University studies always require students to make a critical analysis of a research paper, painting, literary piece, etc. Students in the fields of Science and Arts have to make a critical analysis of previous works because these analyses will prove how well you have mastered a certain profession and use it as a basis to dissect work. If you’re having trouble making a critical analysis, EssayPro is here to help.
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A critical analysis definition would be an academic paper designed to understand a certain written work. This kind of writing is subjective because you have to express personal opinions as evaluation. Two major steps you have to make in this kind of essay are Critical Reading and Critical Writing. On how to write a critical analysis paper, you should be able to express your opinions based on experience.
How to Write a Critical Analysis
The first step mentioned earlier in a critical path analysis is critical reading. To read critically, identify the author’s purpose and analysis. Take note of the passage’s main ideas and the paragraphs supporting the main idea. Consult proper reference materials for things that you do not comprehend. Write a description, outline, and a summary of the work. It’s important to consider the written work’s purpose. Is it factual? Is it written to entertain? Is it written to express an opinion? Asking these questions will help you write and synthesize. Evaluate if the author has achieved the purpose of his or her written work.
Most instructors will readily provide an outline or sample to help students make an organized written critical analysis. These outlines serve as a skeleton of how you want your written work to be structured. This is why in any academic paper, making an outline is a fundamental element. If you are not provided with an outline, you can follow this outline below:
- Background Information: This is to make readers have an understanding or an overview of the work you’re going to evaluate. This is to ensure that important details are provided. This is an important part of the critical analysis because this will be your basis for evaluation. The information should be brief.
- Information about the work:
- Publication information
- Statement of topic and purpose
- Thesis statement indicating writer's main reaction to the work
- Summary: This is another fundamental part of the critical analysis because to create a summary, you have to read critically.
- Interpretation: Writing this part will vary from person to person. This interpretation should be subjective. It should be based on your experiences and honest opinions be it negative or positive. The way you will evaluate in this part of the essay will reflect who you are and your proficiency.
- Discussion of the work's organization
- Discussion of the work's style
- Discussion of the topic's treatment
- Discussion of appeal to a particular audience
You could go on and search for critical analysis examples if you were not given one in class. These examples should answer some of your questions. Avoid opening statements like “I think…” and “In my opinion…” Your essay should focus on the analysis itself and not on you.
Your analysis should answer the following questions:
- Is there a controversy surrounding either the passage or the subject which it concerns?
- What about the subject matter is of current interest?
- What is the overall value of the passage?
- What are its strengths and weaknesses?
Take note of the rubrics or guide questions given to you. These are meant to make sure you will not miss details in your analysis. Support your statements with the text given to you. Remember that the purpose of critical analysis is not merely to inform, but also to evaluate the worth, utility, excellence, distinction, truth, validity, beauty, or goodness of something. Although, you will be expressing your opinions, make sure that you will be fair and well informed. Explore different sides of the analysis yet stand firm on what you believe in. Express your opinions honestly. Your review should provide information, interpretation, and evaluation. The information will help your reader understand the nature of the work under analysis. The interpretation will explain the meaning of the work, therefore requiring your correct understanding of it. The evaluation will discuss your opinions of the work and present valid justification for them.
Related article: How to Write an Analytical Essay
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The ability to critically analyze will come in handy in many different essays and exams. As the article stresses, critical analysis is subjective and should express your opinion. Approximately half of the paper should be your analysis and the other half would be your critique. As the article states, if this paper has your name on it, you do not need to use inclusive pronouns and phrases like “I think”. My advice is to make sure to support every critique that you have by some evidence in the analysis section. If your film teacher wants you to analyze a movie critically, draw opinions and conclusions from facts, not just because you think “it was entertaining” and “the special effects were good.” Support each and every one of your assumptions and your essay will be a success. Ask yourself “why” do you feel this way about a certain piece of writing.
If after following the steps and taking note of the tips and tricks, you find it hard to write a critical analysis, don’t hesitate to ask any essay help from EssayPro. Our custom writer service will help you express your opinions into writing.
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Look for images or metaphors that the author uses consistently. What other sort of pattern can you identify in the text? How do you interpret this pattern so that your reader will understand the book, essay, poem, speech, etc. better?
What philosophical, moral, ethical, etc. ideas is the author advocating or opposing? What are the consequences of accepting the author's argument?
Explain how the work functions as a piece of rhetoric--how does the author attempt to convince his or her reader of something? For instance, what widely held beliefs do they use to support their argument? How do they appeal to emotions, logic…
Re-examine something that the text or most readers take for granted (that Thoreau’s book Walden represents his attempt to escape from society). Question this major premise and see where it takes you
Ask yourself if an author’s literary argument is inconsistent with itself or is in some way philosophically "dangerous," inadequate, unethical, or misleading.
