Understanding how to write a critical analysis essay

If you are reading this article, you are probably looking for help to understand how to write a critical analysis essay. This kind of writing assignment foresees that you read and examine certain article to define whether it is effective or not and how successfully it provides its point. As a rule, it applies to scientific articles, but it also can be used to analyze creative pieces of writing, fiction and non-fiction books, paintings, movies and so on. In other words, any work that can be analyzed is a good topic to cover in your critical essay. Here, you will learn how to cope with this task if you're analyzing an article.

The essence of critical reading

First thing you should know in this regard is that it's not necessarily about criticizing. If you find the work effective, you can write about it's advantages as well. Follow these steps:

  • Identify the thesis of the work, which means to find what the author is trying to prove or disprove; determine his main point.
  • Make notes when reading the work. You need to find all the main ideas and make a list of them. Usually they are provided in the first sentence of each paragraph.
  • Do some research on unfamiliar information. Go online and search for the meaning of terms and other material that is new for you.
  • Try to retell the work with your own words. This will help you understand it better. You can either create an outline or write a short summary.
  • Evaluate how convincing the work is. Think whether you personally agree or disagree with the author, find out if you had any emotional response and whether you changed your opinion due to the author's arguments.

Analyze the article appropriately

In order to write a good analysis, you need to apply all your critical skills. Take a look at the notes you were taking while reading the article and do the following:

  • Pick up the most worthy areas to focus on. This is about choosing the strongest observations and discuss them in a more detailed manner. Our tip here is not to choose too many observations, three or four would be more than enough.
  • Define both positive and negative aspects. Typically reviews provide advantages, as well as disadvantages of the paper. However, the better way would be to begin with negative ones in order to finish your essay positively.
  • Find out if there are some controversies in the discussed topic. Did the author mention counterarguments? How did he manage proving his point?
  • Think whether the discussed problem is relevant and explain why. If you find it really important, convince your audience that it is. Provide evidences and quotes from the article.
  • Stay objective. Your personal opinion matters, but you should have a solid ground to think that way. In academic writing, avoid such word expressions as “I agree”, “To my mind” etc.
  • Don't keep your biggest focus on summary. Most of your attention should be paid to the body part of the article and only a couple of sentences to the summary.

Get your critical essay organized

Every professor requires papers to be well-structured. All your ideas have to be organized properly and provided in a logical order. This is what we suggest doing:

  • Provide a brief introduction of the analyzed article in the beginning of yours. Mention the title, the author's purpose and key ideas.
  • Make your own thesis statement. This is a short overview of your critical essay, which usually takes a couple of sentences.
  • Make a summary. You need to sum up all your major thoughts and put them together.
  • Start every paragraph with a new idea, followed by arguments.
  • Make a strong conclusion. In the end of the day, did you find the article effective or not?

Think about using professional help

If you're still trying to understand how to write a critical analysis essay and it seems almost unbearable, take a deep breath and contact us. Our mission is to help students face challenges in college, which also includes writing papers of all kinds and formats.