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Writing a Critical Analysis

What is in this guide, definitions, putting it together, tips and examples of critques.

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This guide is meant to help you understand the basics of writing a critical analysis. A critical analysis is an argument about a particular piece of media. There are typically two parts: (1) identify and explain the argument the author is making, and (2), provide your own argument about that argument. Your instructor may have very specific requirements on how you are to write your critical analysis, so make sure you read your assignment carefully.

how to write a critical analysis of research paper

Critical Analysis

A deep approach to your understanding of a piece of media by relating new knowledge to what you already know.

Part 1: Introduction

  • Identify the work being criticized.
  • Present thesis - argument about the work.
  • Preview your argument - what are the steps you will take to prove your argument.

Part 2: Summarize

  • Provide a short summary of the work.
  • Present only what is needed to know to understand your argument.

Part 3: Your Argument

  • This is the bulk of your paper.
  • Provide "sub-arguments" to prove your main argument.
  • Use scholarly articles to back up your argument(s).

Part 4: Conclusion

  • Reflect on  how  you have proven your argument.
  • Point out the  importance  of your argument.
  • Comment on the potential for further research or analysis.
  • Cornell University Library Tips for writing a critical appraisal and analysis of a scholarly article.
  • Queen's University Library How to Critique an Article (Psychology)
  • University of Illinois, Springfield An example of a summary and an evaluation of a research article. This extended example shows the different ways a student can critique and write about an article
  • Next: Background Information >>
  • Last Updated: Feb 14, 2024 4:33 PM
  • URL: https://libguides.pittcc.edu/critical_analysis

how to write a critical analysis of research paper

What Is a Critical Analysis Essay: Definition

how to write a critical analysis of research paper

Have you ever had to read a book or watch a movie for school and then write an essay about it? Well, a critical analysis essay is a type of essay where you do just that! So, when wondering what is a critical analysis essay, know that it's a fancy way of saying that you're going to take a closer look at something and analyze it.

So, let's say you're assigned to read a novel for your literature class. A critical analysis essay would require you to examine the characters, plot, themes, and writing style of the book. You would need to evaluate its strengths and weaknesses and provide your own thoughts and opinions on the text.

Similarly, if you're tasked with writing a critical analysis essay on a scientific article, you would need to analyze the methodology, results, and conclusions presented in the article and evaluate its significance and potential impact on the field.

The key to a successful critical analysis essay is to approach the subject matter with an open mind and a willingness to engage with it on a deeper level. By doing so, you can gain a greater appreciation and understanding of the subject matter and develop your own informed opinions and perspectives. Considering this, we bet you want to learn how to write critical analysis essay easily and efficiently, so keep on reading to find out more!

Meanwhile, if you'd rather have your own sample critical analysis essay crafted by professionals from our custom writings , contact us to buy essays online .

How to Write a Critical Analysis

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Critical Analysis Essay Topics by Category

If you're looking for an interesting and thought-provoking topic for your critical analysis essay, you've come to the right place! Critical analysis essays can cover many subjects and topics, with endless possibilities. To help you get started, we've compiled a list of critical analysis essay topics by category. We've got you covered whether you're interested in literature, science, social issues, or something else. So, grab a notebook and pen, and get ready to dive deep into your chosen topic. In the following sections, we will provide you with various good critical analysis paper topics to choose from, each with its unique angle and approach.

Critical Analysis Essay Topics on Mass Media

From television and radio to social media and advertising, mass media is everywhere, shaping our perceptions of the world around us. As a result, it's no surprise that critical analysis essays on mass media are a popular choice for students and scholars alike. To help you get started, here are ten critical essay example topics on mass media:

  • The Influence of Viral Memes on Pop Culture: An In-Depth Analysis.
  • The Portrayal of Mental Health in Television: Examining Stigmatization and Advocacy.
  • The Power of Satirical News Shows: Analyzing the Impact of Political Commentary.
  • Mass Media and Consumer Behavior: Investigating Advertising and Persuasion Techniques.
  • The Ethics of Deepfake Technology: Implications for Trust and Authenticity in Media.
  • Media Framing and Public Perception: A Critical Analysis of News Coverage.
  • The Role of Social Media in Shaping Political Discourse and Activism.
  • Fake News in the Digital Age: Identifying Disinformation and Its Effects.
  • The Representation of Gender and Diversity in Hollywood Films: A Critical Examination.
  • Media Ownership and Its Impact on Journalism and News Reporting: A Comprehensive Study.

