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What is a Critical Analysis Essay?
A critical essay is a common type of assignment which involves composing an analysis, evaluation, or interpretation of a text. In an academic setting, the critical essay audience expects you to make an argument concerning the particular text. Students often confuse a critical essay with criticism of a text which is often not the case.
If assigned a critical essay by your teachers, you need to keep in mind that the term critical does not necessarily imply negativity. On the contrary, the term implies that you need to discern, critique, or more formally, give a thorough examination and your judgment concerning the provided text, book, painting, film or any other form of material.
Purposes of a Critical Analysis Essay
In this type of essay, you are expected to make one or more interpretation on some aspect of certain media or even situate the media in a broader context. An example is where you might be asked to write a critical analysis of an article or article focusing on aspects such as the tone to ascertain how this influences or affects the overall tone of the text.
Your goal when writing a critical is not only to prove that you have read a text, watched a film, or a seen a piece of art. Your teachers expect that through the work you will be able to show that you have actually understood the material. The best way to show this is by owning the material by entering into a substantive and lively discourse and discussion about the material.
Steps for Writing a Critical Analysis Essay
In order for you to achieve good grades in your level of study, it is paramount that you stick to a critical approach throughout this type of essay. To accomplish this effectively, follow the steps discussed below:
- Establish your main argument– any type of material, including a text, play, music, and film among others might be chosen for this assignment by your professor. Irrespective of the material selected, you must be absolutely sure that you have adequate information before writing anything.
Information concerning the material will assist you in establishing the main argument, which you will consistently observe throughout your critical essay. You can critique something that you do not know about. That would be a display of your ignorance.
- Gather relevant material to support your argument-consider this as the research stage in your essay writing process. Carefully, select other material that is relevant to your critical essay material.
The supporting material might be books, journals, online content or articles among others. Also, ensure that the materials are authentic in the sense that they are scholarly or peer reviewed. Do not use too many materials since they becloud your main arguments making the essay hard to read or even understand. Stick to the materials that matter and make convincing arguments while supporting your reasoning.
- Prepare notes-notes are essential in expounding your argument while researching and after you have constructed your main contention.
- Consider other points of view-in the body of your critical essay, ensure that you state your views as vividly as possible, in line with your thesis situated in your introductory paragraph. Other points of view should be included in your essay, since these further highlight that you know what you are talking about.
Provide strong evidence in line with your reasoning, while simultaneously diluting opposing viewpoints through adequate proof. In this manner, you will be able to balance weaknesses in your critique more effectively.
- Make a clear and strong conclusion-from the outset of your critical essay, you should have formed a conclusion which clears any doubts among your readers concerning what you think about the material. Your critical essay, from the introduction to conclusion paragraph, should be directed towards this point. You might even find it easy to write the conclusion based on your research evidence, without even having written the body part of the essay. If you do that, refine the conclusion of your essay while writing the final draft.
Note that the conclusion part is important in developing coherence throughout your work.
- Review the entire essay-this is the final step of writing your critical essay. Review the work to correct any mistakes that you might have overlooked. You can also seek to answer the following questions as review the work;
- Are my main contentions clear, reasonable and logical?
- What are the weaknesses and strengths of the work?
- Is my evidence sufficient to support my claims?
- How does my conclusion appear?
- Avoid the following pitfalls:
- Use of entire quotations or citations of factual content from your sources. Add some reasoning.
- Reiterating the obvious
Once you follow these steps in writing your critical essay, you can be sure that nothing will hinder you from getting great grades.