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33 Critical Analysis Examples

critical analysis examples and definition, explained below

Critical analysis refers to the ability to examine something in detail in preparation to make an evaluation or judgment.

It will involve exploring underlying assumptions, theories, arguments, evidence, logic, biases, contextual factors, and so forth, that could help shed more light on the topic.

In essay writing, a critical analysis essay will involve using a range of analytical skills to explore a topic, such as:

  • Evaluating sources
  • Exploring strengths and weaknesses
  • Exploring pros and cons
  • Questioning and challenging ideas
  • Comparing and contrasting ideas

If you’re writing an essay, you could also watch my guide on how to write a critical analysis essay below, and don’t forget to grab your worksheets and critical analysis essay plan to save yourself a ton of time:

Grab your Critical Analysis Worksheets and Essay Plan Here


Critical Analysis Examples

1. exploring strengths and weaknesses.

Perhaps the first and most straightforward method of critical analysis is to create a simple strengths-vs-weaknesses comparison.

Most things have both strengths and weaknesses – you could even do this for yourself! What are your strengths? Maybe you’re kind or good at sports or good with children. What are your weaknesses? Maybe you struggle with essay writing or concentration.

If you can analyze your own strengths and weaknesses, then you understand the concept. What might be the strengths and weaknesses of the idea you’re hoping to critically analyze?

Strengths and weaknesses could include:

  • Does it seem highly ethical (strength) or could it be more ethical (weakness)?
  • Is it clearly explained (strength) or complex and lacking logical structure (weakness)?
  • Does it seem balanced (strength) or biased (weakness)?

You may consider using a SWOT analysis for this step. I’ve provided a SWOT analysis guide here .

2. Evaluating Sources

Evaluation of sources refers to looking at whether a source is reliable or unreliable.

This is a fundamental media literacy skill .

Steps involved in evaluating sources include asking questions like:

  • Who is the author and are they trustworthy?
  • Is this written by an expert?
  • Is this sufficiently reviewed by an expert?
  • Is this published in a trustworthy publication?
  • Are the arguments sound or common sense?

For more on this topic, I’d recommend my detailed guide on digital literacy .

3. Identifying Similarities

Identifying similarities encompasses the act of drawing parallels between elements, concepts, or issues.

In critical analysis, it’s common to compare a given article, idea, or theory to another one. In this way, you can identify areas in which they are alike.

Determining similarities can be a challenge, but it’s an intellectual exercise that fosters a greater understanding of the aspects you’re studying. This step often calls for a careful reading and note-taking to highlight matching information, points of view, arguments or even suggested solutions.

Similarities might be found in:

  • The key themes or topics discussed
  • The theories or principles used
  • The demographic the work is written for or about
  • The solutions or recommendations proposed

Remember, the intention of identifying similarities is not to prove one right or wrong. Rather, it sets the foundation for understanding the larger context of your analysis, anchoring your arguments in a broader spectrum of ideas.

Your critical analysis strengthens when you can see the patterns and connections across different works or topics. It fosters a more comprehensive, insightful perspective. And importantly, it is a stepping stone in your analysis journey towards evaluating differences, which is equally imperative and insightful in any analysis.

4. Identifying Differences

Identifying differences involves pinpointing the unique aspects, viewpoints or solutions introduced by the text you’re analyzing. How does it stand out as different from other texts?

To do this, you’ll need to compare this text to another text.

Differences can be revealed in:

  • The potential applications of each idea
  • The time, context, or place in which the elements were conceived or implemented
  • The available evidence each element uses to support its ideas
  • The perspectives of authors
  • The conclusions reached

Identifying differences helps to reveal the multiplicity of perspectives and approaches on a given topic. Doing so provides a more in-depth, nuanced understanding of the field or issue you’re exploring.

This deeper understanding can greatly enhance your overall critique of the text you’re looking at. As such, learning to identify both similarities and differences is an essential skill for effective critical analysis.

