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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 argue concerning the particular text. Students often confuse a critique essay with criticism of a text, which is often not the case.
If your teachers are assigned a critical essay, you need to keep in mind that the term critical does not necessarily imply negativity. On the contrary, the word means that you need to discern, critique, or, more formally, give a thorough examination and 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 interpretations on some aspect of specific 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 text’s overall tone.
When writing a critique, your goal is not only to prove that you have read a text, watched a film, or seen a piece of art. Your teachers expect that you will be able to show that you have understood the material through the work. 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
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:
1. Establish your main argument
Any material, including text, play, music, and film, among others, might be chosen for this assignment by your professor. Irrespective of the material selected, you must be sure that you have adequate information before writing anything.
Information concerning the material will help you establish 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.
2. 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. Please 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.
3. Prepare notes
Notes are essential in expounding your argument while researching, and after you have constructed your main contention.
4. Consider other points of view
In the body of your critical essay, ensure that you state your opinions 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.
5. 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 the 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 writing the body part of the essay. If you do that, refine the conclusion of your writing while writing the final draft.
Note that the conclusion part is essential in developing coherence throughout your work.
6. Review the entire essay
This is the final step in 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.
1. Reiterating the obvious
Once you follow these steps in writing your critical essay, you can be sure that nothing will hinder you from getting excellent grades.
2. Using outdated references
Using old references can impede on the quality of your essay. Therefore, you are advised to avoid citing ancient concerns and work with ones that go at most five years. While that is the case, sometimes, there is usually no current information on what you are citing. There are provisions for such limitations, and you can use references that date back to more than five years. However, ensure that 85% of your references are fresh.
3. Using negative words
Just like in all other essays, you should stick to a positive lane when writing a critical analysis essay. Remember that in writing, the analysis, questioning, and interpretation of a subject has to remain positive. Deviation from this might also cost you your score.
4. Poor language
Poor language in writing is characterized by the use of contractions, colloquial vocabulary, rhetorical questions, and run-on expressions. The mentioned writing style would affect the flow and compilation of ideas in your essay and affect its quality.
Always ensure that your essay is proofread and run through a plagiarism checker before submitting it. Even the most minor errors can prevent you from getting an A-grade in your essay. A plagiarism check will help you point out the things that can make your work appear inauthentic.