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How to Write a Critical Essay

How to Write a Critical Essay (Start-End)|Outline & Structure

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If you want to know how to write a critical essay there’s one thing you need to know:

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It’s a simple structure that has helped many students across the word write outstanding critical essays.

And in today’s guide we are going to show you the exact step-by-step on how to write a critical essay from start to the end. However, in the end if you have problems to write a good critical essay, do not get stuck ! buy English essays here!

Go through this experts’ steps on how to write a critical essay, at the end you will be able to understand the main text, conduct research and write your own good critical essay.

Lets break it down;

  • What is a Critical Essay?
  • Features of a Critical Essay
  • How To Write a Critical Essay- steps
  • Pro Tips About Writing a Critical Essay
  • The Critical Essay Outline 

What is a Critical Essay?

A critical essay is an analysis and evaluation of a document, either a book, a movie, an article, or even a piece of art while responding to its central themes and offering a good evaluation of how the themes are conveyed by the author. A writer can support his or her claims with evidence from other secondary sources of information. The word ‘critical’ in this type of essay doesn’t necessarily mean judging the content or quality of the document you are analyzing, critical essays are simply discerning and analytical.

 Features of a Critical Essay

Critical essays can be written on a wide range of textual subjects; poems, video games, films, and more. However, despite the subject matter under discussion, any critical essay has the following attributes.

The Central Claim

Your critical essay ought to have a central claim about a text. This is usually written in the thesis statement and supported by strong evidence all through paragraphs. In some critical essays, you can equally bolster the argument by offering potential counterarguments, then provide strong evidence that clears the counterargument.

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The Evidence

When you make a central claim in a critical essay, your claim must be backed up with proof. The evidence in a critical essay can come from textual support. These can be dialogues or descriptions within the document that supports the argument. The evidence in critical essays can also come from secondary sources of information which give weight to your argument.

The conclusion

After presenting your claims and arguing them out with sufficient evidence, you shall give your critical essay closure by offering a succinct conclusion. The conclusion is a convincing summary of the essay’s argument offering important insights from the body of work being criticized.

  1. To give a summary of the above points, your essay is critical if it does the following;
  2. Offers a thesis about the central themes in the document being criticized.
  3. Talks about what an author or an artist wanted to convey in the themes
  4. Touches on the techniques used by the artist or author to bring out the themes

How To Write a Critical Essay- Steps

Steps a Writer follows in writing a critical essay

Analysis in a critical analysis involves breaking down and studying the document whereas evaluation on the other hand involves looking at the strengths and weaknesses of the document

Here are the steps one takes to write a critical essay;

  • How to Start Writing a Critical Essay: Study the document

It is impossible to write a great critical essay if you don’t understand the subject matter you are evaluating. If you are writing an essay about a film or a book or a video, you need to have a thorough understanding of it. And thus the first thing to do as a writer shall be to critically study the particular document, if it is a movie, you shall have to watch it three or four times. If it is a book, you shall have to read it thoroughly. And while at it, it is important to take notes; take notes of the instruments used to pass a particular message or theme within that document. You can check the stylistic devices, the grammar used, and the choice of words. You can think of the questions that cross your mind when you read the book or watch a particular film or study the work of art under discussion and write down those questions.

  • Secondly: Organizing your thoughts

The second step in writing this type of essay is organizing your thoughts. All you have to do at this point is to find out the core topic under discussion and the problem within that document. What is the central claim and on top of that, what is some of the evidence that the artist or author uses to support that claim? When you understand those, it shall be easy to compare your subject matter with similar bodies of work that correspond with that.

At this step, you can brainstorm what you think about the themes, and also how you feel about the topic. You can think of related ideas that arise when you think about the themes and write them down on paper. Once you have your ideas written down, start looking for gaps and points that need further research. To understand the original document better, you should find secondary sources of information to help you have better knowledge of what you are criticizing.

  •  Thirdly: State a Thesis

This is a critical step in your critical essay writing because this is where you take a stand. You shall write a thesis that has two parts namely;

  1. A claim 
  2. The details supporting it.

You do this by looking at the information you have gathered from the particular document and secondary sources; based on those, you can come up with a strong thesis that will guide the rest of your writing.

The thesis statement simply does the following;

  • Assert your claim
  • Offers a preview of the structure of your essay
  • And finally make a unique argument that can be reasoned out.

Fourth: Write Critical Essay Outline

You can’t write the essay without outlining it, you will have to structure your points into paragraphs so that when you start writing, the ideas flow seamlessly. At this point of your writing, you need to have your arguments and the evidence you need to evaluate your essays. The evidence ought to be supporting the thesis statement.

Five: Critical Essay Draft

Once you have an outline, it is time to get into the writing part. You can start with a summary of the work and then respond to its main claims. Make analysis and evaluation of the work with evidence. You can write a precise conclusion that is full of piercing insights.

This is academic writing so stay formal and objective while using the right language. You shall also have to reference your work since you use secondary sources for evidence. Transition well between paragraphs to help your readers follow your line of thinking.

Six: Editing and Improvement of a Critical Essay

This is the step where you check your grammar and factual accuracy in the essay. You can read it two or three times to pick out all the errors. You can have a second eye look at it to give you feedback on its readability and engagement level. You can then make the necessary revisions until your work looks neat and presentable.

Pro Tips About Writing a Critical Essay

To write a captivating critical essay, you can have the following at the back of your mind.  All a critical essay does is assess your level of thinking. It is simply put an analysis-and argument-building procedure. And to craft a well thought out critical essay, do the following;

  • Be a smart reader or a deep analyst of documents’; when you study the subject matter, get into the specific details. The artist’s or author’s claims, the controversial aspects of it, and the strengths and weaknesses presented in the document.
  • Another effective strategy would be to take a look at some critical essays; it shall be good to have something to benchmark on during your writing. This doesn’t mean you copy other people’s work but finding an example of a critical essay will guide you on the structure to follow while writing.
  • The third tip that can help you develop a great critical essay would be to write the essay in advance as opposed to rushing at the last minute. When you start to write early, it gives you a good time to collect enough evidence, introduce a thesis, and write and edit well. The earlier the better.
  • The fourth tip is to remember to introduce the artist or the author whose work you are evaluating in the essay.
  • The fifth tip is to avoid opinions and instead focus on facts supported by evidence from credible sources of information. You can put in quotes from academic sources, paraphrases, and references from other sources of information within the essay. This helps validate your arguments.
  • The sixth and most important tip that shall guide while writing a critical essay is to avoid the tendency to summarize the document instead of interpreting and evaluating. Resist the urge to retell the plot.

The Critical Essay Outline 

Your outline for the Essay shall look like this;

How to write critical Essay Introduction

This shall capture the following;

  • Title of the document and Author/Artist
  • The publication information
  • The topic and purpose statement
  • Your thesis statement

The Body of Your essay;

This shall touch a little on the summary of the document, book or film you are writing.

The interpretation and evaluation of the document; discuss style and organization, analysis of the topic, and an examination of the document’s effectiveness in communicating with its audience

How to Write Critical Essay Conclusion

In conclusion, critical essays should always provide a fair and balanced analysis of the issue at hand. Your essay should not only summarize the main points but also offer your own point of view. Be sure to restate your thesis statement and leave your reader with something to think about. How do you feel about the issue now that you’ve read all sides? Is there anything else you would like to add?

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