How to write a critical analysis essay: Problem-solving Guide

Jun 03, 2019 1481 views

A critical analysis essay is perhaps one of the hardest written tasks that a student may get during his or her academic years. Why is it so complicated, you may ask? The complexity of the critical analysis essay resides in the fact that it requires good research skills and critical thinking as well as the ability to analyze the information, present valid arguments and defend your point of view. Basically, to write a good critical analysis in an essay, you would have to use all your knowledge and skill set acquired during the years of study. However, don't be intimidated by the prospect of spending many hours composing this paper because we will show you how to write a critical analysis essay step-by-step.

What is a critical analysis essay: Central Purpose

Such academic assignment as critical analysis essay aims to analyze the subject through the prism of criticizing. You can find elements of critical analysis in just about any kind of essay, except for the observation essays. Should you want us to define critical analysis, we would say that it is the process of examining the written work, or any other product for that matter, to determine its efficiency at making a point or proving the argument. Critical analysis usually applies to literary works, articles or other kinds of products of humanitarian disciplines. Writing such an academic work implies the use of critical analysis.

How to start a critical analysis essay: Making it well-structured

Dealing with any academic paper, you should begin with an introduction. However, before you even write the first words of the introduction to a critical analysis essay, you should do some preparatory works which include the following steps:

  1. Identify the topic and compose the appropriate title for critical analysis essay
  2. Think about what method of analysis you will be using for writing this essay
  3. Be ready to make up more than two drafts of your future thesis statement. To recall what is a good thesis statement, we will explain it to you below.
  4. Find concrete evidence that will support your thesis statement. Preparing an assignment like an essay, you are to make sure to use the evidence taken from the credible sources like scholarly articles. Not every Wikipedia article or mass media information sources may not be considered as valid references.
  5. Write down at least five critical arguments which you intend to you in your essay. Make sure that they are well-elaborated and supported by strong evidence.

Now, let's get back to describing how to start a critical analysis essay. Unlike the introduction to most of the essays where students have to provide some short background information and simply introduce the thesis, the introduction of a critical analysis essay is more complicated. First of all, you must introduce the author and the title of the work that is being critiqued. Then you have to state the author's point within his/her work which you would like to critique. This point is also called a "take away." It is the thought or a call-to-action which the author wants to convey to the reader. Lastly, you must state your overall evaluation of this work.

Tips for writing a critical analysis essay: Make it easy

  • When you write the first draft, don't include the thesis statement in it. Finish the draft, read and analyze what you have written and only then you should compose the thesis statement. This way, you will be able to create the strongest possible thesis statement which reflects all your critique points.
  • Write down all quotes and phrases from the text on which you are writing a critical analysis and use them actively throughout the essay to prove your point.

The next point after learning the basic tips for writing a critical analysis essay is to study its structure and emphasize on the main body. As in any other academic paper, the main body of the critical analysis essay can consist of two to ten (or even more) paragraphs, depending on your requirements. Each paragraph must present the point of critique, thorough analysis of this particular point, and solid argumentation that is supported by strong evidence. Keep in mind that your criticism must be constructive and well thought-out. Otherwise, it would seem that you are only whining about something you don't like or don't understand. It is called critical analysis for a reason: analyze each "take away" point in the author's work, try to look at it from the different perspective, and always avoid all possible logical fallacies in your essay.

Also, make sure that your paragraphs are logically structured which means that the last sentence of one paragraph must serve as a small introduction or a hook to the next paragraph. That will help to make your critical analysis essay more readable and credible.

The last part of the critical essay structure is called the conclusion. Knowing how to conclude a critical analysis essay is a key to getting a good score because it summarizes all your arguments and shows the validity of your critique. Keep the conclusion paragraph short, clear, and efficient. And remember, don't introduce any new information in this section; otherwise, you will lose points.

Critical analysis essay format: General Peculiarities

MLA is the most common format for academic papers, including critical analysis writing. It is the most convenient and comprehensible style of formatting when it comes to quoting and referencing. As you will use plenty of quotes in your critical analysis essay, it is better for you to opt for the MLA format. However, if your professor asks to apply in your critical analysis essay format other that MLA style, you can always find detailed information regarding different styles such as APA, Chicago, and Harvard online at the Purdue OWL.

Outline for a critical analysis essay: Logical and clear

Creating a good outline will help you with writing a critical analysis essay because you will be able to organize your thoughts and adhere to a certain plan. Here is an example of such an outline for a critical analysis essay:

The theme of death in Poe's "The Raven"

  1. Introduction
    • A brief summary of the poem "The Raven"
    • Poe's excessive emphasis on the topic of death in the poem
  2. Body
    • The appearance of Raven and the symbolism of this creature
    • Why Poe felt that the raven is the harbinger of sorrow
    • Why the raven shouldn't be perceived as the symbol of evil and death
    • The Raven as a great example of tragic poetry
  3. Conclusion

Hope that all these tips and pieces of advice will become your reliable help with writing a critical analysis essay!