My favorite tool for identifying similarities and differences is a Venn Diagram:

venn diagram

To use a venn diagram, title each circle for two different texts. Then, place similarities in the overlapping area of the circles, while unique characteristics (differences) of each text in the non-overlapping parts.

6. Identifying Oversights

Identifying oversights entails pointing out what the author missed, overlooked, or neglected in their work.

Almost every written work, no matter the expertise or meticulousness of the author, contains oversights. These omissions can be absent-minded mistakes or gaps in the argument, stemming from a lack of knowledge, foresight, or attentiveness.

Such gaps can be found in:

  • Missed opportunities to counter or address opposing views
  • Failure to consider certain relevant aspects or perspectives
  • Incomplete or insufficient data that leaves the argument weak
  • Failing to address potential criticism or counter-arguments

By shining a light on these weaknesses, you increase the depth and breadth of your critical analysis. It helps you to estimate the full worth of the text, understand its limitations, and contextualize it within the broader landscape of related work. Ultimately, noticing these oversights helps to make your analysis more balanced and considerate of the full complexity of the topic at hand.

You may notice here that identifying oversights requires you to already have a broad understanding and knowledge of the topic in the first place – so, study up!

7. Fact Checking

Fact-checking refers to the process of meticulously verifying the truth and accuracy of the data, statements, or claims put forward in a text.

Fact-checking serves as the bulwark against misinformation, bias, and unsubstantiated claims. It demands thorough research, resourcefulness, and a keen eye for detail.

Fact-checking goes beyond surface-level assertions:

  • Examining the validity of the data given
  • Cross-referencing information with other reliable sources
  • Scrutinizing references, citations, and sources utilized in the article
  • Distinguishing between opinion and objectively verifiable truths
  • Checking for outdated, biased, or unbalanced information

If you identify factual errors, it’s vital to highlight them when critically analyzing the text. But remember, you could also (after careful scrutiny) also highlight that the text appears to be factually correct – that, too, is critical analysis.

8. Exploring Counterexamples

Exploring counterexamples involves searching and presenting instances or cases which contradict the arguments or conclusions presented in a text.

Counterexamples are an effective way to challenge the generalizations, assumptions or conclusions made in an article or theory. They can reveal weaknesses or oversights in the logic or validity of the author’s perspective.

Considerations in counterexample analysis are:

  • Identifying generalizations made in the text
  • Seeking examples in academic literature or real-world instances that contradict these generalizations
  • Assessing the impact of these counterexamples on the validity of the text’s argument or conclusion

Exploring counterexamples enriches your critical analysis by injecting an extra layer of scrutiny, and even doubt, in the text.

By presenting counterexamples, you not only test the resilience and validity of the text but also open up new avenues of discussion and investigation that can further your understanding of the topic.

See Also: Counterargument Examples

9. Assessing Methodologies

Assessing methodologies entails examining the techniques, tools, or procedures employed by the author to collect, analyze and present their information.

The accuracy and validity of a text’s conclusions often depend on the credibility and appropriateness of the methodologies used.

Aspects to inspect include:

  • The appropriateness of the research method for the research question
  • The adequacy of the sample size
  • The validity and reliability of data collection instruments
  • The application of statistical tests and evaluations
  • The implementation of controls to prevent bias or mitigate its impact

One strategy you could implement here is to consider a range of other methodologies the author could have used. If the author conducted interviews, consider questioning why they didn’t use broad surveys that could have presented more quantitative findings. If they only interviewed people with one perspective, consider questioning why they didn’t interview a wider variety of people, etc.

See Also: A List of Research Methodologies

10. Exploring Alternative Explanations

Exploring alternative explanations refers to the practice of proposing differing or opposing ideas to those put forward in the text.

An underlying assumption in any analysis is that there may be multiple valid perspectives on a single topic. The text you’re analyzing might provide one perspective, but your job is to bring into the light other reasonable explanations or interpretations.

