.

Topics for writing a critical essay

A properly assembled structure of a critical essay will allow you to work with almost any topic without any problems. However, choosing it can take a while, so here are some cool examples to help you start proactively.

 
Topic 1 Topic 2
Do online games affect children?  How much harder the laptop will make work
 Is euthanasia humane?  Effectiveness of road traffic regulation
 Racism in High School  How much influence the media has on people’s opinions
 The benefits of inflation  The human factor at work
 How pop culture has changed the way we think about gender stereotypes  Can you improve your financial situation

Choose the topic closest to you and begin to study it in depth. This will allow you to accumulate the right argument and use it competently and quickly. Don’t forget to learn how to structure a critical essay and get to writing!

Critical Essay Examples

With tons of resources available online today, it’s not that difficult to find critical essay examples. But it’s challenging to find good ones . Here we have a couple of essay abstracts for you to get an idea of what a critical essay looks and sounds. Feel free to use them for informational and educational purposes only; don’t copy them word by word in your essays to avoid duplications and  accusations of plagiarism  from your educators.

Critical essay example #1  (the abstract, taken from examples.com):

critical-essay-sample-1

Critical essay example #2  (the abstract, taken from examples.com):

critical-essay-sample-2

More examples and explanations:

  • The University of Queensland: Critical reading and analysis
  • Thompson Rivers University: Critical analysis template
  • Nova Southeastern University : Critical essay

FAQ about Critical Essay

And now, for the most interesting part:

To make a long story short for you, here go answers to the most frequently asked questions about critical essay writing. Read them if you want your analytical essay to be A-worthy.

  • What type of language should be used in a critical analysis essay?

Make sure to use a formal language in critical essays. It’s about grammatical and pronunciation norms used in intellectual and academic activities. And since your essay is analytical and requires credibility, a formal language is what you need to make it sound so.

  • How to cite a critical essay?

For citing critical essays, use the MLA format. Name the author first, followed by the title. Then, specify the publication details, including the pages from where you take the quote or reference.

how-to-cite-critical-essay

  • How to write a critical essay on movies?

Do it in the same ways as with books or articles. Watch the movie several times, engage with it critically: identify its core focus and message, interpret and evaluate it in the essay, and come up with the essential insights this movie gives to the audience.

  • How to write a self-critical essay?

Self-critical essays are about analyzing and evaluating your own writings. As a rule, educators assign them for you to reflect on your progress as a writer.

Such essays are not that difficult to craft. Follow the basic structure of a critical essay: write an introduction stating your thesis, a few body paragraphs analyzing your strengths and weaknesses as a writer, and a conclusion that restates your thesis and sums up what you’ve learned about yourself. 

  • Can a critical essay be in the first person?

Yes, if you write a self-critical essay. But if you write about others’ works, use the third person only.

In a Word…

Don’t be afraid of writing a critical essay! Yes, essays are many, and it might seem impossible to learn the differences between them and the rules of writing them. But their basic structure is the same. All you need to do is identify the purpose of your assigned work and outline it accordingly.

Critical essays are about analyzing and evaluating the work of other writers. So, just read it, figure out what the authors wanted to say, think of whether you agree or disagree with them, and write a critical essay about all this stuff. Therefore, you develop critical thinking. You learn to introduce and prove your arguments.

And you understand how to share ideas with others so they’d listen and support you.

Related posts

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  • What Is the Difference between Primary and Secondary Sources
  • Common Types of Plagiarism with Examples

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Step-by-step guide on how to write a highly impressive and effective critical lens essay to earn top grades.

How to write a critical lens essay

Unleashing the true essence of literature, a critical lens essay delves deep into the realm of literary analysis, exploring the layers beneath the surface. By employing a critical lens, readers embark on a journey towards deciphering a text’s hidden messages, constructing an analytical perspective that transcends the conventional meaning. Embarking on such a venture requires a skillful blend of literary prowess and brainstorming techniques. With this handy guide, you’ll find a treasure trove of strategies and insights to navigate the intricate web of analysis, unlocking the true potential of your critical lens essay.

Excellence in crafting a critical lens essay lies in the art of interpretation and analysis. By adopting a unique lens through which to view a text, readers expose themselves to an array of interpretations and perspectives. Armed with this newfound insight, the essayist can dissect the intricate web of symbols, themes, and literary devices strewn across the pages, intertwining them to form a cohesive analysis. Captivating the reader with a compelling argument and thoughtful analysis underscores the importance of employing meticulous thought when embarking on this intellectual pursuit.

Approaching the construction of a critical lens essay should be akin to delicately weaving together a tapestry of ideas and concepts. An essay of this nature demands a panoramic view of the text, exploring not only the surface-level narrative but also the hidden meanings and salient themes lurking within. Examining the characters, their motivations, and the author’s underlying message allows the essayist to challenge preconceived notions and offer fresh insights. As you embark upon this engaging journey, remember that every word you pen contributes to the intricate mosaic of ideas that is your unique interpretation.

Approaching a Crucial Perspective Composition

Approaching a Crucial Perspective Composition

When it comes to tackling a significant perspective essay, a thoughtful and strategic approach can make all the difference. This type of essay requires you to analyze and interpret a specific quote, known as the critical lens, by considering different perspectives and providing your own insight. To excel in this task, it is essential to understand the nuances of the critical lens and develop a structured approach to effectively convey your thoughts and analysis.

To begin with, familiarize yourself with the critical lens you will be working with. Take time to carefully deconstruct the lens and understand its underlying message. Identify the two literary works that can be used to support or reject the lens. This will form the foundation of your essay and influence your subsequent analysis.

Once you have a firm grasp on the critical lens and the literary works that will be incorporated, it is crucial to develop a clear thesis statement. The thesis statement should succinctly state your perspective on the lens and how it can be interpreted through the chosen literary works. This statement will guide the direction of your essay and provide structure for your arguments.

As you progress into the body paragraphs, make sure to fully analyze each literary work in relation to the critical lens. Remember to include specific examples and quotes from the texts to support your analysis. In addition to explaining how the texts align with or challenge the lens, consider the broader implications of these connections. Explore the underlying themes, messages, and character motivations that are relevant to the lens.

Lastly, conclude your essay by summarizing your arguments and reiterating your thesis statement. Leave the reader with a final thought that encompasses the overall significance of the critical lens and the literary works. Ensure that your conclusion reinforces the message you conveyed throughout the essay and leaves a lasting impression.

