How to Write a Critical Analysis

How to Write a Critical Analysis

Knowing how to write a critical analysis essay is important for the delivery of outstanding academic papers. Contrary to what most students often think, writing a critical analysis paper can be quite easy and fun when you follow the recommended guidelines and procedures. Read on for comprehensive tips on how to easily go about crafting a good critical analysis paper.

A critical analysis essay is not quite different from other kinds of academic papers. However, the paper specifically requires you to make an argument about a given piece of work, for example, a book, film, essay among others. Your argument should also give readers an explanation of the author’s claim or purpose for creating the piece of work. In order to deliver a logical argument that effectively captures all these elements, you should know how to write a critical analysis paper.

Writing academic essay papers usually take a similar format, therefore, mastering the art of how to write a critical analysis essay will enable you to also craft good papers for other assignments. Besides, it is also another way of enhancing your oral communications skills.

Guidelines on how to write a critical analysis paper

The aim of writing a critical analysis paper is to test your analytical, argumentative, creative and writing skills. Therefore, it should be noted that a critical analysis essay does not simply require a summary of the given piece of work, instead, a comprehensive evaluation of the author’s arguments in your view.

The following are more guidelines on how to write a critical analysis paper

Carefully study the piece of work

The first step towards writing a critical analysis paper is studying the given work. In the case of a book, make sure that you properly read and understand the message relayed therein. For movies or films, make sure that you watch and get the concept communicated in the piece.

While reading, try to look into some of the outstanding elements from the given piece of work and note them down. This will help you in understanding the work much better, including how the author has tried to build his or her claim.

Research unfamiliar materials

From the work to be analyzed, there may be some terms, phrases and other information that you are not conversant with. Do not simply ignore them and move on, but do some research to find out their meanings.

You can use the dictionary and other sources to get proper definition of terms that you are not familiar with. This is important since it will help you to make a proper evaluation of the work.

Identify the appeals used in the work

After studying the work and doing research on difficult terms, you should try to re-phrase the entire piece in your own words. This will enable you to evaluate whether you have understood the concept or not.

In order to make your work easier, try to spot the striking elements from the work like, pathos, ethos and logos.

Pathos refer to an attempt by the author to appeal to the emotions of readers or audience. Logos on the other hand, refers to the use of logic and reason in order to alter the opinions or perspectives of the audience.

Ethos is an appeal to credibility, whereby the author tries to convince an audience based on his professionalism, experience or merit.

Identifying the appeals used by the author will enable you to effectively understand his or her claim and how it has been presented in the given work. In this way, formulating your own argument will also be quite easy.

Create a thesis

In academic writing, every paper should always have a thesis, which describes your main point or argument. With a proper understanding of the work, you can now decide on the angle that your analysis will take. The chosen perspective will be your main claim or thesis.

Your thesis can be for or against the arguments of the author, provided that there is enough evidence from the work to support that claim.

When creating a thesis, it should also be noted that a well-balanced analysis would be also appropriate. You can choose to develop a thesis that dwells either on the negative, positive or both sides of the author’s argument in the work.

Develop an outline        

In order to have a better plan for the critical analysis, always create an outline to highlight your key points. An outline should reflect the main points to be included in the introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion of the analysis. An outline will help in organizing your points well in advance for an easy time during the writing process.

Procedures on how to write a critical analysis essay

Writing a critical analysis essay requires that you start by giving a short and captivating introduction, comprehensive body paragraphs and a strong conclusion. The following procedures will direct you on how to write a critical analysis essay.


A good introduction should give both bibliographical information and other related material to help readers understand the work to be analyzed. Tell the audience about the work’s title, category, author and field or genre. Besides, you should also include information about the context of the work and purpose of the author.

The final part of the introduction should narrow down the opening statements to clearly present your thesis or main argument. Try to make the thesis quite short and simple so readers do not have to struggle finding your point.

Body paragraphs

  • Summary of the work

The body paragraphs should start by giving a summary of the key points mentioned by the author in the original work. On this part, you can give a few examples but make them very short. Besides, you can also talk about the organization of the text or various elements in the given piece of work. The summary should only put the author’s argument into context, without taking too much space.

  • Your argument

The bulk of the body paragraphs should explain your key claims or critique about the work. Dedicate a paragraph for every point that you will discuss to analyze the work. To make the argument compelling, always give examples or evidence from the piece of work to support your claims in every paragraph. The key points or ideas for each paragraph should connect to the thesis.

Your paragraphs should be properly be linked to ensure smooth flow of ideas across the entire essay.


The essay should end with your final judgment on the work that has been under analysis. This should be done by clearly restating the thesis and then giving an overall opinion. You can also use the last paragraph to present a brief recommendation of how improvements could be made on the work.

Examples of critical analysis essay papers

To find out more on how to write a critical analysis paper, it is advisable that you also read sample critical analysis essay papers. The following are professionally written examples that you can refer to for motivation in writing.

Example 1

Sample Literary Critical Analysis of ‘’The Road Not Taken’’

‘’In the poetry genre, there are many well-known works that society have come to love. Of those many, ‘’The Road Not Taken,’’ by Robert Frost, is one of the most famous. As a deep and eloquent allegory for the struggle of choice in everyday life, Frost is stating that choices about one’s future are challenging to make, and predictions toward an outcome are often mysterious.

Frost introduces two roads diverging into the woods, alluding to the point in life when a choice of many has to be made. He states his yearning to know the outcome of both roads and to have the opportunity to learn all possible outcomes…’’Continue reading the sample analysis here.

Example 2

A Critical Review of ‘’Chasing the Hottest IT: Effects of Information Technology Fashion on Organizations’’

‘’In his article, ‘’Chasing the hottest IT: Effects of Information Technology Fashion on Organizations,’’ Paul Wang seems to examine the effects that IT fashion has on companies. He collected data from 109 Fortune 500 companies, and this helped him to establish that the firms that were reputable for implementation of IT fashions in the media did not particularly experience higher performance, especially in the short term…’’ Read the rest of the article analysis on this link.

Example 3

Critical Analysis of, ‘’A Communication Perspective on Cohabitation and Contemporary Dating Relationships’’ by Jennifer S. Priem and Catherine A. Surra.

‘’The family is an important aspect of society, an essential social factor that is defined by the way in which family members relate to one another, beginning from the relationships and marriage. There has been tremendous progress in the creation of better communication in the family unit. According to studies, the communication patterns impact each other from one generation to another (Vangelisti, 2004)…’’ Click here to read the other parts of the sample article analysis.

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