Cultivating alternative explanations often involves:

  • Formulating hypotheses or theories that differ from those presented in the text
  • Referring to other established ideas or models that offer a differing viewpoint
  • Suggesting a new or unique angle to interpret the data or phenomenon discussed in the text

Searching for alternative explanations challenges the authority of a singular narrative or perspective, fostering an environment ripe for intellectual discourse and critical thinking . It nudges you to examine the topic from multiple angles, enhancing your understanding and appreciation of the complexity inherent in the field.

A Full List of Critical Analysis Skills

  • Exploring Strengths and Weaknesses
  • Evaluating Sources
  • Identifying Similarities
  • Identifying Differences
  • Identifying Biases
  • Hypothesis Testing
  • Fact-Checking
  • Exploring Counterexamples
  • Assessing Methodologies
  • Exploring Alternative Explanations
  • Pointing Out Contradictions
  • Challenging the Significance
  • Cause-And-Effect Analysis
  • Assessing Generalizability
  • Highlighting Inconsistencies
  • Reductio ad Absurdum
  • Comparing to Expert Testimony
  • Comparing to Precedent
  • Reframing the Argument
  • Pointing Out Fallacies
  • Questioning the Ethics
  • Clarifying Definitions
  • Challenging Assumptions
  • Exposing Oversimplifications
  • Highlighting Missing Information
  • Demonstrating Irrelevance
  • Assessing Effectiveness
  • Assessing Trustworthiness
  • Recognizing Patterns
  • Differentiating Facts from Opinions
  • Analyzing Perspectives
  • Prioritization
  • Making Predictions
  • Conducting a SWOT Analysis
  • PESTLE Analysis
  • Asking the Five Whys
  • Correlating Data Points
  • Finding Anomalies Or Outliers
  • Comparing to Expert Literature
  • Drawing Inferences
  • Assessing Validity & Reliability

Analysis and Bloom’s Taxonomy

Benjamin Bloom placed analysis as the third-highest form of thinking on his ladder of cognitive skills called Bloom’s Taxonomy .

This taxonomy starts with the lowest levels of thinking – remembering and understanding. The further we go up the ladder, the more we reach higher-order thinking skills that demonstrate depth of understanding and knowledge, as outlined below:

blooms taxonomy, explained below

Here’s a full outline of the taxonomy in a table format:


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critical argument analysis essay example

What Is a Critical Analysis Essay: Definition

critical argument analysis essay example

Have you ever had to read a book or watch a movie for school and then write an essay about it? Well, a critical analysis essay is a type of essay where you do just that! So, when wondering what is a critical analysis essay, know that it's a fancy way of saying that you're going to take a closer look at something and analyze it.

So, let's say you're assigned to read a novel for your literature class. A critical analysis essay would require you to examine the characters, plot, themes, and writing style of the book. You would need to evaluate its strengths and weaknesses and provide your own thoughts and opinions on the text.

Similarly, if you're tasked with writing a critical analysis essay on a scientific article, you would need to analyze the methodology, results, and conclusions presented in the article and evaluate its significance and potential impact on the field.

The key to a successful critical analysis essay is to approach the subject matter with an open mind and a willingness to engage with it on a deeper level. By doing so, you can gain a greater appreciation and understanding of the subject matter and develop your own informed opinions and perspectives. Considering this, we bet you want to learn how to write critical analysis essay easily and efficiently, so keep on reading to find out more!

Meanwhile, if you'd rather have your own sample critical analysis essay crafted by professionals from our custom writings , contact us to buy essays online .

How to Write a Critical Analysis

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Critical Analysis Essay Topics by Category

If you're looking for an interesting and thought-provoking topic for your critical analysis essay, you've come to the right place! Critical analysis essays can cover many subjects and topics, with endless possibilities. To help you get started, we've compiled a list of critical analysis essay topics by category. We've got you covered whether you're interested in literature, science, social issues, or something else. So, grab a notebook and pen, and get ready to dive deep into your chosen topic. In the following sections, we will provide you with various good critical analysis paper topics to choose from, each with its unique angle and approach.