Critical Analysis Essay Topics on Sports

Sports are a ubiquitous aspect of our culture, and they have the power to unite and inspire people from all walks of life. Whether you're an athlete, a fan, or just someone who appreciates the beauty of competition, there's no denying the significance of sports in our society. If you're looking for an engaging and thought-provoking topic for your critical analysis essay, sports offer a wealth of possibilities:

  • The Role of Sports in Diplomacy: Examining International Relations Through Athletic Events.
  • Sports and Identity: How Athletic Success Shapes National and Cultural Pride.
  • The Business of Sports: Analyzing the Economics and Commercialization of Athletics.
  • Athlete Activism: Exploring the Impact of Athletes' Social and Political Engagement.
  • Sports Fandom and Online Communities: The Impact of Social Media on Fan Engagement.
  • The Representation of Athletes in the Media: Gender, Race, and Stereotypes.
  • The Psychology of Sports: Exploring Mental Toughness, Motivation, and Peak Performance.
  • The Evolution of Sports Equipment and Technology: From Innovation to Regulation.
  • The Legacy of Sports Legends: Analyzing Their Impact Beyond Athletic Achievement.
  • Sports and Social Change: How Athletic Movements Shape Societal Attitudes and Policies.

Critical Analysis Essay Topics on Literature and Arts

Literature and arts can inspire, challenge, and transform our perceptions of the world around us. From classic novels to contemporary art, the realm of literature and arts offers many possibilities for critical analysis essays. Here are ten original critic essay example topics on literature and arts:

  • The Use of Symbolism in Contemporary Poetry: Analyzing Hidden Meanings and Significance.
  • The Intersection of Art and Identity: How Self-Expression Shapes Artists' Works.
  • The Role of Nonlinear Narrative in Postmodern Novels: Techniques and Interpretation.
  • The Influence of Jazz on African American Literature: A Comparative Study.
  • The Complexity of Visual Storytelling: Graphic Novels and Their Narrative Power.
  • The Art of Literary Translation: Challenges, Impact, and Interpretation.
  • The Evolution of Music Videos: From Promotional Tools to a Unique Art Form.
  • The Literary Techniques of Magical Realism: Exploring Reality and Fantasy.
  • The Impact of Visual Arts in Advertising: Analyzing the Connection Between Art and Commerce.
  • Art in Times of Crisis: How Artists Respond to Societal and Political Challenges.

Critical Analysis Essay Topics on Culture

Culture is a dynamic and multifaceted aspect of our society, encompassing everything from language and religion to art and music. As a result, there are countless possibilities for critical analysis essays on culture. Whether you're interested in exploring the complexities of globalization or delving into the nuances of cultural identity, there's a wealth of topics to choose from:

  • The Influence of K-Pop on Global Youth Culture: A Comparative Study.
  • Cultural Significance of Street Art in Urban Spaces: Beyond Vandalism.
  • The Role of Mythology in Shaping Indigenous Cultures and Belief Systems.
  • Nollywood: Analyzing the Cultural Impact of Nigerian Cinema on the African Diaspora.
  • The Language of Hip-Hop Lyrics: A Semiotic Analysis of Cultural Expression.
  • Digital Nomads and Cultural Adaptation: Examining the Subculture of Remote Work.
  • The Cultural Significance of Tattooing Among Indigenous Tribes in Oceania.
  • The Art of Culinary Fusion: Analyzing Cross-Cultural Food Trends and Innovation.
  • The Impact of Cultural Festivals on Local Identity and Economy.
  • The Influence of Internet Memes on Language and Cultural Evolution.

How to Write a Critical Analysis: Easy Steps

When wondering how to write a critical analysis essay, remember that it can be a challenging but rewarding process. Crafting a critical analysis example requires a careful and thoughtful examination of a text or artwork to assess its strengths and weaknesses and broader implications. The key to success is to approach the task in a systematic and organized manner, breaking it down into two distinct steps: critical reading and critical writing. Here are some tips for each step of the process to help you write a critical essay.

