How to Write a Critique Paper

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Originally published Apr 21, 2021, updated Apr 29, 2021
How to Write a Critique Paper

A critique paper is a type of text evaluating one or more pieces of work. Some of you may mistake it for no more than a summary of a book or article in question. Correct yourself before you have to craft one, as it is the same as the term implies. Yes, a critical overview of all aspects of a given text. A critique essay may involve assessing the strength of an argument, evaluating the methods employed, and checking the alignment between objectives and results of a study.

What Is a Critique?

In academic writing, critiquing makes up a genre that briefly summarizes and critically evaluates a concept or work. It can be used in many different cases. These include:

  • Creative writing – exhibits, novels, poetry, film, images;
  • Research – journal articles, monographs, theories, systematic reviews;
  • Media – feature articles, news reports.

Critique is similar to an essay having three structural parts: an introduction, main body, and conclusion. Its method of writing is formal, defining a clear structure. The introductory and conclusion part is easy to understand. However, the main body includes a summary and a thorough evaluation of the topic. The reason behind such evaluation is to highlight the importance and usefulness of the work performed.

Why Do We Write Critiques?

It helps develop:

  • Your knowledge base related to a specific subject area or related fields;
  • An understanding of the purpose behind a work, development of argument, intended audience, creative style or structure of evidence;
  • An insight into the strengths and weaknesses of a particular work.

How to Get Started?

Before starting the writing process, you need to understand the literary piece on hand clearly. Your initial steps should be to read the work quite thoroughly. Also, do not forget to take notes on the subject, which will help you back up your arguments later.

For writing an effective critical analysis, developing a stance on the main argument is a must. Create a correlation between the work and a broader context or issues. This will assist you in drawing relevant and useful critiques.

The methods and formatting of the structure of a critique can vary. Always check with your lecturer or mentor to find out the route you have to follow. Following is a template that breaks down a general critique with the main features showcased as an example.

Introduction

Usually, an introduction is less than ten percent of the total word count. You have to include the following:

  • The name of the work you will be reviewing, along with the creation date and author's name;
  • The purpose or central argument of the work;
  • The context of the work. This could be political, social, or economic;
  • The relationship between the author's life experience and their academic creation;
  • A concluding statement that hints at your stance. It should indicate whether it is a negative, positive or mixed evaluation.

Thesis Statement

The last part of the introduction has to be a thesis statement. It should be the main idea behind your critique. It has to sum up the key points of your work. This will be leading the body paragraphs. Ensure that the paragraphs that will follow back up this statement. It should be structurally sound and specific in a way that the audience gets the gist of your critique. A good piece of advice is to get this checked by your instructor before moving on to your paper.

Summary

Summarise your main points briefly and describe the creator's techniques, media, styles, symbols, and characters objectively. It should not be the center of your critique and has to be shorter than the critical evaluation.

Experts recommend you include a concise paragraph answering the questions being addressed, interventions, study participants, comparisons, study design, and outcomes. It would help if you did not get bogged down by this.

Critical Evaluation

This part is a detailed and systematic assessment of all the elements of the work. It is your job to evaluate how well the writer has done at achieving the purpose through the content. For instance, assess the structure of the plot, setting, and characterization of a novel.

An art form assessment like a painting would consider brush strokes, composition, light, and color. A research article would talk about the subject selection, data analysis, experiment design, and conclusions.

A critical evaluation should identify the strengths and the weaknesses by deconstructing the work. By examining it, you should evaluate its success in terms of how well it meets its purpose. These body paragraphs have to be written in your own words.

A few sample questions you could use for helping in your assignment are as follow:

  • Who is the author? Is the work presented subjectively or objectively?
  • What is the aim behind this work? Was it achieved?
  • What methodology, styles, techniques were used throughout this work? Is their portrayal effective?
  • Do the assumptions that underlie the work affect its validity?
  • How well is the writing structured? Is it in favor of a particular point of view or interpretation?
  • What persuasion techniques are utilized? Has it been interpreted objectively and fairly?
  • Does the work you are reviewing has any key concepts or works in this discipline?

Provide evidence to support your evaluation. This can be in any form. A quote is a good example, or cite evidence picked from related sources.

Conclusion

It has to be a brief, conclusive paragraph reinstating the gist of your critique paper. You can state the reason behind selecting this specific topic for working. In some cases, it will be ideal for providing recommendations and suggestions for improvement. Ensure that it takes only a few lines of your entire document.

Reference list

Never end your paper without adding the list of resources and cites used in the assessment. The style you will need to choose depends on your teacher's preference and assignment requirements.

Important Steps to Follow for Perfecting the Paper

1. Background Check

Check whether the hypothesis is stated clearly or not? Reliable background information marks the success of the article from the very beginning. Check if there is any previous research or history given to assist the reader in making sense of the subject at hand. Can you spot the research problem or the reason why the creator is writing the article? If not, then this definitely needs your "critique."

2. Read the Methodology

Every paper goes through a standard procedure. You will outline this in the methodology section. You should check if you have covered everything. Are there any missing links? Do not just think of these points and move along. Jot these down in a notepad and do mark the missing or questionable areas on the paper itself. It will make your life easier. As you will not have to go through the content repeatedly.

3. Results Section

It is the crux of a well-written critique paper. So, check if the researchers have drawn tables and graphs. Is there enough information? The variables that were mentioned previously are they tested or not? Check out the results of the hypothesis that were proved valid. If you notice a gap in this part, do not overlook it. Jot it down. You can compare the result section with the literature review part. Has the identified gap filled now? These are some valuable points that can make your research paper shine.

4. Never Miss the Discussion Section

Check if the researchers have discussed the results in detail or not. You can also agree or disagree with this part. Do make notes of the areas that were not covered or which the researchers fail to discuss.

Checklist for a Critique

Have I:

  • Centrally focussed on the critical evaluation aspect?
  • Included the name of the work, author, and date?
  • Formed an unbiased evaluation based on critical reading?
  • Provided evidence for the assessment?
  • Used appropriate referencing style?
  • Written plagiarism-free content?
  • Used the right structuring, formatting, and presentation?
  • Done proofreading before submission?

With these tips and guidelines, nobody can keep you from acing a critique paper. However, it is not a skill that can be mastered overnight. Keep practicing and polishing your skills to become a good critique.

Henrique Bertulino
Head of Customer Success

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