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Critical Essay: How-To, Structure, Examples, Topics

What is a Critical Essay?

❶Number of words, or pages.

Introduction

Format (Outline) of a Critical Essay


Check your assignment instructions for formatting and structural specifications. Headings are usually optional for longer reviews and can be helpful for the reader. The length of an introduction is usually one paragraph for a journal article review and two or three paragraphs for a longer book review.

Include a few opening sentences that announce the author s and the title, and briefly explain the topic of the text. Present the aim of the text and summarise the main finding or key argument.

Conclude the introduction with a brief statement of your evaluation of the text. This can be a positive or negative evaluation or, as is usually the case, a mixed response. Present a summary of the key points along with a limited number of examples.

The summary should only make up about a third of the critical review. The critique should be a balanced discussion and evaluation of the strengths, weakness and notable features of the text. Remember to base your discussion on specific criteria. Good reviews also include other sources to support your evaluation remember to reference.

If you have used other sources in you review you should also include a list of references at the end of the review. Summarising and paraphrasing are essential skills for academic writing and in particular, the critical review. To summarise means to reduce a text to its main points and its most important ideas.

The length of your summary for a critical review should only be about one quarter to one third of the whole critical review. Paraphrasing means putting it into your own words. Paraphrasing offers an alternative to using direct quotations in your summary and the critique and can be an efficient way to integrate your summary notes. Skip to main content. Sign on Search Menu. Jobs and career portal. International students Disabilities New students.

Accommodation Health services Sport and gym. Introduction The length of an introduction is usually one paragraph for a journal article review and two or three paragraphs for a longer book review. Summary Present a summary of the key points along with a limited number of examples. Critique The critique should be a balanced discussion and evaluation of the strengths, weakness and notable features of the text. You can choose how to sequence your critique.

Here are some examples to get you started: Most important to least important conclusions you make about the text. If your critique is more positive than negative, then present the negative points first and the positive last. 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.

Take notes as you read your text. Taking notes as you read will help your to remember important aspects of the text, and it will also help you to think critically about the text. Keep some key questions in mind as you read and attempt to answer those questions through your notes.

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? Review your notes to identify patterns and problems. After you have finished reading and taking notes on your text, look over your notes to determine what patterns are present in the text and what problems stand out to you.

Try to identify a solution to one of the problems you have identified. For example, you may notice that Frankenstein's monster is often more likable than Doctor Frankenstein, and make an educated guess about why this is. 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.

Mary Shelley intended Frankenstein's monster to be more likable because Frankenstein's monster is more sympathetic than his creator, leading the reader to question who the true monster really is. Find appropriate secondary sources if required. If you are required to use sources for your critical essay, you will need to do some research. See your assignment guidelines or ask your instructor if you have questions about what types of sources are appropriate for this assignment.

Books, articles from scholarly journals, magazine articles, newspaper articles, and trustworthy websites are some sources that you might consider using. 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.

Evaluate your sources to determine their credibility. It is important to use only trustworthy sources in an academic essay, otherwise you will damage your own credibility as an author.

There are several things that you will need to consider in order to determine whether or not a source is trustworthy. 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.

Think about whether or not this author has adequately researched the topic. If the author has provided few or no sources, then this source may not be trustworthy. 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? If these are regular occurrences in the source, then it may not be a good choice.

Once you have gathered all of your sources, you will need to read them. Use the same careful reading strategy that you used when you read your primary source s. Read the sources multiple times and make sure that you fully understand them. Take notes while you read your sources. Highlight and underline significant passages so that you can easily come back to them. As you read, you should also pull any significant information from your sources by jotting the information down in a notebook.

Develop your tentative thesis. Once you have developed your ideas about your primary source and read your primary sources, you should be ready to write a thesis statement. You may find it helpful to use a multi-sentence thesis statement, where the first sentence offers the general idea and the second sentence refines it to a more specific idea.

In other words, avoid simply saying that something is "good" or "effective" and say what specifically makes it "good" or "effective. 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 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. Develop a rough outline based on your research notes. Writing an outline before you begin drafting your essay will help you to organize your information more effectively.

You can make your outline as detailed or as scant as you want. Just keep in mind that the more detail you include in your outline, the more material you will have ready to put into your paper. 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. Begin your essay with an engaging sentence that gets right into your topic.

Your introduction should immediately begin discussing your topic. Think about what you will discuss in your essay to help you determine what you should include in your introduction. Keep in mind that your introduction should identify the main idea of your critical essay and act as a preview to your essay. Provide background information to help guide your readers. Providing adequate background information or context will help to guide your readers through your essay. Think about what your readers will need to know in order to understand the rest of your essay and provide this information in your first paragraph.

This information will vary depending on the type of text you have been asked to write about. A conference of English professors needs less background info than a blog readership.

Use your body paragraphs to discuss specific components of your text. Rather than trying to talk about multiple aspects of your text in a single paragraph, make sure that each body paragraph focuses on a single aspect of your text. Your discussion of each of these aspects should contribute to proving your thesis. 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. Develop a conclusion for your essay. Your conclusion should emphasize what you have attempted to show your readers about your text. There are several good options for ending an academic essay that might help you decide how to format your conclusion.

For example, you might: 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. Set aside your paper for a few days before revising your draft.

By taking a break after you have finished drafting your paper, you will give your brain a rest. When you revisit the draft, you will have a fresh perspective.

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.

Give yourself sufficient time to do a substantive revision that clarifies any confusing logic or arguments. As you revise your paper, you should consider multiple aspects of your writing to make sure that your readers will be able to understand what you have written. Consider the following questions as you revise: 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?


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The essay structure for this type of essay is quite simple, so it's easy to follow. Most critical essays will follow this pattern: Introduction: Where you introduce the main topic, and present your thesis on it.

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A critical essay can either be summary of the contents of the reviewed material or a personal opinion and analysis of the writer about the content The usual format of a critical essay is in the form of argumentative analysis and it is primarily targeted for academic audiences.

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How to write a Critical Essay - Format, Topics, Structure, Samples, Outline This type of essay writing is an analysis of a certain reading and basically it is a summary of the point of view presented in this reading and an evaluation of this work. How to Write a Critical Lens Essay. The Structure of a Critical Lens Essay. When devising a critical lens essay, you need to attempt to accomplish three different targets, namely clarification, assessment, and interpretation. To ensure that the thoughts you wish to convey have an adequate flow and unity, you need to ponder on your opinions.

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How to Structure a Critical Analysis Essay? There are various formats of critical writing. From book reports, critical analyses of academic works, to the critique of poetry, writing, cinema, etc. Content of this article How to write a critical essay Purposes of writing Preparation process Research Structure Finalizing an essay How to choose topic for a critical writing Samples 1. How To Write A Critical Essay A critical essay seeks to provide an analysis or interpretation of either a book, a piece of art or a film. Critical Essay.