By approaching a crucial perspective essay with a well-defined plan and a deep understanding of the critical lens and the literary works, you can effectively analyze and interpret the given quote. Be sure to take the time to develop a strong argument, support it with pertinent evidence, and present your ideas in a clear and concise manner. With a strategic approach, you can craft a compelling essay that showcases your critical thinking skills and understanding of the texts at hand.

The Significance of Comprehending the Quotation

One of the crucial aspects of writing a critical lens essay lies in understanding the significance of the chosen quote. The quote serves as the foundation of the essay, shaping the overall analysis and interpretations that follow. By comprehending the quote, a writer can effectively develop a well-structured essay that showcases their ability to critically analyze and evaluate various literary works and perspectives.

When approaching a critical lens essay, it is essential to carefully examine the quote and break it down into its core elements. This involves deciphering the underlying meaning, identifying key terms, and considering the context in which it was originally written. By gaining a thorough understanding of the quote, a writer is equipped to explore its implications within the framework of the literature being analyzed.

Additionally, comprehending the quote allows writers to establish a clear focus for their essay. It enables them to define the central idea or theme that will guide their analysis and shape their argument. By understanding the quote, writers can develop a coherent and logical structure that supports their interpretation and evaluation of the chosen literary works.

Furthermore, understanding the quote helps writers to establish credibility and authority in their essay. By demonstrating a deep understanding of the quote and its relation to the literature, writers can present a well-informed analysis that engages readers and garners their trust. This is particularly important in critical lens essays, as the writer is required to provide a thoughtful and balanced evaluation of the literary works in question.

In conclusion, the importance of understanding the quote in a critical lens essay cannot be overstated. It forms the foundation of the essay, guiding the analysis and interpretations that follow. By comprehending the quote, writers can effectively develop a well-structured essay that showcases their ability to critically analyze and evaluate various literary works and perspectives.

Choosing the appropriate literature to support your analysis

One of the crucial aspects of writing a critical lens essay is selecting the right texts to support your analysis. The literature you choose should align with the quote, allowing you to explore the various perspectives and ideas present in the texts. By carefully considering the content and themes, you can effectively incorporate textual evidence to develop a strong argument.

When selecting the literature, it is vital to choose works that have a diverse range of ideas and perspectives. This will allow you to present a well-rounded analysis and demonstrate your understanding of different viewpoints. Consider choosing texts that provide contrasting opinions or present distinct themes, as this will make your argument more nuanced and compelling.

Additionally, it is important to choose texts that have a depth of meaning. Look for works that provoke thoughtful analysis and can be interpreted in various ways. Texts with complex characters, intricate plots, and rich symbolism often provide ample material for critical analysis. By selecting texts with depth and complexity, you will have more material to support your analysis and demonstrate your ability to engage with complex ideas.

Furthermore, consider the literary techniques used in the texts. Pay attention to the language, imagery, symbolism, and narrative structure employed by the authors. These techniques can enhance your analysis and provide evidence for your interpretations. Choose texts that utilize literary devices effectively and align with the quote, as this will help you construct a persuasive argument.

In conclusion, choosing the right texts is crucial for a successful critical lens essay. By selecting literature with diverse perspectives, depth of meaning, and effective literary techniques, you can support your analysis and develop a strong argument. Carefully consider the themes, ideas, and content of the texts, ensuring they align with the quote and allow for a comprehensive exploration of different viewpoints. With the right selection of literature, you will be able to critically analyze the quote and provide a well-supported argument.

Analyzing the literary devices and techniques

In this section, we will explore the different literary devices and techniques used in writing and how they contribute to the overall meaning and impact of a text. By understanding and analyzing these devices, readers can gain a deeper insight into the themes and ideas presented by the author.

One common literary device is symbolism, which involves the use of symbols to represent deeper meanings or ideas. Symbols can be objects, characters, or even actions that carry a symbolic significance. By analyzing the symbolism in a text, readers can uncover hidden meanings and themes that may not be immediately apparent.

Another important technique is foreshadowing, which is the use of clues or hints to suggest future events or outcomes. By carefully examining the foreshadowing in a text, readers can anticipate and understand the unfolding of the story, as well as the motivations and actions of the characters.

One of the most powerful literary devices is imagery, which involves the use of descriptive language to create vivid mental images in the reader’s mind. By analyzing the use of imagery, readers can engage with the text on a sensory level, experiencing the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures described by the author.

Another technique that authors employ is irony, which involves a contrast between what is expected or intended and what actually occurs. By recognizing and analyzing the use of irony in a text, readers can gain insight into the author’s point of view and the themes of the work.

These are just a few examples of the many literary devices and techniques that authors use to convey their ideas and messages. By analyzing these devices, readers can deepen their understanding and appreciation of a text, and develop their own interpretations and insights.

Creating a strong and coherent argument

Creating a strong and coherent argument

In order to write a compelling and persuasive critical lens essay, it is crucial to create a strong and coherent argument. This means presenting a clear and logical line of reasoning that supports your interpretation of the quote and the texts you have chosen to analyze. A strong argument is one that is well-supported by evidence, well-reasoned, and effectively conveys your main ideas.

One key element in creating a strong argument is providing evidence to support your claims. This can include quotations from the text, examples from real life or other works of literature, and any other relevant information that helps to validate your point of view. The more evidence you provide, the more convincing your argument will be.

Another important aspect of creating a strong argument is logical reasoning. This means organizing your thoughts in a clear and structured manner, making sure that each point flows logically from the previous one. It is also important to anticipate and address counterarguments or opposing viewpoints, showing that you have thoroughly considered different perspectives and have a strong response to them.

In addition to presenting a coherent argument, it is essential to convey your main ideas effectively. This involves using clear and concise language, avoiding unnecessary jargon or complex terminology that may confuse your reader. It also means using rhetorical devices such as repetition, parallelism, and analogy to enhance the persuasiveness of your argument.

Finally, a strong and coherent argument requires a strong and confident tone. This means expressing your ideas with conviction and authority, while also acknowledging any limitations or weaknesses in your argument. It is important to strike a balance between confidence and humility, demonstrating that you have fully thought through your argument and are open to constructive criticism or alternative interpretations.