Critical Analysis Essay Topics on Mass Media

From television and radio to social media and advertising, mass media is everywhere, shaping our perceptions of the world around us. As a result, it's no surprise that critical analysis essays on mass media are a popular choice for students and scholars alike. To help you get started, here are ten critical essay example topics on mass media:

  • The Influence of Viral Memes on Pop Culture: An In-Depth Analysis.
  • The Portrayal of Mental Health in Television: Examining Stigmatization and Advocacy.
  • The Power of Satirical News Shows: Analyzing the Impact of Political Commentary.
  • Mass Media and Consumer Behavior: Investigating Advertising and Persuasion Techniques.
  • The Ethics of Deepfake Technology: Implications for Trust and Authenticity in Media.
  • Media Framing and Public Perception: A Critical Analysis of News Coverage.
  • The Role of Social Media in Shaping Political Discourse and Activism.
  • Fake News in the Digital Age: Identifying Disinformation and Its Effects.
  • The Representation of Gender and Diversity in Hollywood Films: A Critical Examination.
  • Media Ownership and Its Impact on Journalism and News Reporting: A Comprehensive Study.

Critical Analysis Essay Topics on Sports

Sports are a ubiquitous aspect of our culture, and they have the power to unite and inspire people from all walks of life. Whether you're an athlete, a fan, or just someone who appreciates the beauty of competition, there's no denying the significance of sports in our society. If you're looking for an engaging and thought-provoking topic for your critical analysis essay, sports offer a wealth of possibilities:

  • The Role of Sports in Diplomacy: Examining International Relations Through Athletic Events.
  • Sports and Identity: How Athletic Success Shapes National and Cultural Pride.
  • The Business of Sports: Analyzing the Economics and Commercialization of Athletics.
  • Athlete Activism: Exploring the Impact of Athletes' Social and Political Engagement.
  • Sports Fandom and Online Communities: The Impact of Social Media on Fan Engagement.
  • The Representation of Athletes in the Media: Gender, Race, and Stereotypes.
  • The Psychology of Sports: Exploring Mental Toughness, Motivation, and Peak Performance.
  • The Evolution of Sports Equipment and Technology: From Innovation to Regulation.
  • The Legacy of Sports Legends: Analyzing Their Impact Beyond Athletic Achievement.
  • Sports and Social Change: How Athletic Movements Shape Societal Attitudes and Policies.

Critical Analysis Essay Topics on Literature and Arts

Literature and arts can inspire, challenge, and transform our perceptions of the world around us. From classic novels to contemporary art, the realm of literature and arts offers many possibilities for critical analysis essays. Here are ten original critic essay example topics on literature and arts:

  • The Use of Symbolism in Contemporary Poetry: Analyzing Hidden Meanings and Significance.
  • The Intersection of Art and Identity: How Self-Expression Shapes Artists' Works.
  • The Role of Nonlinear Narrative in Postmodern Novels: Techniques and Interpretation.
  • The Influence of Jazz on African American Literature: A Comparative Study.
  • The Complexity of Visual Storytelling: Graphic Novels and Their Narrative Power.
  • The Art of Literary Translation: Challenges, Impact, and Interpretation.
  • The Evolution of Music Videos: From Promotional Tools to a Unique Art Form.
  • The Literary Techniques of Magical Realism: Exploring Reality and Fantasy.
  • The Impact of Visual Arts in Advertising: Analyzing the Connection Between Art and Commerce.
  • Art in Times of Crisis: How Artists Respond to Societal and Political Challenges.

Critical Analysis Essay Topics on Culture

Culture is a dynamic and multifaceted aspect of our society, encompassing everything from language and religion to art and music. As a result, there are countless possibilities for critical analysis essays on culture. Whether you're interested in exploring the complexities of globalization or delving into the nuances of cultural identity, there's a wealth of topics to choose from:

  • The Influence of K-Pop on Global Youth Culture: A Comparative Study.
  • Cultural Significance of Street Art in Urban Spaces: Beyond Vandalism.
  • The Role of Mythology in Shaping Indigenous Cultures and Belief Systems.
  • Nollywood: Analyzing the Cultural Impact of Nigerian Cinema on the African Diaspora.
  • The Language of Hip-Hop Lyrics: A Semiotic Analysis of Cultural Expression.
  • Digital Nomads and Cultural Adaptation: Examining the Subculture of Remote Work.
  • The Cultural Significance of Tattooing Among Indigenous Tribes in Oceania.
  • The Art of Culinary Fusion: Analyzing Cross-Cultural Food Trends and Innovation.
  • The Impact of Cultural Festivals on Local Identity and Economy.
  • The Influence of Internet Memes on Language and Cultural Evolution.

