Writing A Critical Analysis Essay: The Complete Walkthrough

Critical analysis essays are, if you’ll forgive the pun, critical for advanced studies. They are the primary vehicles for one of the most important skills that higher education seeks to teach: Critical thinking. This is thinking that is analytical, objective, reasoned, and rational, and that represents that pinnacle of human cognition. This article contains the complete walkthrough of how you should go about writing a critical analysis essay.

Frame your hypothesis

To start writing your critical analysis essay, go with your gut instinct, and lay out a claim you intuitively believe. For example: Stricter gun control laws must be enacted. With that starting point, flesh out your claim in a little more detail to define its scope more clearly. For example, would you apply it to all guns? To what end? With that in mind, tighten up your claim in more scientific lines, as if it were a hypothesis. For example: The enactment of laws that limit the caliber of weapons for sale to the general public will result in fewer homicides, suicides, and accidental shooting deaths.

Gather and present facts and evidence

With your hypothesis more clearly stated, start writing a literature review of the objective parameters of the issue. For example, what caliber guns are available for sale, and how many are sold in what volumes? From there, move on to evidence for causal relationships that are relevant to your hypothesis. For example, is an increase in the caliber of weapon associated with an increase in the rates of fatality from shootings? Make sure in this stage to fairly represent both confirmatory and disputative evidence.

Evaluate the quality of the evidence

With the key building blocks available to you, turn your attention to an evaluation of the evidence, both for and against. Here you must present errors in the evidence that would dispute your point for clear reasons. For example, you might point to statistical weaknesses in that a particular study was too small to be significant. Or it may have been performed in a different country with marked differences in culture. Likewise, turn the same lens on your confirmatory evidence. Don’t shy away from pointing out potential weaknesses in arguments that support your position.

Draw conclusions

Finally, from the sum total of the evidence presented, and your evaluation of it, draw the most conservative conclusions you can. This may well differ from your original hypothesis. For example, you may make a strong claim in more limited circumstances, such as “in the United States, and due to accidental shootings”. If you have gaps, wrap up with description of what further research or evidence would be required to more strongly confirm or deny the positions staked out.

After you’ve read this complete walkthrough of how you should go about writing a critical analysis essay, you can get going with writing your own great paper.