In summary, creating a strong and coherent argument is crucial in writing a successful critical lens essay. By providing evidence, employing logical reasoning, conveying your main ideas effectively, and adopting a confident tone, you can persuade your reader to accept your interpretation of the quote and the texts you are analyzing.

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How to Write a Critical Thinking Essay: Examples & Outline

Critical thinking is the process of evaluating and analyzing information. People who use it in everyday life are open to different opinions. They rely on reason and logic when making conclusions about certain issues.

A critical thinking essay shows how your thoughts change as you research your topic. This type of assignment encourages you to learn rather than prove what you already know. In this article, our custom writing team will:

  • explain how to write an excellent critical essay;
  • introduce 30 great essay topics;
  • provide a critical thinking essay example in MLA format.
  • 🤔 Critical Thinking Essay Definition
  • 💡 Topics & Questions
  • ✅ Step-by-Step Guide
  • 📑 Essay Example & Formatting Tips
  • ✍️ Bonus Tips

🔍 References

🤔 what is a critical thinking essay.

A critical thinking essay is a paper that analyses an issue and reflects on it in order to develop an action plan. Unlike other essay types, it starts with a question instead of a thesis. It helps you develop a broader perspective on a specific issue. Critical writing aims at improving your analytical skills and encourages asking questions.

Critical Thinking in Writing: Importance

When we talk about critical thinking and writing, the word “critical” doesn’t have any negative connotation. It simply implies thorough investigation, evaluation, and analysis of information. Critical thinking allows students to make objective conclusions and present their ideas logically. It also helps them avoid errors in reasoning.

The Basics: 8 Steps of Critical Thinking Psychology

Did you know that the critical thinking process consists of 8 steps? We’ve listed them below. You can try to implement them in your everyday life:

Identify the issue and describe it.
Decide what you want to do about the problem.
Find sources, analyze them, and draw necessary conclusions.
Come up with creative arguments using the information you’ve gathered and your imagination.
Arrange your ideas in a logical order.
Evaluate your options and alternatives and choose the one you prefer.
Think of how you can express your ideas to others.
Defend your point of view.

It’s possible that fallacies will occur during the process of critical thinking. Fallacies are errors in reasoning that fail to provide a reasonable conclusion. Here are some common types of fallacies:

  • Generalization . It happens when you apply generally factual statements to a specific case.
  • Ambiguity . It occurs when the arguments are not clear and are not supported by evidence.
  • Appeal to authority . This mistake happens when you claim the statement is valid only because a respected person made it.
  • Appeal to emotion . It occurs when you use highly emotive language to convince the audience. Try to stay sensible and rely on the evidence.
  • Bifurcation . This mistake occurs when you choose only between two alternatives when more than two exist.
  • False analogy . It happens when the examples are poorly connected.

If you want to avoid these mistakes, do the following:

  • try not to draw conclusions too quickly,
  • be attentive,
  • carefully read through all the sources,
  • avoid generalizations.

How to Demonstrate Your Critical Thinking in Writing

Critical thinking encourages you to go beyond what you know and study new perspectives. When it comes to demonstrating your critical thinking skills in writing, you can try these strategies:

  • Read . Before you start writing an essay, read everything you can find on the subject you are about to cover. Focus on the critical points of your assignment.
  • Research . Look up several scholarly sources and study the information in-depth.
  • Evaluate . Analyze the sources and the information you’ve gathered. See whether you can disagree with the authors.
  • Prove . Explain why you agree or disagree with the authors’ conclusions. Back it up with evidence.

According to Purdue University, logical essay writing is essential when you deal with academic essays. It helps you demonstrate and prove the arguments. Make sure that your paper reaches a logical conclusion.

There are several main concepts related to logic:

✔️ Premise A statement that is used as evidence in an argument.
✔️ Conclusion A claim that follows logically from the premises.
✔️ Syllogism A conclusion that follows from two other premises.
✔️ Argument A statement based on logical premises.

If you want your essay to be logical, it’s better to avoid syllogistic fallacies, which happen with certain invalid deductions. If syllogisms are used carelessly, they can lead to false statements and ruin the credibility of your paper.

💡 Critical Thinking Topics & Questions

An excellent critical thinking essay starts with a question. But how do you formulate it properly? Keep reading to find out.

How to Write Critical Thinking Questions: Examples with Answers

Asking the right questions is at the core of critical thinking. They challenge our beliefs and encourage our interest to learn more.

Here are some examples of model questions that prompt critical thinking:

  • What does… mean?
  • What would happen if…?
  • What are the principles of…?
  • Why is… important?
  • How does… affect…?
  • What do you think causes…?
  • How are… and… similar/different?
  • How do you explain….?
  • What are the implications of…?
  • What do we already know about…?

Now, let’s look at some critical thinking questions with the answers. You can use these as a model for your own questions:

Question: What would happen if people with higher income paid more taxes?

  • Answer: It would help society to prosper and function better. It would also help people out of poverty. This way, everyone can contribute to the economy.

Question: How does eating healthy benefit you?

  • Answer: Healthy eating affects people’s lives in many positive ways. It reduces cancer risk, improves your mood and memory, helps with weight loss and diabetes management, and improves your night sleep.

Critical Thinking Essay Topics

Have you already decided what your essay will be about? If not, feel free to use these essay topic examples as titles for your paper or as inspiration. Make sure to choose a theme that interests you personally:

