How to Write a Critical Analysis Essay

How to Write a Critical Analysis Essay

It is always advisable that students should know how to write a critical analysis essay in order to improve academic performance. However, knowing how to craft critical analysis essays could also enable you to take your general writing skills to another level. In fact, it is one of the best ways through which you can easily master the art of writing good academic papers. Apart from writing guidelines, this section will also highlight critical analysis essay samples for greater motivation on how to write a critical analysis essay.

A critical analysis essay is a common assignment whereby you are required to write or make an argument about a given piece of work, like a movie, poem, book, painting, article, song or any other. A good critical analysis essay paper should present a clear and logical evaluation of the given work, including the arguments of the author and how he or she has managed to communicate the message contained in the work.

Most students often think that critical analysis essays are written to summarize a given piece of work. However, that is not right. Knowing how to write a critical analysis essay requires that you present a comprehensive evaluation of the work, highlighting more information that may not be obvious to many people. A critical analysis should help others to understand the given piece of work much better than when reading or watching it.

Tips on how to write a critical analysis essay

Writing a critical analysis essay may seem challenging to many, but it can be very simple when you prepare and organize your materials well in advance. There are certain points that you need to consider before writing in order to come up with a good analysis essay. The following tips will guide you on how to write a critical analysis essay paper with ease.

Study the work to be analyzed

Remember you can only give a critical analysis when you have a better understanding of the given piece. Therefore, take some time to study the work carefully in order to get the message of the author or creator as intended.

Even if the work may look quite simple and brief, the message of the author may be hidden and you have to carefully study the work in order to get it. In case the work is very long, it is advisable that you read it into parts, taking time to digest every section.

As you study the work, also remember to take notes on key points and also those that may require further research. Noting the main ideas of the work will enable you to effectively analyze the structure.

Define any unique terms and phrases

In most cases, authors or artists use certain phrases or words that many are not conversant with. Besides, some also use figurative language among other techniques, which you should properly define in order to understand the concept of the author.

Establish the appeals used by the author

Critical analysis requires that you explain how the author or creator of the given work has proven his argument. The best way of doing this is by identifying the pathos, logos and ethos used in the piece. With this, you will be able to easily understand the thesis of the author and how it is brought out in the work.

An author may not necessarily use all the appeals but simply choose one or two for the given work. Therefore, only identify those that have been use in the work, including examples or evidences.

Formulate your main argument

Your thesis is the ‘backbone’ of the essay since it is the argument that you will be discussing in the body of the paper. The thesis should be formulated after careful thought and analysis of the entire work. It can be a claim in support of or against the author’s arguments. However, you can also opt to present a balanced analysis that highlights the good and the bad.

The thesis that you come up with should be clear, brief and one that you are able to conclusively prove, using evidence from the given piece of work.

Collect evidence to support your claim

A proper critical analysis essay should present a comprehensive evaluation of the work, with regards to the thesis. Therefore, you should also gather key points that will be used to form the body paragraphs. The number of key points should match the body paragraphs that you intend to include in the paper.

For every key point that you identify, make sure there is sufficient evidence or examples from the piece of work. Remember for every point that you will make, you will be required to back it up with evidence from the original work.

Outline the analysis

Before writing, it is recommended that you prepare an outline for organizing your points or ideas. It should briefly show how you plan to write the paper from the start to conclusion, indicating the main points for every section in the right order.

Steps on how to write a critical analysis essay

A critical analysis essay paper generally has four main part; introduction, summary, your argument and conclusion. Distinguishing the points for each of these sections is important in the delivery of a good critical analysis paper. Follow the steps below to find out how to write a critical analysis essay of the best quality.

Introduce the essay

The opening statements of a critical analysis essay should identify the work being analyzed and also present your thesis. This is to enable your readers to understand the context of the analysis and what to expect in the essay.

Give readers short information about the work, its author and any other related information that can be used to identify it. After that, you should clearly give your key claim or thesis then, end the introduction with a preview showing how your argument will be proven in the essay.

Give a brief summary of the work

This section should also be short and present information that is necessary for your readers to understand the analysis. You do not have to summarize the entire work but only give what is important for your argument.

Present your argument

Based on the thesis for the essay, your arguments should explain the main points supporting that particular claim. You need to use striking sub-arguments to prove your overall claim. Every point that you give in a paragraph should be clearly explained, giving examples to support the argument. In this way, you will be able to make a logical and effective evaluation of the given piece of work.

Although the arguments may be different, you have to make sure that they all link back to your thesis. Don’t simply list points and give examples but try to also go further and give the relevance of the particular argument.


The final part of the essay should remind readers of how your argument has been proven in the essay. Besides, it would also be important to point out the importance of your claim and give any recommendations about the piece of work that was being analyzed.

Sample Critical Analysis Essays

Knowing how to write a critical analysis essay is a process that occurs gradually and requires you to make references from sample papers too. The following are examples of well written critical analysis essay papers that you can also read for more insights.

Example 1

Critical analysis essay on ‘’Condom use Will Increase the Spread of AIDS’’

‘’The use of condoms to prevent unwanted pregnancies and, even more important, the spread of sexual transmitted diseases (STDs) has been controversial. This critical review examines the article that links condom usage to the spread of AIDS. The article, ‘’Condom use will increase the spread of AIDS,’’ was written by Anthony Zimmerman, a Catholic priest. Based on the article’s title, the author is against the use of condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS and other STDs…’’Read the whole analysis here.

Example 2

Sample critical analysis essay of ‘’Sir Isaac Newton’’

‘’The article ‘’Sir Isaac Newton,’’ written by Dr. Robert A. Hatch of the University of Florida, is a strong biographical exposition on the famous scientist, mathematician, and philosopher. Dr. Hatch gives brilliant insight into Newton’s struggles, influences and triumphs, covering his childhood and his rise in academia, as well as his contributions to modern science…’’  Continue reading the analysis on this link.

Example 3

Critical Analysis of three articles on Music and Feminist Pedagogy

‘’The importance of feminism in music has come to the forefront in many colleges and universities. However, for several reasons, one of which is that scholars hold different views on the relevancy and appropriateness of feminism in the musical realm, feminism has not been included as quickly in music as in other fields. Neuls-Bates offers another reason for this lack of speed: ‘’The discipline of women’s studies has been slower to develop in the field of music….’’ Simply click here to read the rest of the sample critical analysis.

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