Students all over the world write dozens of critical analysis papers. Teachers definitely like this kind of work, because they allow them to see whether students have and can use critical thinking abilities. In most cases, they ask students to submit a critical analysis of somebody else's work.
Here are some recommendations to inform your academic choices:
First: Read the Original Source Thoroughly
- Consider the setting and context of the original source. When was it completed? Who are the target audience? You will see that a text intended for a scientific audience will incorporate different stylistic and lexical elements, as compared with a text written for a non-professional reader. Most likely, you will have to translate a professional text into an easier language, to make it readable and understandable for your own audience.
- Consider the broader context. When was the document written? What were the historic, socioeconomic, and political circumstances, in which it was written? Are there any other documents or sources written by the same author?
Second: Perform a Detailed Analysis of the Original Source
Now your main task is to explain the essence and central meaning of the original source in your own words. However, make sure that you have answers to the following questions:
- What is the purpose and intent?
- What is the central theme?
- What is the evidence that the author uses to support his or her claim?
Now you should also conduct a thorough rhetorical analysis. Answer the following questions:
- How is the text organized?
- How is it formatted?
- What is the style that the author uses?
- What is the genre of the story?
You will soon realize that the rhetorical elements used in different texts vary considerably, depending on their purpose, intended audience, and style. Without any doubts, a text written as a memoire or a personal diary will not be the same as the text written for a peer-reviewed scientific journal. Also, a story analyzed in a sociology course will be different from that analyzed during a history class. So, your task is to explore meticulously all aspects of the story you are given by the teacher.
Third: Structure Your Analysis Consistently
- Begin with a summary – your readers should be aware of what is written in the text and what meanings it carries.
- Proceed with the analysis – you should analyze how the text is formatted, presented, and how its main idea is communicated to the reader. Does it suit the purpose and intent of the original paper?
- Finally, evaluate the source text – you must say if the author has been successful in achieving the purpose and intent of the source paper. For example, if the text was intended for a scientific reader, does it contain enough terms and follow a scientific style? Do you see any logical flaws or inconsistencies that could make the text less effective for the target audience?
Fourth: List the Key Points to Be Included in Your Analysis
As you are working on the key points to be considered in your paper, remember the following:
- Define it – what is the point you are going to discuss in your work?
- Analyze: how meaningful and significant is it for the entire paper?
- Demonstrate: Use sufficient evidence to prove your point.
- Evaluate: Be critical analyzing the consistency and credibility of the original argument.
- Justify: Justify the importance of the things you are critiquing in your paper. See if you can prove the relevance of each point in the context of your discussion.
Do not forget:
- If you decide to use direct quotations, use quotation marks and include a page number.
- You are the one who evaluates the text. The author's point should not influence your own. Put your emotions or preferences aside, and be as objective as you can. Always include evidence from the text to prove your point.
- Your paper must have an introduction and a conclusion. In your concluding paragraph, you will have to summarize and review all points and revisit their efficiency and relevance in your argument.
- Make sure that you also have a page of References or Works Cited list at the end of your written analysis.
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