  • What are the reasons for racism in healthcare?
  • Why is accepting your appearance important?
  • Concepts of critical thinking and logical reasoning .
  • Nature and spirit in Ralf Waldo Emerson’s poetry.
  • How does technological development affect communication in the modern world?
  • Social media effect on adolescents.
  • Is the representation of children in popular fiction accurate?
  • Domestic violence and its consequences.
  • Why is mutual aid important in society?
  • How do stereotypes affect the way people think?
  • The concept of happiness in different cultures.
  • The purpose of environmental art.
  • Why do people have the need to be praised?
  • How did antibiotics change medicine and its development?
  • Is there a way to combat inequality in sports?
  • Is gun control an effective way of crime prevention?
  • How our understanding of love changes through time.
  • The use of social media by the older generation.
  • Graffiti as a form of modern art.
  • Negative health effects of high sugar consumption.
  • Why are reality TV shows so popular?
  • Why should we eat healthily?
  • How effective and fair is the US judicial system?
  • Reasons of Cirque du Soleil phenomenon.
  • How can police brutality be stopped?
  • Freedom of speech: does it exist?
  • The effects of vaccination misconceptions.
  • How to eliminate New Brunswick’s demographic deficit: action plan.
  • What makes a good movie?
  • Critical analysis of your favorite book.
  • The connection between fashion and identity.
  • Taboo topics and how they are discussed in gothic literature.
  • Critical thinking essay on the problem of overpopulation.  
  • Does our lifestyle affect our mental health?
  • The role of self-esteem in preventing eating disorders in children. 
  • Drug abuse among teenagers.
  • Rhetoric on assisted suicide. 
  • Effects of violent video games on children’s mental health.
  • Analyze the effect stress has on the productivity of a team member.
  • Discuss the importance of the environmental studies.
  • Critical thinking and ethics of happy life.  
  • The effects of human dignity on the promotion of justice.
  • Examine the ethics of advertising the tobacco industry.
  • Reasons and possible solutions of research misconduct. 
  • Implication of parental deployment for children.
  • Cultural impact of superheroes on the US culture.
  • Examine the positive and negative impact of technology on modern society.
  • Critical thinking in literature: examples. 
  • Analyze the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on economic transformation.
  • Benefits and drawbacks of mandatory vaccination.

Haven’t found a suitable essay idea? Try using our topic generator !

✅ How to Write a Critical Thinking Essay Step by Step

Now, let’s focus on planning and writing your critical thinking essay. In this section, you will find an essay outline, examples of thesis statements, and a brief overview of each essay part.

Critical Thinking Essay Outline

In a critical thinking essay, there are two main things to consider: a premise and a conclusion :

  • A premise is a statement in the argument that explains the reason or supports a conclusion.
  • A conclusion indicates what the argument is trying to prove. Each argument can have only one conclusion.

When it comes to structuring, a critical thinking essay is very similar to any other type of essay. Before you start writing it, make sure you know what to include in it. An outline is very helpful when it comes to structuring a paper.

The picture enumerates the main parts of a critical essay outline: introduction, main body, conclusion.

How to Start a Critical Essay Introduction

An introduction gives readers a general idea of an essay’s contents. When you work on the introduction, imagine that you are drawing a map for the reader. It not only marks the final destination but also explains the route.

An introduction usually has 4 functions:

  • It catches the reader’s attention;
  • It states the essay’s main argument;
  • It provides some general information about the topic;
  • It shows the importance of the issue in question.

Here are some strategies that can make the introduction writing easier:

  • Give an overview of the essay’s topic.
  • Express the main idea.
  • Define the main terms.
  • Outline the issues that you are going to explore or argue about.
  • Explain the methodology and why you used it.
  • Write a hook to attract the reader’s attention.

Critical Analysis Thesis Statement & Examples

A thesis statement is an integral part of every essay. It keeps the paper organized and guides both the reader and the writer. A good thesis:

  • expresses the conclusion or position on a topic;
  • justifies your position or opinion with reasoning;
  • conveys one idea;
  • serves as the essay’s map.

To have a clearer understanding of what a good thesis is, let’s have a look at these examples.

Bad thesis statement example Good thesis statement example
Exercising is good for your health. All office workers should add exercising to their daily routine because it helps to maintain a healthy lifestyle and reduce stress levels.

The statement on the left is too general and doesn’t provide any reasoning. The one on the right narrows down the group of people to office workers and specifies the benefits of exercising.

Critical Thinking Essay Body Paragraphs: How to Write

Body paragraphs are the part of the essay where you discuss all the ideas and arguments. In a critical thinking essay, arguments are especially important. When you develop them, make sure that they:

  • reflect the key theme;
  • are supported by the sources/citations/examples.

Using counter-arguments is also effective. It shows that you acknowledge different points of view and are not easily persuaded.

In addition to your arguments, it’s essential to present the evidence . Demonstrate your critical thinking skills by analyzing each source and stating whether the author’s position is valid.

To make your essay logically flow, you may use transitions such as:

  • Accordingly,
  • For instance,
  • On the contrary,
  • In conclusion,
  • Not only… but also,
  • Undoubtedly.

How to Write a Critical Thinking Conclusion

In a critical thinking essay, the notion of “conclusion” is tightly connected to the one used in logic. A logical conclusion is a statement that specifies the author’s point of view or what the essay argues about. Each argument can have only one logical conclusion.

Sometimes they can be confused with premises. Remember that premises serve as a support for the conclusion. Unlike the conclusion, there can be several premises in a single argument. You can learn more about these concepts from the article on a logical consequence by Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Keeping this in mind, have a look at these tips for finishing your essay:

  • Briefly sum up the main points.
  • Provide a final thought on the issue.
  • Suggest some results or consequences.
  • Finish up with a call for action.

📑 Critical Thinking Essays Examples & Formatting Tips

Formatting is another crucial aspect of every formal paper. MLA and APA are two popular formats when it comes to academic writing. They share some similarities but overall are still two different styles. Here are critical essay format guidelines that you can use as a reference:

APA formatMLA format
at the top of the page;
in the center of a new page in bold;

Finally, you’re welcome to check out a full critical essay sample in MLA format. Download the PDF file below:

Currently, the importance of critical thinking has grown rapidly because technological progress has led to expanded access to various content-making platforms: websites, online news agencies, and podcasts with, often, low-quality information. Fake news is used to achieve political and financial aims, targeting people with low news literacy. However, individuals can stop spreading fallacies by detecting false agendas with the help of a skeptical attitude.

✍️ Bonus Tips: Critical Thinking and Writing Exercises

Critical thinking is a process different from our regular thinking. When we think in everyday life, we do it automatically. However, when we’re thinking critically, we do it deliberately.

So how do we get better at this type of thinking and make it a habit? These useful tips will help you do it:

  • Ask basic questions. Sometimes, while we are doing research, the explanation becomes too complicated. To avoid it, always go back to your topic.
  • Question basic assumptions. When thinking through a problem, ask yourself whether your beliefs can be wrong. Keep an open mind while researching your question.
  • Think for yourself. Avoid getting carried away in the research and buying into other people’s opinions.
  • Reverse things. Sometimes it seems obvious that one thing causes another, but what if it’s the other way around?
  • Evaluate existing evidence. If you work with sources, it’s crucial to evaluate and question them.