Examine how characters are presented in a story. How do they help the main character to develop? Which characters are trustworthy? Which are not? Why are they presented this way?
Structure: How the parts of the book or essay follow one another; how the parts are assembled to make a whole? Why does the author start where they start, end where they end? What is the logical progression of thought? How might that progression be intended to affect the reader What effect might this progression of ideas have on a generic reader or on a reader from the time period in which the work was written? Does the piece move from the general to the specific or vice versa?
If you could divide the book/essay into sections, units of meaning, what would those sections be? How are they related to each other? Note that chapters, while they form obvious sections can themselves be grouped.
Referring to the text: In writing analytic papers that address any kind of literature, it is necessary to refer to the text (the specific words on the page of the book) in order to support your argument. This means that you must quote and interpret passages that demonstrate or support your argument. Quotation is usually stronger than paraphrase. Remember also that your purpose in writing an essay is not merely to paraphrase or summarize (repeat) what the author has said, but to make an argument about how the make their point, or how they have said what they have said.
Language: includes the way an author phrases his or her sentences, the key metaphors used (it’s up to you to explain how these metaphors are used, why these metaphors are appropriate, effective, ineffective, or ambiguous). Is the way a sentence is phrased particularly revealing of the author’s meaning?
Please title your paper and make the title apt and enticing--I LOVE a good title. It puts me in a good mood before I start reading.
Be clear about whether you’re writing about a book, an essay (non-fiction, short prose), a story (short fiction) a poem, a novel (book-length fiction), an autobiography, a narrative (as in Captivity Narratives) etc. Walden is a book comprised of chapters. Each of these chapters could also be called an essay. Within these essays, Thoreau sometimes tells stories. The book itself is not a story, but closer to a narrative, which is non-fiction.
Always go through at least two drafts of you paper. Let your paper sit, preferably for 24 hours between drafts sometime during the process of your writing.
Eliminatefirst person pronoun ("I") in your final draft (it’s OK for rough drafts and may help you write).
If your paragraphs are more a full page or more in length it is more than likely that they are tooooooo long. Probably you have too many ideas "in the air" at once. Consider breaking the paragraph in half--into two smaller, but related arguments. Your reader needs a break, needs more structure in order to be able to follow your meaning.
If several of your paragraphs are exceedingly short (4-5 lines), it is likely that you are not developing your ideas thoroughly enough--that you are writing notes rather than analysis. Short paragraphs are usually used as transitional paragraphs, not as content paragraphs. (Short paragraphs can be used in the rhetorical devise of reversal where you lead your reader down a certain path (to show them one side of the argument, the one you are going to oppose) and then turn away from that argument to state the true argument of your paper.)
Employ quotation often.One quotation per argumentative paragraph is usually necessary. Depending upon the length and complexity of the passage or topic you're dealing with, more quotations may be useful to prevent you from getting too far away from the text. Your quotations combined with your interpretations are your proof. Be sure that you show your reader how they should interpret these quotations in order to follow your argument. (Almost every quotation should be followed by an interpretation, a deeper reading of what is being said and how its being said. This interpretation demonstrates how the quotation supports the claim you're making about it). Pay attention to metaphor, phrasing, tone, alliteration, etc. How is the author saying what they are saying--what does that teach us about the text?
Remember to write directive (sometimes called "topic") sentences for your paragraphs. The first sentence of any paragraph should give your reader an idea of what the paragraph is going to say and how the paragraph will connect to the larger argument. It should have more to do with what you have to say about the materials than what the author him or herself has said.
Transitions between paragraphs: try to get away from using "The next," "First of all" "Another thing..." to connect your paragraphs. This is the "list" method of structuring a paper--not an integrated, logical approach. A really strong transition makes the logical connection between paragraphs or sections of a paper and gives the reader a sense that you’re building an argument. To make sure you are making a well-connected argument, ask yourself how the last sentence of each paragraph and the first sentence of the next are connected. Each of the sentences within your paragraphs should be related somehow (follow from, refer to, etc.) the one that precedes it, and the one which follows it. This will help the reader follow the flow of your ideas. The order of your paragraphs should reveal a developing argument.
On the most basic level, you should be able to consciously justify the presence and placement of every word in every sentence, every sentence in every paragraph, every paragraph in every essay. To repeat: in revising your papers after the first draft (which is always, inevitably to some degree confused because you are involved in the process of working your ideas out), you should be highly conscious of what you are doing and why you are doing it.