Writing a critique essay or critique paper is one of the most common assignments in academic writing. The essay aims to provide an objective evaluation of a certain product, service, or phenomenon. It often happens that when you are asked to write a critique paper on something that interests you, you don’t know where to start.
In this essay writing guide, you will learn:
- What Is a critique paper.
- How to write a critique essay step by step.
- Types of critique essays.
- How to format and structure a critique paper.
Let us get started with the definition of a critical paper.
What is a critique essay?
A critique essay or paper is a combination of a review essay and a research paper. It means that you have to do a thorough literature search, read various sources and then provide your own opinion about them along with the critical evaluation. A critique essay may prove or disprove certain thesis or theory putting forward new questions that can be resolved in further studies. In most cases, a student is supposed to criticize, analyze, and provide an overall assessment of some phenomenon such as a product, service, idea or event.
The definition of the word “critique” in English from Oxford Dictionary: [noun]
- a detailed criticism or analysis of something , especially one based on close attention to relevant details : a literary critique
- a judgment of the merits and faults of something or somebody : the report is a serious critique of Government policy
Critique papers are usually given to students by their teachers in order to encourage them to think critically about whatever they have studied so far. The purpose of this type of assignment is not only to provide you with analytical skills, but also improve your communication skills.
The Structure of a Critique Paper
Many essay writing services suggest that the structure for any critical essay should have the following components:
- Introduction with thesis statement;
- Literature review;
- Pro and contra arguments;
However, we would like to point out that this formula may not work for all types of essays and it is better if you follow the structure you are most comfortable with.
There is not much difference here between the introduction of any other essay and a critical one, except that in this case you should mention the main problem or the thesis statement right in the beginning. Remember that in order to convince your reader that you fully understand what you are writing about, you need to provide them with some background knowledge on the topic. It means that in your introduction, you will include points like:
What was the author’s main purpose in writing the paper (or producing the product or service) What is your opinion on this issue Why did you choose to make this topic the subject of your critical essay
This part of your critique essay will provide readers with all necessary information they need in order to understand what your essay is about. As a rule, a literature review should provide some historical context and highlight different views on a certain topic. It means that if you are going to write a critique argumentative essay, for instance, you have to include things like:
What has been written about this problem so far? Who said what on this subject? Is there any consensus on this issue among experts from various fields? What has been done to solve this problem thus far?
Pro and Contra Arguments:
In order to properly evaluate a subject, you have to take the point of view of both sides. Therefore, you should provide readers with arguments from all sides in your critique essay. In addition, if possible, try to find examples which would help to better explain different points of view.
Those who support this idea provide us with __________ as an evidence Those who disapprove it argue that __________ may happen instead What is more important is that __________ Some people even claim that __________
As every other type of essay writing assignment, when you are asked to write a critical paper it always ends with a conclusion. However, you should not just summarize what you have already said. Your concluding remarks must be an argumentative piece of writing which:
- Refutes possible counterarguments and strengthens your overall opinion;
- Evaluates all sides of the issue and provides readers with a final assessment;
- Suggests further research on the topic.
Unfortunately, there is no universal format for critical essays as each assignment requires its own approach depending on the subject matter and the author’s point of view. That is why it may be challenging to write such papers at times, but do not despair – we hope that this guide has helped you understand what things to take into account when writing such essays!
How to write a critique essay in 7 steps
Now that we have gone through the basics of a critique paper, let us review 7 important steps in writing a great critique paper for school or college students.
Step 1: Decide on the purpose of the critique essay.
Before you can start to write your critique paper, it is important to decide the purpose of writing the paper. Is it to evaluate a work of art, or is it to offer a critical analysis of a text? The purpose determines the content of your essay.
For instance, you may be asked to write a critique essay on the novel “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” In this case, your main purpose would be to offer critical analysis of the book. You may also choose to analyze or evaluate it in relation to other literature or its bearing on society as whole. Your paper might include examples from other texts and compare and contrast them.