Another way to improve your reasoning skills is to do critical thinking exercises. Here are some of them:

ExerciseTechniqueExplanation
Brainstorming Free-writing Choose a topic and write on it for 7-10 minutes straight. Don’t concern yourself with grammar.
Clustering Choose a keyword and write down the words that you associate with it. Keep doing that for 5-10 minutes.
Listing List down all the ideas that are concerning the subject you are about to explore.
Metaphor writing Write a metaphor or simile and explain why it works or what it means to you.
Journalistic questions Write questions such as “Who?” “When?” “Why?” “How?” Answer these questions in relation to your topic.
Organizing Drawing diagrams Jot down your main ideas and see if you can make a chart or form a shape depicting their relationship. 
Rewriting an idea Try briefly outlining the central idea over the course of several days and see how your thoughts change.
Solution writing Look at your idea through a problem-solving lens. Briefly describe the problem and then make a list of solutions.
Drafting Full draft writing Write a draft of a whole paper to see how you express ideas on paper.
Outlining Outline your essay to structure the ideas you have.
Writing with a timer Set a timer and write a draft within a set amount of time.
Revising Analyzing sentences Analyze your draft at the sentence level and see if your paper makes sense.
Underlying the main point Highlight the main point of your paper. Make sure it’s expressed clearly.
Outlining the draft Summarize every paragraph of your essay in one sentence.

Thanks for reading through our article! We hope that you found it helpful and learned some new information. If you liked it, feel free to share it with your friends.

Further reading:

  • Critical Writing: Examples & Brilliant Tips [2024]
  • How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis Essay: Outline, Steps, & Examples
  • How to Write an Analysis Essay: Examples + Writing Guide
  • How to Write a Critique Paper: Tips + Critique Essay Examples
  • How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay Step by Step
  • Critical Thinking and Writing: University of Kent
  • Steps to Critical Thinking: Rasmussen University
  • 3 Simple Habits to Improve Your Critical Thinking: Harvard Business Review
  • In-Class Writing Exercises: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Demonstrating Critical Thinking in Writing: University of South Australia
  • 15 Questions that Teachers and Parents Can Ask Kids to Encourage Critical Thinking: The Hun School
  • Questions to Provoke Critical Thinking: Brown University
  • How to Write a College Critical Thinking Essay: Seattle PI
  • Introductions: What They Do: Royal Literary Fund
  • Thesis Statements: Arizona State University
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Past Essay Contests

2023 essays.

AIDS and Time Travel:  12 Monkeys  and  Philadelphia Essay by Rachel Lapides '23 for Popular Music and Media Course in Spring 2023 First Place FMST Critical Essay Award Winner in 2023

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Kamen Rider Black Sun :  Tokusatsu ’s Past, Present, and Future Essay by Ben Rotko '25 for Television Studies Course in Spring 2023 Third Place FMST Critical Essay Award Winner in 2023

From Theater to Thriller: The Evolution of Horror Television Essay by Ellie Tsapatsaris '24 for Television Studies Course in Spring 2023 Third Place FMST Critical Essay Award Winner in 2023

2021 Essays

Maria Braun  and the Formulation of a Nation Essay by Chili Shi '22 for German Cinema Course in January Term 2021 Co-Winner of FMST Critical Essay Award in 2021

The Politics of  Yesterday Girl Essay by Isabelle Titcomb '22 for German Cinema Course in January Term 2021 Honorable Mention in FMST Critical Essay Award in 2021

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How the College Application Essay Became So Important

Board of Admissions examining applicatio

S chool is out and summer is here. Yet future high school seniors and their families are likely already thinking about applying to college — a process that can be as labor-intensive and time-consuming as it is confusing. Students submit SAT scores, grades, references, personal essays, and more, often without a clear sense of what counts most.

The challenges facing college applicants today aren’t new. For over a century, Americans seeking higher education have had to navigate complicated admissions requirements including exams and grades as well as qualitative metrics of assessment, such as references, interviews, and essays.

Collecting so much academic and personal information has given colleges and universities greater control over the kinds of students they admit. In the first half of the 20th century, this information was mainly used to bar some applicants based on race, gender, and religion. Since the social movements of the 1960s and 70s, however, it has been used to do nearly the opposite by expanding access to previously excluded groups. In this process, personal essays have been especially valuable for the unique insights they can offer into applicants’ backgrounds and perspectives. In the context of today’s narrowing national diversity agenda, they are key to promoting inclusion in American higher education.

In the late 19th century, college admission standards were relatively low in America, even at the “Big Three” private universities, Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. In an era when few Americans had more than an eighth-grade education, and even fewer could afford the cost of higher education, there was little competition for admission. Applicants needed only to pass subject matter exams, tests that were rudimentary and could be taken repeatedly until passed. Even those who failed their entrance exams might be admitted if they had elite standing and could pay tuition.

Read More: How to Talk About Race on College Applications, According to Admissions Experts

By the turn of the 20th century, however, demand for higher education was growing. Colleges worked intentionally to admit a broader range of students, dropping archaic requirements like knowledge of Latin and Greek that had previously barred all but the most privileged high school students from applying. More and more qualified applicants competed for fewer available spots, which meant that colleges and universities could be more selective. 

But with more applicants passing exams and earning entry to higher education, private universities became increasingly concerned about the demographics of their student bodies. By the 1910s, as immigration increased, and more public high schools were better preparing students of all backgrounds to meet private entrance requirements, rising numbers of Jewish students were landing spots at the historically Protestant and upper-class universities. With antisemitism on the rise, many private colleges adopted new metrics of admission that could be used to limit the number of “undesirable” students, especially Jewish ones. 

It was at this juncture that selective colleges introduced the application essay to assess students for the amorphous category of "fit." Applications in general became much more involved and intrusive. 

For instance, beginning in 1919, Columbia required prospective students to complete an eight-page form, submit a photo, list their mother’s maiden name, and provide information about their religious background. Even standardized tests could be used to screen students by cultural background. Early entrance exams were heavily biased toward American customs and colloquialisms, putting first-generation immigrants at a disadvantage.

In the wake of World War II, the passage of the GI Bill created a surge in demand for higher education across the country. Between 1950 and 1970, enrollment in colleges and universities in the U.S. nearly quadrupled. 

