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A COMPACT GUIDE TO WRITING CRITICAL ESSAYS

Essay writing is an essential tenet of English assignments. Students have to face many essays in their assignments. The critical essay is one genre among them. The obvious question which comes to mind after reading this is “What is a critical essay?” A critical essay primarily involves an analysis of a book, a text, an article, painting, a movie, etc. Critical essays are mainly concerned with interpreting a text or explaining and analyzing it in a broader concept. The definitive features which every critical essay should include are an argumentative thesis on the text and enough textual pieces of evidence to support the interpretation of the text.  Assignments4u is the ideal platform to take an accomplished essay as this website is the best college essay writing service provider. This blog will also provide you with a comprehensive guideline on writing a critical essay.

HOW TO WRITE A CRITICAL ESSAY?

If you have been given an assignment on the critical essay and are practically lost on how to do it, then scroll down to know how to write a critical essay.

Preparing to write the essay 

  • Understand the assignment– Duh! Without understanding the assignment you obviously cannot write it. As soon as your teacher assigns you the assignment, read the guidelines correctly and highlight anything which you cannot comprehend. Then make sure to clear your doubts. Clarify any instruction that you do not understand.
  • Perform a critical reading of your sources– Unless you are familiar with your original text, you can never write a successful critical essay. Know your text inside out. Reread and reanalyze it. If it’s a movie or a painting on which you want to write a critical essay, then watch the movie repeatedly and analyze the painting repeatedly through various angles. It will help you to understand your text or source, better and you will be better prepared to attempt your essay.
  • Take notes while reading your text– It can help you to remember important aspects of the sources and can automatically induce the critical state of thinking in your mind. Formulate some important questions while you read your text and attempt in answering those when you prepare your notes. Avoid just summarizing the plot. Instead formulate questions that may guide your paper like:
  • What is the theme of the text?
  • What are the main ideas put forward through the text?
  • What is the controversial point in the text?
  • What is the real purpose of the text?
  • Does it acquire the purpose? If so, how? If not, why not?
  • Review the notes– Reviewing your notes can help you identify patterns and problems associated with your text. You can then attempt to find a solution to the problems which have emerged. The solution to a problem may provide you with a focus at first. But you do not yet, need to have a solid argument about your text. This process will merely induce the thinking faculty at work, in your mind. As you keep on thinking, the focus of your essay will become more visible and a thesis for your critical analysis essay will finally emerge.

Conducting a research 

Now when you have done the base work for attempting your piece, it is time to do a thorough research on the text that you have chosen. Follow the steps mentioned below to conduct the research successfully:

Find appropriate secondary sources– If you need to use sources for your critical essay, you need to do some extensive research. Ask your instructor whether you have questions about the type of sources appropriate for this assignment. Books, articles, magazines, newspapers, secure and trustworthy websites can be some significant sources which you might consider using.

  • Determine your sources’ credibility by evaluating them– Use only reliable sources in your essay or else you risk damaging your credibility as the writer. So there are several things that you need to keep in mind while determining the credibility of your sources:
  • Choose a source which has the credentials of the author which indicates why he/she is authorized to give his/her opinion on the subject of discussion. For example, articles on medical science will hold more credibility if it is furnished by a doctor or a medical expert. Having no credentials may establish the fact that the source is not trustworthy.
  • Check whether there are ample of citations. Citations highlights that the work is well-researched and shows the author’s insight of knowledge on the particular subject. Few or no citations may hint at the falsity of the source.
  • Check whether there is a bias regarding a particular side. If the author completely disregards the opposing points which are valid and his bias tone is visible throughout the text, then that may not be a very good source. However, in the case of literary criticism, there tends to be a strong preference for one side because literature is of course subjective.
  • Checking the publication date is also important especially for scientific subjects since science and technology get updated regularly. Check the publication date for scientific articles since recent discoveries might have made the old researches irrelevant.
  • Crosscheck the trustworthiness of this source with that of other relevant, trustworthy sources. If the information provided here does not match with that of the reliable sources, then this source might not be the best for your essay.
  • Read your research– After you have finished gathering your sources, read them and clarify your doubts just like you did with your primary source. Read the sources multiple times to clarify any doubts.
  • Take notes– Just as you did with your previous source, highlight the important passages which might be relevant for your essay so that you may find them easily. If need be there, jot down the important points. If you have directly quoted anything from the sources, clearly indicate that by putting it in quotations and citing the author’s name, article or book title, and the page number. Do not simply quote anything because it sounds important. Highlight phrases that support or oppose your arguments because that will help you to achieve a critical point of view for your essay.

Writing the essay

Finally, the time has arrived for you to start writing the essay. Since this is the most important step, follow the guidelines mentioned below to achieve the desired result.