Step 1: Critical Reading

Here are some tips for critical reading that can help you with your critical analysis paper:

  • Read actively : Don't just read the text passively, but actively engage with it by highlighting or underlining important points, taking notes, and asking questions.
  • Identify the author's main argument: Figure out what the author is trying to say and what evidence they use to support their argument.
  • Evaluate the evidence: Determine whether the evidence is reliable, relevant, and sufficient to support the author's argument.
  • Analyze the author's tone and style: Consider the author's tone and style and how it affects the reader's interpretation of the text.
  • Identify assumptions: Identify any underlying assumptions the author makes and consider whether they are valid or questionable.
  • Consider alternative perspectives: Consider alternative perspectives or interpretations of the text and consider how they might affect the author's argument.
  • Assess the author's credibility : Evaluate the author's credibility by considering their expertise, biases, and motivations.
  • Consider the context: Consider the historical, social, cultural, and political context in which the text was written and how it affects its meaning.
  • Pay attention to language: Pay attention to the author's language, including metaphors, symbolism, and other literary devices.
  • Synthesize your analysis: Use your analysis of the text to develop a well-supported argument in your critical analysis essay.

Step 2: Critical Analysis Writing

Here are some tips for critical analysis writing, with examples:

How to Write a Critical Analysis

  • Start with a strong thesis statement: A strong critical analysis thesis is the foundation of any critical analysis essay. It should clearly state your argument or interpretation of the text. You can also consult us on how to write a thesis statement . Meanwhile, here is a clear example:
  • Weak thesis statement: 'The author of this article is wrong.'
  • Strong thesis statement: 'In this article, the author's argument fails to consider the socio-economic factors that contributed to the issue, rendering their analysis incomplete.'
  • Use evidence to support your argument: Use evidence from the text to support your thesis statement, and make sure to explain how the evidence supports your argument. For example:
  • Weak argument: 'The author of this article is biased.'
  • Strong argument: 'The author's use of emotional language and selective evidence suggests a bias towards one particular viewpoint, as they fail to consider counterarguments and present a balanced analysis.'
  • Analyze the evidence : Analyze the evidence you use by considering its relevance, reliability, and sufficiency. For example:
  • Weak analysis: 'The author mentions statistics in their argument.'
  • Strong analysis: 'The author uses statistics to support their argument, but it is important to note that these statistics are outdated and do not take into account recent developments in the field.'
  • Use quotes and paraphrases effectively: Use quotes and paraphrases to support your argument and properly cite your sources. For example:
  • Weak use of quotes: 'The author said, 'This is important.'
  • Strong use of quotes: 'As the author points out, 'This issue is of utmost importance in shaping our understanding of the problem' (p. 25).'
  • Use clear and concise language: Use clear and concise language to make your argument easy to understand, and avoid jargon or overly complicated language. For example:
  • Weak language: 'The author's rhetorical devices obfuscate the issue.'
  • Strong language: 'The author's use of rhetorical devices such as metaphor and hyperbole obscures the key issues at play.'
  • Address counterarguments: Address potential counterarguments to your argument and explain why your interpretation is more convincing. For example:
  • Weak argument: 'The author is wrong because they did not consider X.'
  • Strong argument: 'While the author's analysis is thorough, it overlooks the role of X in shaping the issue. However, by considering this factor, a more nuanced understanding of the problem emerges.'
  • Consider the audience: Consider your audience during your writing process. Your language and tone should be appropriate for your audience and should reflect the level of knowledge they have about the topic. For example:
  • Weak language: 'As any knowledgeable reader can see, the author's argument is flawed.'
  • Strong language: 'Through a critical analysis of the author's argument, it becomes clear that there are gaps in their analysis that require further consideration.'