Although public and private universities expanded in response, they still came under new pressures to bolster selective criteria that would allow them to limit the growth of their student bodies. To ensure spots for students long considered the natural recipients of higher education — especially white, middle-class, Protestant men — private colleges continued to use quotas and other forms of preference such as legacy status to effectively limit the numbers of Jewish students, people of color, and women admitted. Meanwhile, admissions were far from need blind; applying for a scholarship could damage your chance of acceptance.

Public universities like the University of California, Berkeley charted a different course. In the post-war period, the UC system admitted all students who met basic requirements — graduation from an accredited high school along with a principal's recommendation, acceptance by exam, or completion of an Associate’s degree. But public universities now also faced more demand than they could accommodate. Indeed, the 1960s California Master Plan for Higher Education acknowledged that state universities, too, might well have to introduce a selective process for choosing applicants in the face of expanded access across much wider class, geographic, and ethnic backgrounds. 

By the 1960s, a selective application process became common across major private and public universities. But the social movements of the 1960s and 70s forced private universities to drop their formal practices of discrimination and changed the use of personal essays and other qualitative metrics of evaluation in the process. 

For the first time, in the 1960s, admissions officers at historically white and Protestant universities acknowledged that applicants’ academic profiles were deeply shaped by the opportunities — educational, economic, and cultural — available to them, and that these in turn were shaped by students’ race, ethnicity, and sex. 

While special considerations about background had once been used to systematically exclude minorities, in the 1960s they were invoked for the first time to do the opposite, albeit with some striking limitations. 

By looking at applicants from a comprehensive standpoint, which included these markers of identity, even the most selective private universities made major strides in achieving racial diversity in this period. They also dropped quotas and began to admit women on an equal basis with men. Class diversity, however, was another matter — to this day private universities continue to be comparatively socio-economically homogenous despite meaningful shifts in other areas. 

Since the 1970s, the admissions system has only grown increasingly competitive, with more students than ever before applying to college. That forced universities to choose between strong applicants while building their own brands and competitive profiles. This competitive environment has turned the college application essay into a particularly important vehicle in the admissions process for learning about students’ backgrounds and human qualities.

Read More: How the End of Affirmative Action Could Affect the College Admissions Process

In 1975, a small group of mostly East Coast colleges came together to form the Common App — today used by more than 1,000 universities. The Common App led the way in formulating what we now think of as the personal statement, aimed at understanding the inner world of each student.

For more than 50 years now, universities both private and public have evaluated essays for a range of qualities including leadership capacity, creativity, service to the community, and ability to overcome hardship, as part of their admissions decisions. The kinds of questions universities ask, the qualities they seek, and the responses they receive have changed many times and have been shaped by the cultural trends of our times. 

In 2021 for example, following the spread of a global pandemic, the Common App introduced a question about gratitude for the first time. And while the prompts remained unchanged following the 2023 Supreme Court decision in Students for Fair Admissions Inc. (SFFA) v. President & Fellows of Harvard College and SFFA v. University of North Carolina , which formally excluded race as a factor in admissions, universities began to read them for the role of race, ethnicity, and other identities in students’ profiles. In these and many other ways, the essay has only gained value as a way for students to explain the important ways their experiences and identities have shaped their academic profiles.

critical in essay

Still, there have been calls to eliminate the college essay from admissions requirements from both the right and the left, as either frivolously inclusive, or potentially exclusionary. Now, at a time when there are major political constraints on supporting diversity and inclusion at the national level, personal essays give admissions committees important flexibility. They also allow colleges to evaluate students for underrated but essential intellectual and personal qualities hard to observe elsewhere, including the capacity for growth, self-reflection, and awareness of the world around them. 

The history of modern admissions shows how institutions of higher education have sought to engineer their classes, often reinforcing harmful racial, class, and gender hierarchies. There is little objectivity in the metric of “fit” that has shaped American admissions practices. But the Civil Rights era has had a powerful and long-lasting legacy in broadening access through an assessment of applicants that is attentive to identity. However flawed the system, the essay offers something no other metric can: an account of a student’s lived experience, in their own words.

Sarah Stoller is a writer and historian. She also tutors college essay writing.

Made by History takes readers beyond the headlines with articles written and edited by professional historians. Learn more about Made by History at TIME here . Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of TIME editors .

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Write to Sarah Stoller / Made by History at [email protected]

Ashley Judd: I'm calling on Biden to step aside. Beating Trump is too important.

My folks are not bad people, in spite of what you may now think of them. they are facing bad options. we must give them a different choice..

critical in essay

Wednesday evening, I was visiting, as we say in the South, with some of my beloved chosen and biological family. These folks are my roots, my sense of belonging, and meet many of my most intimate human needs.

And some of them, remarkably, feverishly love Donald Trump.

And I love these Trump folks as if my life depended on it, and at times, it literally has. I do not love the beliefs they believe and cling to.

And Wednesday, as I listened to one of my dearest people share some of those beliefs and thoughts, it hurt. I was shaken. My body felt like it was on fire. The words activated in me profound alarm in the aftermath of the recent debate at which President Joe Biden, a deeply decent man, was incapable of countering Trump, while he, unchecked, gushed a firehose of galling lies.

“Those people pouring over our border are less evolved than we are. They are naturally less intelligent. They have criminal natures. They are incapable of respecting the rule of law and order.”

“Men must be strong. They cannot be weak.” We were talking about the wish for boys and men to experience a full range of human emotions without shame or punishment. “It is dog-eat-dog and men will get eaten if they show any weakness. China has a massive, 2-million-man army. They aren’t teaching DEI. Good men must be willing to kill at any moment, but just know how to control that impulse.”

And Trump folks can act on those beliefs. Another one of my closest people, upon arriving at our local mall, came across Black youth hanging out, laughing, sitting on the hoods of cars. She went inside the mall to notify the security person on duty that Black kids were menacingly loafing and up to no good. The security person called the police.

I do not necessarily think all Trump supporters believe, feel, act and speak like this. I know Donald Trump himself does. That is critical. That is why I have come to realize that my private, personal belief is one I should no longer just keep to myself.

And so, I now ask President Joe Biden to step aside.

It's time for Joe Biden to leave the 2024 race

The defense of our cherished rights and freedoms, the moral imperative that we do better by more people, and our bodies, cannot be left to voters who see and are frightened of the consequences of President Biden’s obvious limitations , or who are now not going to vote. We take the risk of an off night and minimize the warning signs at our gravest peril.