How to Write a Critical Analysis: Easy Steps

When wondering how to write a critical analysis essay, remember that it can be a challenging but rewarding process. Crafting a critical analysis example requires a careful and thoughtful examination of a text or artwork to assess its strengths and weaknesses and broader implications. The key to success is to approach the task in a systematic and organized manner, breaking it down into two distinct steps: critical reading and critical writing. Here are some tips for each step of the process to help you write a critical essay.

Step 1: Critical Reading

Here are some tips for critical reading that can help you with your critical analysis paper:

  • Read actively : Don't just read the text passively, but actively engage with it by highlighting or underlining important points, taking notes, and asking questions.
  • Identify the author's main argument: Figure out what the author is trying to say and what evidence they use to support their argument.
  • Evaluate the evidence: Determine whether the evidence is reliable, relevant, and sufficient to support the author's argument.
  • Analyze the author's tone and style: Consider the author's tone and style and how it affects the reader's interpretation of the text.
  • Identify assumptions: Identify any underlying assumptions the author makes and consider whether they are valid or questionable.
  • Consider alternative perspectives: Consider alternative perspectives or interpretations of the text and consider how they might affect the author's argument.
  • Assess the author's credibility : Evaluate the author's credibility by considering their expertise, biases, and motivations.
  • Consider the context: Consider the historical, social, cultural, and political context in which the text was written and how it affects its meaning.
  • Pay attention to language: Pay attention to the author's language, including metaphors, symbolism, and other literary devices.
  • Synthesize your analysis: Use your analysis of the text to develop a well-supported argument in your critical analysis essay.

Step 2: Critical Analysis Writing

Here are some tips for critical analysis writing, with examples:

How to Write a Critical Analysis

  • Start with a strong thesis statement: A strong critical analysis thesis is the foundation of any critical analysis essay. It should clearly state your argument or interpretation of the text. You can also consult us on how to write a thesis statement . Meanwhile, here is a clear example:
  • Weak thesis statement: 'The author of this article is wrong.'
  • Strong thesis statement: 'In this article, the author's argument fails to consider the socio-economic factors that contributed to the issue, rendering their analysis incomplete.'
  • Use evidence to support your argument: Use evidence from the text to support your thesis statement, and make sure to explain how the evidence supports your argument. For example:
  • Weak argument: 'The author of this article is biased.'
  • Strong argument: 'The author's use of emotional language and selective evidence suggests a bias towards one particular viewpoint, as they fail to consider counterarguments and present a balanced analysis.'
  • Analyze the evidence : Analyze the evidence you use by considering its relevance, reliability, and sufficiency. For example:
  • Weak analysis: 'The author mentions statistics in their argument.'
  • Strong analysis: 'The author uses statistics to support their argument, but it is important to note that these statistics are outdated and do not take into account recent developments in the field.'
  • Use quotes and paraphrases effectively: Use quotes and paraphrases to support your argument and properly cite your sources. For example:
  • Weak use of quotes: 'The author said, 'This is important.'
  • Strong use of quotes: 'As the author points out, 'This issue is of utmost importance in shaping our understanding of the problem' (p. 25).'
  • Use clear and concise language: Use clear and concise language to make your argument easy to understand, and avoid jargon or overly complicated language. For example:
  • Weak language: 'The author's rhetorical devices obfuscate the issue.'
  • Strong language: 'The author's use of rhetorical devices such as metaphor and hyperbole obscures the key issues at play.'
  • Address counterarguments: Address potential counterarguments to your argument and explain why your interpretation is more convincing. For example:
  • Weak argument: 'The author is wrong because they did not consider X.'
  • Strong argument: 'While the author's analysis is thorough, it overlooks the role of X in shaping the issue. However, by considering this factor, a more nuanced understanding of the problem emerges.'
  • Consider the audience: Consider your audience during your writing process. Your language and tone should be appropriate for your audience and should reflect the level of knowledge they have about the topic. For example:
  • Weak language: 'As any knowledgeable reader can see, the author's argument is flawed.'
  • Strong language: 'Through a critical analysis of the author's argument, it becomes clear that there are gaps in their analysis that require further consideration.'