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Creating a Detailed Critical Analysis Essay Outline

Creating a detailed outline is essential when writing a critical analysis essay. It helps you organize your thoughts and arguments, ensuring your essay flows logically and coherently. Here is a detailed critical analysis outline from our dissertation writers :

I. Introduction

A. Background information about the text and its author

B. Brief summary of the text

C. Thesis statement that clearly states your argument

II. Analysis of the Text

A. Overview of the text's main themes and ideas

B. Examination of the author's writing style and techniques

C. Analysis of the text's structure and organization

III. Evaluation of the Text

A. Evaluation of the author's argument and evidence

B. Analysis of the author's use of language and rhetorical strategies

C. Assessment of the text's effectiveness and relevance to the topic

IV. Discussion of the Context

A. Exploration of the historical, cultural, and social context of the text

B. Examination of the text's influence on its audience and society

C. Analysis of the text's significance and relevance to the present day

V. Counter Arguments and Responses

A. Identification of potential counterarguments to your argument

B. Refutation of counterarguments and defense of your position

C. Acknowledgement of the limitations and weaknesses of your argument

VI. Conclusion

A. Recap of your argument and main points

B. Evaluation of the text's significance and relevance

C. Final thoughts and recommendations for further research or analysis.

This outline can be adjusted to fit the specific requirements of your essay. Still, it should give you a solid foundation for creating a detailed and well-organized critical analysis essay.

Useful Techniques Used in Literary Criticism

There are several techniques used in literary criticism to analyze and evaluate a work of literature. Here are some of the most common techniques:

How to Write a Critical Analysis

  • Close reading: This technique involves carefully analyzing a text to identify its literary devices, themes, and meanings.
  • Historical and cultural context: This technique involves examining the historical and cultural context of a work of literature to understand the social, political, and cultural influences that shaped it.
  • Structural analysis: This technique involves analyzing the structure of a text, including its plot, characters, and narrative techniques, to identify patterns and themes.
  • Formalism: This technique focuses on the literary elements of a text, such as its language, imagery, and symbolism, to analyze its meaning and significance.
  • Psychological analysis: This technique examines the psychological and emotional aspects of a text, including the motivations and desires of its characters, to understand the deeper meanings and themes.
  • Feminist and gender analysis: This technique focuses on the representation of gender and sexuality in a text, including how gender roles and stereotypes are reinforced or challenged.
  • Marxist and social analysis: This technique examines the social and economic structures portrayed in a text, including issues of class, power, and inequality.

By using these and other techniques, literary critics can offer insightful and nuanced analyses of works of literature, helping readers to understand and appreciate the complexity and richness of the texts.

Sample Critical Analysis Essay

Now that you know how to write a critical analysis, take a look at the critical analysis essay sample provided by our research paper writers and better understand this kind of paper!

Final Words

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How to write a critical analysis

How to write a critical analysis paper

Unlike the name implies a critical analysis does not necessarily mean that you are only exploring what is wrong with a piece of work. Instead, the purpose of this type of essay is to interact with and understand a text. Here’s what you need to know to create a well-written critical analysis essay.

What is a critical analysis?

A critical analysis examines and evaluates someone else’s work, such as a book, an essay, or an article. It requires two steps: a careful reading of the work and thoughtful analysis of the information presented in the work.

Although this may sound complicated, all you are doing in a critical essay is closely reading an author’s work and providing your opinion on how well the author accomplished their purpose.

Critical analyses are most frequently done in academic settings (such as a class assignment). Writing a critical analysis demonstrates that you are able to read a text and think deeply about it. However, critical thinking skills are vital outside of an educational context as well. You just don’t always have to demonstrate them in essay form.

How to outline and write a critical analysis essay

Writing a critical analysis essay involves two main chunks of work: reading the text you are going to write about and writing an analysis of that text. Both are equally important when writing a critical analysis essay.

Step one: Reading critically

The first step in writing a critical analysis is to carefully study the source you plan to analyze.

If you are writing for a class assignment, your professor may have already given you the topic to analyze in an article, short story, book, or other work. If so, you can focus your note-taking on that topic while reading.

Other times, you may have to develop your own topic to analyze within a piece of work. In this case, you should focus on a few key areas as you read:

  • What is the author’s intended purpose for the work?
  • What techniques and language does the author use to achieve this purpose?
  • How does the author support the thesis?
  • Who is the author writing for?
  • Is the author effective at achieving the intended purpose?