  • Develop the thesis– Your thesis statement should focus on the central theme of the paper and give a proper argument. Using a multi-sentence thesis statement can make your argument attractive. The first line can state the general idea and the second can state the focus of the essay.
  • Make sure that your thesis provides sufficient details.
  • The proper position of a thesis statement is always at the end of the first paragraph.
  • Provide a multi-sentence thesis statement. While doing this do not present facts that are evident. Instead, state an argument which you may later develop with ample shreds of evidence.
  • Develop an outline– Writing an outline is always useful before drafting your essay since it helps you organize the essay correctly. Your outline can be as detailed or concise as you want. But you should keep in mind that the more detailed your outline is, the more ready-made material you will have to put into your paper. The outline can be formally or informally structured according to your needs.
  • Use engaging sentences, in the beginning, to hook the readers– Try to hook the readers to your essay at the start. Your introduction should immediately state the main idea and start discussing the topic. It should be the preview to your essay. Try opening with an interesting fact, an anecdote or an attention-grabbing relevant content. Some other unusual methods to open your essay are an intriguing question about your topic, some valuable and relevant statistics, etc.
  • Provide background information– Know what your readers are supposed to know and provide that information to them in the introduction itself to avoid confusion later on. This information varies depending on the type of text that you are asked to write about.
  • Discuss significant aspects of your texts in the body paragraphs– Each body paragraph must focus on a single important aspect of your text. For each body paragraph follows the pattern mentioned:
  • Give a claim at the beginning of the paragraph.
  • Support the claim with at least one example from the primary source and at least one from the secondary source.
  • Develop the conclusion– The conclusion should stress on your arguments that you have attempted to establish throughout your essay. Reflect on your essay properly before constructing your conclusion. You might end your essay in the following manner:
  • Summarize and review the central ideas of the text.
  • Explain the impact of the topic on the readers.
  • Explain how the narrow issue caters to a broader theme.
  • Call the reader to action or to explore the topic further.
  • Present new questions that emerged from your essay.

While constructing a conclusion, always keep in mind not to repeat the same points mentioned earlier. Instead, try connecting all the mentioned points into a single argument.

  • Revising the essay

The final step, of course, is to revise that you have written. Follow the steps mentioned below to revise correctly:

  • Set aside your paper for some time before revising– Allow your brain to take some rest before revising. It will help you gain a new and fresh perspective.
  • Consider some basic questions during revision– Consider making some fundamental questions in your mind during revision to understand the reader’s perspective. For example:
  • What is the main point? How did you clarify it?
  • Who is the audience? Have you considered and fulfilled their expectations and needs?
  • What is your purpose and have you accomplished it?
  • How competent is your evidence?
  • Does every part of your paper relate to your thesis? How can you elaborate those connections?
  • Is your language clear and lucid?
  • Are your grammar, punctuation, and rhetoric proper?
  • What might be the opposing views on your essay? How can you address them?
  • Proofread a printed version of the final draft– Once you are done with the nitty-gritty of revising, proof read your essay’s final draft for the last time. Then submit it to your instructor.

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TYPES OF CRITICISMS TO OFFER IN YOUR ESSAY

There are many errors that you might spot on the original text that you want to critique. You might form your critique on the following errors:

  • Logical fallacies.
  • The incorrect scope of the author’s claim.
  • Unjustified assumptions.
  • Internal contradictions.
  • Undesirable implications and their consequences.

TYPES OF CRITICISMS TO OFFER IN YOUR ESSAY

TIPS TO CONSTRUCT AN EXCELLENT CRITICAL ESSAY

In general, a good critical essay should necessarily contain the following points to have the proper and desired structure and achieve the desired result:

  • Describe and explain your subject in a neutral manner before you start the critique. It shows that you understand the topic and its pros and cons on which you want to form the critique.
  • Be fair and modest while citing your arguments. Rather than showing someone else’s view as wrong, strive to prove your opinion as correct.
  • Form a well-structured essay. Teachers love a well-structured essay, and it is like an easy roadmap for your essay
  • Stick two or maximum three arguments rather than being the jack of all trades.
  • Be clear in stating your arguments. Rather than beating around the bush, state your facts clearly and provide clear language so that it does not become confusing. Do not sound like an author.
  • Cite the sources carefully after proper scrutiny, as already mentioned above.
  • Include notes from your class. It provides a good impression upon your professor and shows that you have been listening in the class.
  • Follow instructions correctly. The most common way to commit mistakes is when you miss out or fail to follow the guidelines properly as set down by your instructor.

If you take online assignment from assignments4u, their assignment helpers and essay writers are experienced to submit the assignments much earlier from the deadline. Writing a critical essay becomes quite easy if you follow the guidelines mentioned above.


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