You may judge me or be baffled by how and why I can continue to live with and love people who feel and act upon the same harmful beliefs that Trump espouses. And, of course, I wholly realize they feel my beliefs and positions are equally odious. I am humbled and grateful they neither exile me from our family nor allow our significant differences to taint their love for me.

Opinion alerts: Get columns from your favorite columnists + expert analysis on top issues, delivered straight to your device through the USA TODAY app. Don't have the app? Download it for free from your app store .

As Father Richard Rohr has written, we live in a " mixed reality ." I forgive reality for being so mixed. And I do not choose to sanitize reality or my life. I trust real, however messy it is, and however much it hurts to hold this complexity.

My deal breaker is not with my loved ones who are thrilled by Donald Trump. I cannot change them. I tried that, failed at that, damaged our relationships by trying that, and I have had enough loss in my life. I neither want to nor will I lose any more of my folks, especially over politics. My deal breakers with Donald Trump are many, but after listening Wednesday night in that living room, what is searing me is the cruelty. It cannot be America’s future.

Ashley Judd: We have the power to help women and girls caught in crises. Why won't we?

We can't risk a Trump presidency

I feel immense, bereft sadness at the beliefs Donald Trump holds, and that his supporters endorse. But that sadness is trivial compared to the hurt, devastation and loss millions will feel if Donald Trump is reelected. He would wield the power of the presidency with unprecedented, incalculable cruelty and unfairness.

Especially disturbing is his distortion of Christianity, the force of Christian Nationalism advancing him, and the risks for anyone who diverges from that.

Biden? Harris? I don't care. Stopping Trump and Project 2025 is all that matters.

This is not something I wrote easily, quickly or for political convenience. My belief in what President Biden has done for our country runs deep. My hopes for the next term run high. My investment is personal. I bring my body. I show up. I am a Democrat who relishes traveling up to Wisconsin for early voting, bringing coffee and doughnuts at 6 a.m. to first-time voters who have slept overnight on the sidewalk outside their polling place, so eager to cast their ballots for an inaugural experience.

Showing up publicly can cost me, and it absolutely will for far too many if Trump is reelected. When I read the “I am a Nasty Woman” poem at the Women’s March in 2017, I quoted Donald Trump. I was fired for doing so, by a company with whom I had an endorsement.

Trump said it . He was elected. I quoted him, I lose a life-altering paycheck. That is the double standard of American life for women under Donald Trump. And for all who disagree with him.

And writing this essay will cost me. Some, perhaps many, people will scorn me (and worse). Their outrage at me is insignificant compared to the harm that is assured under a second Trump term for, say, our LGBTQ+ families.

With Donald Trump in leadership, speech is chilled. Dissent is punished. Sharing your truth about your life in America can risk your livelihood. When a man raped me in 1998, I was able was have a safe, legal abortion that was accessible right where I live in Tennessee.

We already know many states ban abortions and 10 states have no exceptions for rape and incest , even for adolescent girls. This is reality for girls and women under Donald Trump and it must be the principle on which President Biden chooses to voluntarily, gracefully step aside.

Voters deserve a real choice on the Democratic ticket

Much has been said and printed about the historic progress of this Biden administration. Historic job creation . Visionary investment in America that future generations will feel. I have a deep appreciation and fond regard for him.

Equally, much has been said and printed about what Donald Trump has done and will do. I have been watching and listening.

As my mom’s dear friend Dr. Maya Angelou said , “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” Donald Trump, I see you, and I believe you.

Thus, because of the very real hurt millions of people would feel when he is president again, the Democratic Party must not delay in thanking President Biden and supporting a talented, robust Democrat to be our party’s nominee. We do not have another day for distraction or division among ourselves.

Some in Washington may want to wait for the next week, the next press conference, the next network interview. Here, where I sit in rural Tennessee, it is clear that Americans have already made up their minds against President Biden, on top of the majority who love to vote for Donald Trump.

My folks are not bad people, despite what you may now think of them. They are facing bad options. We must give them a different choice from our Democratic Party for president of the United States.

Ashley Judd  is a humanitarian, writer and actor.

You can read diverse opinions from our USA TODAY columnists and other writers on the Opinion front page , on X, formerly Twitter, @usatodayopinion and in our Opinion newsletter .

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Government Should Spend Money On Railways Essay: IELTS Writing Task 2

Updated on Jul 17, 2024, 11:42

The  IELTS Writing section is crucial for showcasing your proficiency in written English. It consists of two tasks:  Task 1 and  Task 2 . In Task 1, Academic test-takers describe visual data like graphs or charts, while General Training candidates write a letter based on a scenario. Task 2, common to both versions, requires you to write an essay responding to a specific topic.

Task 2 serves as a unifying element across the test formats, demanding a clear and well-supported argument in response to a viewpoint, argument, or problem. The primary distinction between the two formats, Task 1, significantly distinguishes between the  Academic  and  General Training test formats. 

A strong performance in IELTS Writing can significantly enhance your overall IELTS score . Start by practising one of the most popular essay topics in IELTS ‘Government should spend money on railways.’

Allocating government funds to railways is a considerable debate in public infrastructure investment. Some argue that substantial investment in railways is essential for enhancing transportation efficiency and sustainability. Others, however, question whether such expenditure represents the most effective use of public funds. 

This essay will explore both viewpoints regarding whether governments should prioritise railway spending, falling under the Agree/disagree category in the IELTS Writing section.

Let’s explore some sample essays on the topic! 

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1. Government Should Spend Money On Railways: How to Answer?

Clarity and structure are paramount when approaching IELTS Writing Task 2 in the agree/disagree category. Begin by stating your position on the given statement or question. 

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2. Government Should Spend Money On Railways: Sample Essay

Let's explore essay samples for Government Should Spend Money On Railways below.

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Government Should Spend Money On Railways: How to Answer?

Clarity and structure are paramount when approaching IELTS Writing Task 2 in the agree/disagree category. Begin by stating your position on the given statement or question.   

This essay requires a well-organized approach with a clear introduction, structured body paragraphs, and a brief conclusion. 

The topic will look like this:   

The government should spend money on railways rather than roads. To what extent do you agree or disagree? Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your knowledge or experience. Word limit: Make sure you keep it in 250 words!