Once you have carefully examined the source material, then you are ready to begin planning your critical analysis essay.

Step two: Writing the critical analysis essay

Taking time to organize your ideas before you begin writing can shorten the amount of time that you spend working on your critical analysis essay. As an added bonus, the quality of your essay will likely be higher if you have a plan before writing.

Here’s a rough outline of what should be in your essay. Of course, if your instructor gives you a sample essay or outline, refer to the sample first.

  • Background Information

Critical Analysis

Here is some additional information on what needs to go into each section:

Background information

In the first paragraph of your essay, include background information on the material that you are critiquing. Include context that helps the reader understand the piece you are analyzing. Be sure to include the title of the piece, the author’s name, and information about when and where it was published.

“Success is counted sweetest” is a poem by Emily Dickinson published in 1864. Dickinson was not widely known as a poet during her lifetime, and this poem is one of the first published while she was alive.

After you have provided background information, state your thesis. The thesis should be your reaction to the work. It also lets your reader know what to expect from the rest of your essay. The points you make in the critical analysis should support the thesis.

Dickinson’s use of metaphor in the poem is unexpected but works well to convey the paradoxical theme that success is most valued by those who never experience success.

The next section should include a summary of the work that you are analyzing. Do not assume that the reader is familiar with the source material. Your summary should show that you understood the text, but it should not include the arguments that you will discuss later in the essay.

Dickinson introduces the theme of success in the first line of the poem. She begins by comparing success to nectar. Then, she uses the extended metaphor of a battle in order to demonstrate that the winner has less understanding of success than the loser.

The next paragraphs will contain your critical analysis. Use as many paragraphs as necessary to support your thesis.

Discuss the areas that you took notes on as you were reading. While a critical analysis should include your opinion, it needs to have evidence from the source material in order to be credible to readers. Be sure to use textual evidence to support your claims, and remember to explain your reasoning.

Dickinson’s comparison of success to nectar seems strange at first. However the first line “success is counted sweetest” brings to mind that this nectar could be bees searching for nectar to make honey. In this first stanza, Dickinson seems to imply that success requires work because bees are usually considered to be hard-working and industrious.

In the next two stanzas, Dickinson expands on the meaning of success. This time she uses the image of a victorious army and a dying man on the vanquished side. Now the idea of success is more than something you value because you have worked hard for it. Dickinson states that the dying man values success even more than the victors because he has given everything and still has not achieved success.

This last section is where you remind the readers of your thesis and make closing remarks to wrap up your essay. Avoid summarizing the main points of your critical analysis unless your essay is so long that readers might have forgotten parts of it.

In “Success is counted sweetest” Dickinson cleverly upends the reader’s usual thoughts about success through her unexpected use of metaphors. The poem may be short, but Dickinson conveys a serious theme in just a few carefully chosen words.

What type of language should be used in a critical analysis essay?

Because critical analysis papers are written in an academic setting, you should use formal language, which means:

  • No contractions
  • Avoid first-person pronouns (I, we, me)

Do not include phrases such as “in my opinion” or “I think”. In a critical analysis, the reader already assumes that the claims are your opinions.

Your instructor may have specific guidelines for the writing style to use. If the instructor assigns a style guide for the class, be sure to use the guidelines in the style manual in your writing.

Additional t ips for writing a critical analysis essay

To conclude this article, here are some additional tips for writing a critical analysis essay:

  • Give yourself plenty of time to read the source material. If you have time, read through the text once to get the gist and a second time to take notes.
  • Outlining your essay can help you save time. You don’t have to stick exactly to the outline though. You can change it as needed once you start writing.
  • Spend the bulk of your writing time working on your thesis and critical analysis. The introduction and conclusion are important, but these sections cannot make up for a weak thesis or critical analysis.
  • Give yourself time between your first draft and your second draft. A day or two away from your essay can make it easier to see what you need to improve.

Frequently Asked Questions about critical analyses

In the introduction of a critical analysis essay, you should give background information on the source that you are analyzing. Be sure to include the author’s name and the title of the work. Your thesis normally goes in the introduction as well.

