Essay Writing 101: How to Write a Good Critical Analysis Essay

Essay Writing 101: How to Write a Good Critical Analysis Essay


Critical analysis essay encompasses reading and evaluating a text critically, and giving your view on the author’s argument. Two steps are crucial for you to put together this kind of an essay. Firstly, you must read critically and secondly, write critically. However, this can be a daunting task, especially if you are a beginner in the world of literature analysis. Thus, you must figure out how to write a good critical analysis essay before long since critical thinking and writing are common assignments in college.

In this handout, you will find the following sections:

  • Steps to follow in critical analysis
  • Elements of a good critical analysis essay
  • Selected examples
  • What to avoid in critical analysis

Read on and equip yourself with lifetime knowledge to turn around your studies. As you will see, we have used practical examples to ensure that you get every point with clarity. Are you ready? Let us get started…

Golden Rules of How to Write a Good Critical Analysis Essay without Burning Out

As you make your first step into critical writing, always remember that analytical and critical skills are important are essential when breaking down issues into their component elements to allow a close examination of their significance before synthesis.

Ideally, the following are the objectives of any critical essay:

Proving a point – By the time you do your conclusion, you must have made your point. You achieve this by conducting meticulous research in order to challenge the work of another person.

Interpreting information – Not everyone who reads that book or watches that movie understands what the author is communicating.  Through critical analysis, you should help your audience to understand the theme and arguments in the piece of work in your hands.

Resolving problems – As you criticize someone’s work, aim at providing solutions to an existing problem. What does the reader gain by agreeing with your critical point of view?

Because of this heavy task, you must have these guidelines on how to write a good critical analysis essay to take you through every step of your writing.

Understanding the structure of a good critical analysis essay

In terms of structure, a critical essay is no different from normal essay you have written before. Nevertheless, the content, style and tone of your critical analysis create a major difference with other general essays. You will notice this structural variation when you look at an example in a short while.

For now, let us see what makes a good critical analysis essay:

An Appealing Introduction

Every written work must have an intro. The purpose of your introduction in critical writing is to orient the writer so that you move together from your first word on that blank page to when you sign out.

Your introduction should identify the title, author and the type of text your are evaluating. Another important element of the intro is your thesis statement. Clearly state your main idea, which you intend to defend using well-researched evidence throughout the paper.

Critical Summary

While a critical analysis is not a summary of the author’s work or a report of the same, the readers wants to get details of what you are analyzing to understand your argument and conclusions. Refresh their memory with a summary of the work you are analyzing.

As you think about how to write a good critical analysis essay, do not make any assumptions about the reader’s mastery of the text. Spending part of your time reminding the audience about the argument and the symbols in the piece of work adds a lot of value to your product.

Make it brief so that you spend most of your time analyzing the text. At this point of your essay, resist the temptation of beginning to analyze the work. Aim at helping the reader to be with on the same page and move together throughout the analysis.


This section includes the body paragraphs of your critical analysis essay. It is always the most detailed and longest part of your essay because you will spend much of your time proving your thesis statement.

Evaluate and analyze the piece of work. Flesh out the evidence from the text to convince your audience that you understand what you are doing besides being a thinker.


This is the time to make a last impression, which wraps up your argument and convinces the reader that it was worthwhile spending time on your analysis. As you conclude, summarize the main point of your analysis.

The four elements above form the basis of how to write a good critical analysis essay. Refer to the section anytime you are working on your critical analysis assignment to ensure that you are always on the right path like a professional. Use the following example to reflect on the sections we have covered so far.

Example #1: Critical Analysis Essay Outline

  1. Background Information
  2. Bibliographical details
  3. Title
  4. Author
  5. Publication
  6. Your thesis statement
  7. Summary of the Work

III. Analysis of the Work

  1. Statement of the topic
  2. Evaluate the organization of the text
  3. Evaluating the author’s style
  4. Analyze the effectiveness of the work
  5. Evaluate treatment of the topic
  6. Evaluate how the author appeals to audience
  7. Conclusion

                Close the discussion

                Call for action

                Restate thesis

This example summarizes every element to include in your essay. While it is an excellent sample, we always recommend that you consult with your tutor to find out if you need to revise it to match the needs of your assignment. You may view the sample by visiting HERE.

More tips on how to write a good critical analysis essay

This section will give you simplified steps to follow when drafting your critical analysis essay. Read keenly and turn around your attitude towards critical analysis.

Step 1: Any professor will tell you that the first rule of how to write a good critical analysis essay is to understand the instructions. Read the guidelines of your assignment and see to it that you understand it holistically. Underline any sections that appear unclear. Seek clarification from your lecturer before you embark on the writing process.

Step 2: Read the text critically. Before you think of analyzing that book, article, movie or painting, you must familiarize yourself with the work.

Read and reread the text to get its inner and outward meaning. If you are analyzing a movie, watch it several time or view that painting from all possible angles.

Step 3: Take notes. A good critical reader and thinker, does not just read a text. Taking notes does two important things. First, notes will help you recall important aspects of the text. Secondly, note taking sparks your critical thinking before you start your draft.

Step 4: Review your notes. Do this to identify any problems or patterns.

After this step, you are ready to start your research. Before that, examine the following sample papers.

Example #2: Good Critical Analysis Essays

  • Jacobs Chicken
  • Reaction Paper: Is Corporal Punishment Harmful?
  • The Nokia Microsoft Alliance in the Global Smartphone Industry
  • The Paradox of Christianity and Slavery

With these examples, you should be able to work out how to write a good critical analysis essay without any complications.

How to conduct a critical analysis research without straining

Remember your argument will only be convincing if you have enough evidence from reliable sources. Here is a guide of how to do it:

Get appropriate sources. Do thorough research to get good sources. Consult from your tutor the type of sources to use, i.e. books or journals.

Evaluate your sources. Use credible sources to win your readers’ trust. Use the library database to evaluate your sources.

Read your research. Take time and go through your sources using critical approaches we discussed in earlier sections.

Take notes. Highlight important sections of your material.

After these steps, you should be able to draft your introduction, summary, criticism and conclusion, following the guidelines we discussed earlier.

Hoping that you have now mastered how to write a good critical analysis essay, here is the final example to examine:

Example #3: More Critical Analysis Essays

  • The Paradox of Christianity and Slavery
  • How Race and Gender Help in Peace-building Strategies

With this manual, you have the key to critical thinking and critical writing, hit the road and always feel free to refer to these golden rules… adios.

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