You can even choose an object for your critique. It could be a certain painting, building, literary work and so forth. For example, you could write a critique paper about Michelangelo’s David or Le Corbusier’s Notre Dame du Haut chapel in Ronchamp, France. To make your paper more interesting and focused, try choosing an object that is familiar to you.
You might choose the aforementioned paintings since they are available in books which you can easily research if needed. If you want to focus on a building, for example Notre Dame du Haut chapel, then head to Google and find everything about that building or even visit it in person. This will help with your description skills which you need when writing a critique essay.
Step 2: Do background research if necessary.
For most types of artifacts like paintings, buildings etc., background information is readily available on the internet, books or other sources. You may also take pictures of these objects or send someone else to do so for you in order to illustrate your paper later on. However, when writing a critique essay about literature like “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” you will need to research more.
It may mean that you should read at least one book review on the novel, or find articles that offer critical analysis of it. You can also search for similar novels and compare them if needed. For a clear idea of how these books are written, see what elements they have in common and how they differ from other types of fiction writing. Consider all angles before presenting your own thesis.
Step 3: Select a viewpoint and thesis statement for your critique essay.
Of course, you may have been asked to adopt a certain viewpoint when writing this type of paper so stick to it as best as possible throughout your essay. In other words, if your instructor told you to write from a certain thesis or position (e.g. that “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” is overrated) then stick to it and do not sway from your point of view no matter how much evidence you find against your initial thesis.
Step 4: Write the introduction of your critique essay.
Generally speaking, many people start their academic papers with an introduction but this does not mean that this step is optional in case of a critique essay since one major aim of writing this type of paper is to offer critical analysis/evaluation on something. You should use hook words or sentences that create interest t o attract readers attention right away at the beginning of the first paragraph. However , keep in mind that you do not want to be too vague in your introduction (e.g. “I am going to tell you how brilliant this piece of literature is”) since this type of paper requires some critical thought before coming up with an objective conclusion or statement of evaluation/ analysis .
Focus more on the process of analysis, rather than just stating your thesis right away. Try using quotes from other sources if needed and introduce them briefly for clarity purposes, especially if they are foreign authors or philosophers who wrote something relevant to what you are writing about. Also , try creating a smooth transition between the introductory paragraph and the body paragraphs so that readers do not get lost while reading your essay.
Step 5: Write body paragraphs for your critique essay.
As in any academic paper, this part should contain a minimum of three body paragraphs each with a topic sentence that clearly states what you are talking about. However , remember that the main purpose of writing a critique essay is not to summarize or explain something but rather to offer critical analysis/evaluation based on evidence from previous literary works.
This means that instead of telling readers what to think about an object or text, you should try asking questions throughout the body paragraphs so that they stay interested and motivated until the end of your critique essay. The last sentence of each paragraph should also relate back to the thesis statement in order to keep everything cohesive and focused .
Step 6: Write conclusion for your critique essay.
Start by restating your thesis statement followed by a brief summary of the evidence you used to support your analysis. On the other hand, try not to be repetitive with previous points and include only new material in this final section of your paper.
Finally, write a strong closing sentence that leaves readers with something memorable after they finish reading your critique essay . After all , it is not enough for you to just say how bad or good an object is;you should try delving into why these things are liked or disliked in order to offer more weight on what you are saying (i.e. What makes this text/object popular? Why has it received so much attention?).
Step 7: Proofread and edit your critique essay.
This last step is especially crucial since you want to make sure that your writing is free of any grammatical mistakes or typos that could distract readers (spell check may not always be enough).
However, make sure to incorporate your own voice and style in the paper by using words and phrases you are familiar with. Also , avoid using passive voice as much as possible since it is usually admittedly weak. On the other hand, if omitting certain details (or even parts) will keep readers confused about what you are trying to say then do not hesitate to break up long sentences into smaller ones.
Finally, follow the required number of pages for this type of essay along with additional instructions from your instructor or editor before submitting it for grading. Also, remember to have a title or phrase that will grab readers attention so they know what the essay is about before reading it.