A critical analysis has four main parts.

  • Introduction

The focus of a critical analysis should be on the work being analyzed rather than on you. This means that you should avoid using first person unless your instructor tells you to do otherwise. Most formal academic writing is written in third person.

How many paragraphs your critical analysis should have depends on the assignment and will most likely be determined by your instructor. However, in general, your critical analysis paper should have three to six paragraphs, unless otherwise stated.

Your critical analysis ends with your conclusion. You should restate the thesis and make closing remarks, but avoid summarizing the main points of your critical analysis unless your essay is so long that readers might have forgotten parts of it.

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What do you critically analyse?

In a critical analysis you do not express your own opinion or views on the topic. You need to develop your thesis, position or stance on the topic from the views and research of others . In academic writing you critically analyse other researchers’:

  • concepts, terms
  • viewpoints, arguments, positions
  • methodologies, approaches
  • research results and conclusions

This means weighing up the strength of the arguments or research support on the topic, and deciding who or what has the more or stronger weight of evidence or support.

Therefore, your thesis argues, with evidence, why a particular theory, concept, viewpoint, methodology, or research result(s) is/are stronger, more sound, or more advantageous than others.

What does ‘analysis’ mean?

A critical analysis means analysing or breaking down the parts of the literature and grouping these into themes, patterns or trends.

In an analysis you need to:

1. Identify and separate out the parts of the topic by grouping the various key theories, main concepts, the main arguments or ideas, and the key research results and conclusions on the topic into themes, patterns or trends of agreement , dispute and omission .

2. Discuss each of these parts by explaining:

i. the areas of agreement/consensus, or similarity

ii. the issues or controversies: in dispute or debate, areas of difference

ii. the omissions, gaps, or areas that are under-researched

3. Discuss the relationship between these parts

4. Examine how each contributes to the whole topic

5. Make conclusions about their significance or importance in the topic

What does ‘critical’ mean?

A critical analysis does not mean writing angry, rude or disrespectful comments, or  expressing your views in judgmental terms of black and white, good and bad, or right and wrong.

To be critical, or to critique, means to evaluate . Therefore, to write critically in an academic analysis means to:

  • judge the quality, significance or worth of the theories, concepts, viewpoints, methodologies, and research results
  • evaluate in a fair and balanced manner
  • avoid extreme or emotional language

strengths and weaknesses computer keys showing performance or an

  • strengths, advantages, benefits, gains, or improvements
  • disadvantages, weaknesses, shortcomings, limitations, or drawbacks

How to critically analyse a theory, model or framework

The evaluative words used most often to refer to theory, model or framework are a sound theory or a strong theory.

The table below summarizes the criteria for judging the strengths and weaknesses of a theory:

  • comprehensive
  • empirically supported
  • parsimonious

Evaluating a Theory, Model or Framework

The table below lists the criteria for the strengths and their corresponding weaknesses that are usually considered in a theory.

Critical analysis examples of theories

The following sentences are examples of the phrases used to explain strengths and weaknesses.

Smith’s (2005) theory appears up to date, practical and applicable across many divergent settings.

Brown’s (2010) theory, although parsimonious and logical, lacks a sufficient body of evidence to support its propositions and predictions

Little scientific evidence has been presented to support the premises of this theory.

One of the limitations with this theory is that it does not explain why…

A significant strength of this model is that it takes into account …

The propositions of this model appear unambiguous and logical.

A key problem with this framework is the conceptual inconsistency between ….

How to critically analyse a concept

The table below summarizes the criteria for judging the strengths and weaknesses of a concept:

  • key variables identified
  • clear and well-defined

Evaluating Concepts

Critical analysis examples of concepts

Many researchers have used the concept of control in different ways.

There is little consensus about what constitutes automaticity.

Putting forth a very general definition of motivation means that it is possible that any behaviour could be included.

The concept of global education lacks clarity, is imprecisely defined and is overly complex.

Some have questioned the usefulness of resilience as a concept because it has been used so often and in so many contexts.

Research suggests that the concept of preoperative fasting is an outdated clinical approach.