Here’s how you can structure this essay to provide a balanced argument: 

1. Introduction:  

  • Paraphrase the statement: Begin by paraphrasing the topic statement to introduce the issue.
  • State your position: Clearly state whether you agree or disagree with the statement.
  • Outline your approach: Briefly outline how you will approach the essay, mentioning the main points you will discuss.

2. Body:  

  • Present your strongest argument supporting your position (agree or disagree).
  • Provide reasons or evidence to support this argument.
  • Connect your argument back to the topic statement and how it relates to spending on railways over roads.
  • Present another argument supporting your position.
  • Provide reasons or examples to justify this argument.
  • Discuss any potential counterarguments briefly and why they may not outweigh your position.
  • Address the opposite viewpoint briefly.
  • Provide reasons or examples that argue against this viewpoint.
  • Reinforce why your position (agree or disagree) is stronger based on the arguments presented.

3. Conclusion:  

  • Summarise your arguments: Recap the main points discussed in the body paragraphs.
  • Restate your position: Restate whether you agree or disagree with the statement.
  • Closing statement: End with a final thought or recommendation based on your arguments.

This structure will help you organise your thoughts effectively and present a coherent argument in response to the topic.

Government Should Spend Money On Railways: Sample Essay

Introduction:

The allocation of government funds towards infrastructure development is a topic of ongoing debate. While some advocate for increased investment in railways over roads, others argue for the opposite approach. This essay examines the proposition that governments should prioritise spending on railways rather than roads and evaluates the extent to which this argument holds merit.

Governments should invest in railways primarily due to their potential to alleviate traffic congestion in urban areas. Rail transport, being more efficient in moving large volumes of people and goods, can significantly reduce road traffic, thus easing commuting times and lowering carbon emissions.

Furthermore, railways contribute to environmental sustainability by reducing the carbon footprint associated with road transport. Electric or hybrid trains emit less greenhouse gases per passenger kilometre compared to cars and trucks, making railways a greener option for long-distance travel and freight transport.

In contrast, opponents may argue that road infrastructure is essential for last-mile connectivity and accessibility, particularly in rural and remote areas where railways may not be economically viable. Roads also support industries reliant on truck transport, such as agriculture and logistics, which play a crucial role in economic growth and regional development.

However, these arguments overlook the long-term benefits of investing in railways, such as fostering economic integration across regions and reducing dependency on fossil fuels. By prioritising railways, governments can stimulate sustainable development, enhance intercity connectivity, and mitigate the adverse effects of urbanisation on road infrastructure.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, while roads remain vital for local connectivity and certain industries, governments should strategically allocate more funds to developing railway infrastructure. This approach addresses urban congestion and environmental concerns and promotes sustainable economic growth and resilience. Therefore, governments should prioritise spending on railways over roads to effectively meet the challenges of the 21st century.

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Q. How important is it to address both sides of the argument in an IELTS Writing Task 2 essay?

Ans. It is crucial to address both sides of the argument in Task 2 essays. This demonstrates your ability to present a balanced view and consider different perspectives. While you may have a strong opinion, acknowledging opposing viewpoints strengthens your argument and shows critical thinking skills, key criteria for scoring well in the IELTS Writing Task 2.

Q. What role do examples play in supporting arguments in Task 2 essays?

Ans.  Examples are essential in Task 2 essays as they provide concrete evidence to support your arguments or illustrate abstract concepts. Effective examples help clarify your points, make your arguments more persuasive, and demonstrate your understanding of the topic. It is advisable to use relevant and specific examples that enhance the coherence and credibility of your essay.

Q. How can I manage my time effectively during the IELTS Writing Task 2 exam?

Ans.  Time management is crucial in the IELTS Writing Task 2 exam. Allocate approximately 5 minutes for planning, 30 minutes for writing your essay, and 5 minutes for reviewing and editing. Use the planning stage to outline your essay structure and main points. During the writing phase, develop each paragraph coherently and address all parts of the essay prompt. Finally, use the last few minutes to check for grammar, spelling, and coherence errors to ensure a polished final draft.

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Guest Essay

George Clooney: I Love Joe Biden. But We Need a New Nominee.

critical in essay

By George Clooney

Mr. Clooney is an actor, director and film producer.

I’m a lifelong Democrat; I make no apologies for that. I’m proud of what my party represents and what it stands for. As part of my participation in the democratic process and in support of my chosen candidate, I have led some of the biggest fund-raisers in my party’s history. Barack Obama in 2012 . Hillary Clinton in 2016 . Joe Biden in 2020 . Last month I co-hosted the single largest fund-raiser supporting any Democratic candidate ever, for President Biden’s re-election. I say all of this only to express how much I believe in this process and how profound I think this moment is.

I love Joe Biden. As a senator. As a vice president and as president. I consider him a friend, and I believe in him. Believe in his character. Believe in his morals. In the last four years, he’s won many of the battles he’s faced.

But the one battle he cannot win is the fight against time. None of us can. It’s devastating to say it, but the Joe Biden I was with three weeks ago at the fund-raiser was not the Joe “ big F-ing deal ” Biden of 2010. He wasn’t even the Joe Biden of 2020. He was the same man we all witnessed at the debate.

Was he tired? Yes. A cold? Maybe. But our party leaders need to stop telling us that 51 million people didn’t see what we just saw. We’re all so terrified by the prospect of a second Trump term that we’ve opted to ignore every warning sign. The George Stephanopoulos interview only reinforced what we saw the week before. As Democrats, we collectively hold our breath or turn down the volume whenever we see the president, whom we respect, walk off Air Force One or walk back to a mic to answer an unscripted question.

Is it fair to point these things out? It has to be. This is about age. Nothing more. But also nothing that can be reversed. We are not going to win in November with this president. On top of that, we won’t win the House, and we’re going to lose the Senate. This isn’t only my opinion; this is the opinion of every senator and Congress member and governor who I’ve spoken with in private. Every single one, irrespective of what he or she is saying publicly.

We love to talk about how the Republican Party has ceded all power, and all of the traits that made it so formidable with Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, to a single person who seeks to hold on to the presidency, and yet most of our members of Congress are opting to wait and see if the dam breaks. But the dam has broken. We can put our heads in the sand and pray for a miracle in November, or we can speak the truth.

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COMMENTS

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