In conclusion, writing a critique essay does not always mean you will find something negative to say about an object or text since this type of paper focuses on analysis and assessment as opposed to interpretation. What makes this literary analysis different from those that focus on summarizing texts or simply explaining them is that your opinion should play a major role in making people understand how you came up with your final statement on an object/text.
To summarize, include these elements in order to make your critique essay more effective:
- Body paragraphs
- Transitional sentences
- Critical thinking questions
- Proofreading and editing your essay
Types of critique essays
There are a few types of critique essays that you can write, and the most common include:
- Book critique essay: In a book critique essay, you will be critiquing a book that you have read by discussing its strengths and weaknesses.
- Movie critique essay: In a movie critique essay, you will be critiquing a movie that you have seen by discussing its strengths and weaknesses.
- Art critique essay: In an art critique essay, you will be critiquing an artwork that you have seen by discussing its strengths and weaknesses.
- Article critique essay: In this essay, you will be critiquing an article that you have read by discussing its strengths and weaknesses.
- Museum exhibit critique essay: In this type of essay, you will be writing about a museum exhibit or display that you have seen. You need to discuss the purpose of the exhibit/display, what it is trying to convey, its effect on your thinking.
- Critique poems: This type of critique essay requires you to critically analyze one or more poems in order to determine their meaning and significance. You need to discuss how these poems are interpreted by readers based on their opinion, impressions, reactions etc., then evaluate whether these interpretations are legitimate or not.
- Speech critique essay: In this type of essay, you will be writing about a speech that you have seen or heard. You need to discuss the purpose of the speech, its strengths and weaknesses in conveying the message effectively.
What do I write a critical paper about?
To help with that, we’ve put together this list of 10 potential topics for a critique paper and some guidelines on how to choose the best option.
10 Critique Paper Topics to Consider
- Your favorite or least favorite book, film, or album ever. Think about it: why did you like (or dislike) this piece of art? What makes it (or them) worthy of praise (or criticism)?
- Any scientific paper, study, or experiment that you feel has been widely misunderstood and/or misrepresented in the media and popular press. You might want to explain how it was misinterpreted and then give your own interpretation of the findings.
- A scientific discovery that you think is truly revolutionary and game-changing. For example, the discovery of the Higgs boson was widely covered by TV networks and newspapers around the world. You might want to say why you think it’s really important, even if not everyone agrees with you.
- A product or service that has had lots of negative press coverage lately (for example, Uber). How can its problems be solved?
- A really popular social media app such as Twitter that you don’t like and think has harmful effects on society. Why do you think that? What changes could be made to make it less bad?
- An object or artifact in your house, school, or office that you consider ugly or unnecessary (like a stapler, for example). Explain why it’s bad and what would be better in its place.
- A TV show, article, blog post, etc. that makes an argument about something controversial (for example, maybe it claims GMOs are healthy, or that chocolate doesn’t lead to breakouts). Then explain the flaws in the argument(s) made by the creator.
- A company, organization, or institution that you think has a serious PR problem. How can it solve these issues? What should be done differently?
- A person whom you respect for their work but don’t agree with all of his/her viewpoints (for example, Elon Musk). Why do you still think highly of them? Why might other people not like them as much as you do?
- Your favorite website (such as Reddit) and your least favorite website. Compare and contrast the design and content of each one to determine which one makes a better argument for its viewpoint(s).
- Writing a Critique (Critical Analysis)
- Writing a Critique – Hunter College
- How to write a critique – QUT cite|write
- Lists of Free Writing Critique Websites – Christopher Fielden
- Critique handout
- TUTORING SERVICE RESOURCE – Writing a Book Critique
- Writing a Critique | IOE Writing Centre – UCL
- Writing a CRITICAL ANALYSIS (Critique) – Centralia College
- How to Write Critical Reviews – The Writing Center – University of Wisconsin Madison
- Writing a Critique (Summary & Response)
Critique Paper Writing Help
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