How to critically analyse arguments, viewpoints or ideas

The table below summarizes the criteria for judging the strengths and weaknesses of an argument, viewpoint or idea:

  • reasons support the argument
  • argument is substantiated by evidence
  • evidence for the argument is relevant
  • evidence for the argument is unbiased, sufficient and important
  • evidence is reputable

Evaluating Arguments, Views or Ideas

Critical analysis examples of arguments, viewpoints or ideas

The validity of this argument is questionable as there is insufficient evidence to support it.

Many writers have challenged Jones’ claim on the grounds that …….

This argument fails to draw on the evidence of others in the field.

This explanation is incomplete because it does not explain why…

The key problem with this explanation is that ……


The existing accounts fail to resolve the contradiction between …

However, there is an inconsistency with this argument. The inconsistency lies in…

Although this argument has been proposed by some, it lacks justification.

However, the body of evidence showing that… contradicts this argument.

How to critically analyse a methodology

The table below provides the criteria for judging the strengths and weaknesses of methodology.

An evaluation of a methodology usually involves a critical analysis of its main sections:

design; sampling (participants); measurement tools and materials; procedure

  • design tests the hypotheses or research questions
  • method valid and reliable
  • potential bias or measurement error, and confounding variables addressed
  • method allows results to be generalized
  • representative sampling of cohort and phenomena; sufficient response rate
  • valid and reliable measurement tools
  • valid and reliable procedure
  • method clear and detailed to allow replication

Evaluating a Methodology

Critical analysis examples of a methodology

The unrepresentativeness of the sample makes these results misleading.

The presence of unmeasured variables in this study limits the interpretation of the results.

Other, unmeasured confounding variables may be influencing this association.

The interpretation of the data requires caution because the effect of confounding variables was not taken into account.

The insufficient control of several response biases in this study means the results are likely to be unreliable.

Although this correlational study shows association between the variables, it does not establish a causal relationship.

Taken together, the methodological shortcomings of this study suggest the need for serious caution in the meaningful interpretation of the study’s results.

How to critically analyse research results and conclusions

The table below provides the criteria for judging the strengths and weaknesses of research results and conclusions:

  • appropriate choice and use of statistics
  • correct interpretation of results
  • all results explained
  • alternative explanations considered
  • significance of all results discussed
  • consistency of results with previous research discussed
  • results add to existing understanding or knowledge
  • limitations discussed
  • results clearly explained
  • conclusions consistent with results

Evaluating the Results and Conclusions

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Critical Analysis Diagram (text only to the right of the image)

Elements of the critical analysis, useful link: reading & writing critically.

  • Literature Review
  • Research Paper
  • Position Paper

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A. Introduction - The introduction moves from general to specific. This is where you are:

open with a short orientation (introduce the topic area(s) with a general, broad opening sentence (or two);

answer the question with a thesis statement; and 

provide a summary or 'road map' of your essay (keep it brief, but mention all the main ideas).

B. Body - The body of the essay consists of paragraphs. Each is a building block in the construction of your argument. The body is where you:

  • answer the question by developing a discussion.
  • show your knowledge and grasp of material you have read.
  • offer exposition and evidence to develop your argument.
  • use relevant examples and authoritative quotes.

If your question has more than one part, structure the body into section that deal with each part of the question.

3. Conclusion - The conclusion moves from specific to general. It should:

  • restate your answer to the question;
  • re-summarize the main points and;
  • include a final, broad statement (about possible implication, future directions for research, to qualify the conclusion, etc.)

However, NEVER introduce new information or idea in the conclusion - its purpose is to round off your essay by summing up.

Because each section of a critical analysis builds on the section before it and supports the section to follow, the structure of this genre is usually fairly standard.  The introduction and summary set the stage and the analysis communicates the critic's views which are then summarized and restated in the conclusion. 

-- Text taken from The University of New South Wales. "Essay Writing: the Basics." Retrieved 17 August, 2012 from http://www.lc.unsw.edu.au/onlib/essay3.html.

Writing critically requires an author to engage on an analytical level with a written work, whether it is an article, a book, or a portion of a book.  In other words, to write critically is to present and explain an idea that one has had about someone else’s written work.  A critical analysis may  include supportive references like you would find in a research paper, but will generally have a much stronger emphasis on its author’s interpretation than you would find in an objective research paper. 

