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Critical Essay Writing: Step-By-Step Guide

Critical Essay Writing: Step-By-Step Guide

A critical essay aims at evaluating someone’s work in any form. In order to give a full assessment, you will need to specify pros and cons of either the subject or the methods used for its creation.

Students are recommended to begin this essay with a brief description of the work, its significance and the author’s intended message for the public. This is usually followed by a detailed analysis of all aspects of the object and author’s explanation of achieving the goals.

What do they call a critical essay

Very often we link word critical with criticizing, identifying negative sides. You may think that the aim of a critical essay is to provide arguments that prove the object of the essay is not good. But it is not like that.

Let’s remember that criticism means an analysis, and analysis covers both negative and positive aspects of the object of the study. A critical essay is this type of written task where you should analyze and evaluate any scientific or artistic work.

Teachers usually give this assignment to help student develop their critical thinking since in the process of writing they will learn to define contradictions, find errors, inaccuracies, see the benefits and outcome of their work, and verify the authenticity of certain facts.

How to work with the material under research

Once you are given or chosen the topic of your future essay, you should know how to work with the object of your work:

  • Get a full copy of the original text. You may use any source – get it from the library or find it on internet. If you work on a scientific article or a short story, it will not be a problem to make its photocopy. If the material you are going to analyze has big volume it will probably be more convenient if you manage to get its digital version to work on your PC.
  • The first thing you have to do is reading the entire text of the object of your research. While reading try to write down the thoughts and ideas that appear in your head. Once the text is read, write down your impression of the work in a form of a short summary. If you are working with big text, remember to make notes and underline important parts while reading. It will ease the process of writing in the future.
  • When you re-read the text pay attention to details, mark them with a pencil in the text not to forget anything. If it is a scientific work you are working on, you should pay attention to the validity of the theses, logical construction, completeness, clarity of presentation, etc. If you are to analyze a fiction story you should be attentive to the storylines, main characters, the originality of the plot, the presence of a climax, etc.
  • Working with the text literary means working with the text. You should emphasize and highlight all that caused any emotions in you. You can make notes on the margins or get a separate notepad for your remarks. All this will help you in further writing of your work.

How to develop a critical essay yourself

Your critical essay should have the following structure:

  • Introductory part
  • Main part/body consisting of several paragraphs
  • Conclusions

Introductory part of your critical essay

The intro part of your critical essay should contain the general information about the analyzed work and its author.

You should describe the problem raised in the work briefly. If you are working on a scientific work, you should indicate the work purpose, scientific statement and author’s arguments and experience. It is worth mentioning the authority of the scientist in the scientific community. You can know it from the number of publications, high citation of their works, availability of scientific papers, titles, degrees, etc. Pay attention if the author is using modern methods of research, proves his words with facts, uses reliable sources of information, and presents the material logically and clearly.

If you are analyzing a work of art and its writer, do not forget mentioning author’s experience in writing, mention their awards, if any. It is a good idea to compare their skills in this work and earlier works.

Main part of your critical essay

Main essay part, or else called the body, is the largest part of your work. You should divide it into several logical paragraphs.

If you write a critical essay on scientific work, devotee this part of your text to the arguments found in the object of your research and identification of counter-arguments. Your aim is to identify the vague parts of the object of your study that need a further detailed research. Or, probably you find the author’s system too complicated to be implemented in a specific area. Explain your vision and suggest solutions to the problem. Remember to keep your essay in the style of a research paper.

If you are to analyze the work of literature, in this part you should focus on the problems revealed by the author, revealing the characters of the story, use of literature techniques, etc. This essay should be written in more artistic style. In this case you can use bright and vivid language, use literary techniques, make comparisons, fill it with emotions so that our reader would want to read the story you are working on.

Conclusion to your critical essay

Conclusion is the last but not the least part of your essay. This is the section that will make the last impression upon your audience.

Here, you should present your general opinion about the analyzed work and suggest solutions for the raised questions. Do not forget to devote several sentences to the importance of the work carried out by the author. If it is a scientific work it should have a certain importance for the further development in specific area of science. If it is a work of literature, it could have revealed acute social problems, presented a new culture, etc.

Do not rush to handle your essay right after you finishing it. Give yourself several hours or better a day to rest form it, then re-read your critical essay and make all necessary amendments: correct mistakes, remove unclear phrases, support weak points.

It is very important to keep your possible negative emotions away. Never let yourself a benevolent tone or unacceptable criticism of the author. Stock to the accepted structure of the essay and make all its parts logically connected with each other.

Examples of essays

There are several approaches to developing a critical essay. However, if you still find it difficult to choose which one suits you best or still don’t know what to begin with, search online for some examples of critical essays.

When you look through several examples, you will have a better idea what it looks like and what kind of material is presented in this type of essay. Examples may also serve a good source of inspiration.

Get help from expert writers

However, if you have not time to drown in all the details of writing and working over bulk of material, you can always get professional help and have your essay written on order by our experts. We have a team of writers who are experienced in many spheres of study. They will perform any type of written task in time. 

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