Writing a Critical Analysis: Step by Step Guide
The objective of a critical analysis is to analyze a certain work and evaluate its effectiveness. The most common subjects of critical analysis are books and journal articles, but the list doesn’t end here – you can also be tasked with analyzing a movie or another work of art. In your critical analysis you need to not only assess the effectiveness of the work, but also analyze the rhetorical methods employed by the author.
Do the Critical Reading
It’s clear that the reading is the first step of writing a critical analysis, but simply reading the work is not enough to provide a deep analysis. While doing the reading for your analysis, you also need to discover the main thesis of the work. Finding the thesis may be easy when you’re working with a piece of academic writing, but locating the main theme in a fictional book or film may be more challenging. However, the main theme can be found in any work and it will have a great impact on your analysis.
A critical analysis piece has at least one major difference from most other forms of writing you’ve done before: critical analysis requires little to no research. The only instance where you need to do research is if you’re unfamiliar with a term or concept mentioned in the work. If you’re having trouble comprehending the content of the writing, we suggest finding other materials that explore the same topic. Other than that, all writing you will be doing is your own thoughts on the matter.
The next stage of doing a critical analysis is to write an outline for your work. The outline serves a double purpose: it not only helps you structure your writing properly, but also allows you to remember the material better. The first outline draft you do can be written in your own words, and you can polish it when working on the final draft of the work. It’s also very helpful to take notes while going through the reading.
Here you also need to establish the appeal used by the author. The type of appeal the author went for can tell a lot about the writing method, target audience, and purpose of the writing. There are three common types of appeal:
- Ethos is convincing the reader that the author is worthy of their trust because of his credibility and professional status in the community;
- Logos is a type of appeal that uses pure logic to convince the reader in the author’s point of view being correct;
- Pathos is aimed directly at the emotions of the reader. This appeal can be successfully used in any form of art, from academic articles to movies.
Write the Analysis
When you begin writing your critical analysis, it’s important to focus on the most important parts of the narrative. The notes you’ve taken while doing the reading will be very helpful at this stage. Identify the strong sides of the work you’re analyzing and write what makes them so powerful.
The most important part of your writing is the critical analysis itself. Determine whether the author was successful in making the point and what methods were used for establishing the main thesis of the work. Each point, whether it’s positive or negative, should be presented in a separate paragraph.
The balance between the positive and negative points of your critical analysis is crucial for general success of your work. The negative points should alternate with the positive ones, so that in the end your writing looks balanced and fair.
Organize Your Paper
The correct structure of a critical analysis paper begins with an introduction, which should take up to 10% of the work. Here you need to introduce the work and the author in detail, as well as present the context of your writing.
The main part of the critical analysis takes about 80% of the work and includes a summary of the work you’re analyzing and the analysis itself, with each point written in a separate paragraph.
The conclusion should take up to 10% of the writing where you restate your thesis and arguments, as well as provide suggestions on what can be done to further explore the topic in the future.