Introduction – will include general information about the work being analyzed and a statement of the critical writer’s viewpoint or evaluation of the larger work. 

Summarization – the thematic/background information that a reader will need to understand the critic’s analysis and the key point from the original work that is being addressed. 

Critical Analysis – a review of the original author’s argument within the critical context of the analysis, with supporting evidence from the original text.

Conclusion – a restatement of the critic’s thesis and the key points of the analysis.

Although the page linked below focuses on writing critically, it also features information on reading critically, an invaluable skill in identfying different types of academic writing. 

  • Writing a Critical Analysis (Critique) A guide to reading and writing critically. Document prepared by the Academic Skills Center of the Shoreline Community College.
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  • Last Updated: Aug 15, 2023 4:05 PM
  • URL: https://bowiestate.libguides.com/academicwriting

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COMMENTS

  1. Critical Analysis - Types, Examples and Writing Guide

    When to Write Critical Analysis. You may want to write a critical analysis in the following situations: Academic Assignments: If you are a student, you may be assigned to write a critical analysis as a part of your coursework. This could include analyzing a piece of literature, a historical event, or a scientific paper.

  2. How to Write a Critical Analysis Essay - 2024 - MasterClass

    Below are nine organizational and writing tips to help you craft the best possible critical analysis essay. 1. Read Thoroughly and Carefully. You will need to accurately represent an author's point of view and techniques. Be sure you truly understand them before you begin the writing process. 2.

  3. Research Guides: Writing a Critical Analysis: Writing a ...

    A critical analysis is an argument about a particular piece of media. There are typically two parts: (1) identify and explain the argument the author is making, and (2), provide your own argument about that argument. Your instructor may have very specific requirements on how you are to write your critical analysis, so make sure you read your ...

  4. Quick Guide on How to Write a Critical Analysis: Topics and ...

    Step 2: Critical Analysis Writing. Here are some tips for critical analysis writing, with examples: Start with a strong thesis statement: A strong critical analysis thesis is the foundation of any critical analysis essay. It should clearly state your argument or interpretation of the text.

  5. How To Write a Critical Analysis in 5 Steps (With Tips) - Indeed

    5. Proofread and refine your work. Read through your critical analysis to ensure it sounds as professional as it should. Correct any spelling and grammatical errors and awkward phrasing when you see it. Reading your critical analysis out loud can help you identify more areas for improvement.

  6. How to write a critical analysis - BibGuru Blog

    Step two: Writing the critical analysis essay. Taking time to organize your ideas before you begin writing can shorten the amount of time that you spend working on your critical analysis essay. As an added bonus, the quality of your essay will likely be higher if you have a plan before writing.

  7. Writing Critical Analysis Papers1 - UW Departments Web Server

    argument. Since most of these paper assignments are short, it is important to be concise in all parts of your analysis. Writing an outline (and following it) is crucial to remain focused on your argument and avoid summary or irrelevant description. Following is a sample outline for a critical analysis paper: I. Introduction a. Identify the work ...

  8. How to write a successful critical analysis - Writing ...

    To be critical, or to critique, means to evaluate. Therefore, to write critically in an academic analysis means to: judge the quality, significance or worth of the theories, concepts, viewpoints, methodologies, and research results. evaluate in a fair and balanced manner. avoid extreme or emotional language. You evaluate or judge the quality ...

  9. Critical Analysis: The Often-Missing Step in Conducting ...

    The research process for conducting a critical analysis literature review has three phases ; (a) the deconstruction phase in which the individually reviewed studies are broken down into separate discreet data points or variables (e.g., breastfeeding duration, study design, sampling methods); (b) the analysis phase that includes both cross-case ...

  10. Critical Analysis - Academic Writing - LibGuides at Bowie ...

    Critical Analysis Diagram (text only to the right of the image) A. Introduction - The introduction moves from general to specific. This is where you are: provide a summary or 'road map' of your essay (keep it brief, but mention all the main ideas). B. Body - The body of the essay consists of paragraphs.