Master the art of critical analysis with EssayPro . Our team is ready to guide you in dissecting texts, theories, or artworks with depth and sophistication. Let us help you deliver a critical analysis essay that showcases your analytical prowess.

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Creating a Detailed Critical Analysis Essay Outline

Creating a detailed outline is essential when writing a critical analysis essay. It helps you organize your thoughts and arguments, ensuring your essay flows logically and coherently. Here is a detailed critical analysis outline from our dissertation writers :

I. Introduction

A. Background information about the text and its author

B. Brief summary of the text

C. Thesis statement that clearly states your argument

II. Analysis of the Text

A. Overview of the text's main themes and ideas

B. Examination of the author's writing style and techniques

C. Analysis of the text's structure and organization

III. Evaluation of the Text

A. Evaluation of the author's argument and evidence

B. Analysis of the author's use of language and rhetorical strategies

C. Assessment of the text's effectiveness and relevance to the topic

IV. Discussion of the Context

A. Exploration of the historical, cultural, and social context of the text

B. Examination of the text's influence on its audience and society

C. Analysis of the text's significance and relevance to the present day

V. Counter Arguments and Responses

A. Identification of potential counterarguments to your argument

B. Refutation of counterarguments and defense of your position

C. Acknowledgement of the limitations and weaknesses of your argument

VI. Conclusion

A. Recap of your argument and main points

B. Evaluation of the text's significance and relevance

C. Final thoughts and recommendations for further research or analysis.

This outline can be adjusted to fit the specific requirements of your essay. Still, it should give you a solid foundation for creating a detailed and well-organized critical analysis essay.

Useful Techniques Used in Literary Criticism

There are several techniques used in literary criticism to analyze and evaluate a work of literature. Here are some of the most common techniques:

How to Write a Critical Analysis

  • Close reading: This technique involves carefully analyzing a text to identify its literary devices, themes, and meanings.
  • Historical and cultural context: This technique involves examining the historical and cultural context of a work of literature to understand the social, political, and cultural influences that shaped it.
  • Structural analysis: This technique involves analyzing the structure of a text, including its plot, characters, and narrative techniques, to identify patterns and themes.
  • Formalism: This technique focuses on the literary elements of a text, such as its language, imagery, and symbolism, to analyze its meaning and significance.
  • Psychological analysis: This technique examines the psychological and emotional aspects of a text, including the motivations and desires of its characters, to understand the deeper meanings and themes.
  • Feminist and gender analysis: This technique focuses on the representation of gender and sexuality in a text, including how gender roles and stereotypes are reinforced or challenged.
  • Marxist and social analysis: This technique examines the social and economic structures portrayed in a text, including issues of class, power, and inequality.

By using these and other techniques, literary critics can offer insightful and nuanced analyses of works of literature, helping readers to understand and appreciate the complexity and richness of the texts.

Sample Critical Analysis Essay

Now that you know how to write a critical analysis, take a look at the critical analysis essay sample provided by our research paper writers and better understand this kind of paper!

Final Words

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If you need help with any of the STEPS ABOVE

Feel free to use EssayPro Outline Help

What Type Of Language Should Be Used In A Critical Analysis Essay?

How to write a critical analysis essay, what is a critical analysis essay.

Annie Lambert

Annie Lambert

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critical argument analysis essay example

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How To Write A Critical Analysis Essay With Examples

Declan Gessel

May 4, 2024

critical argument analysis essay example

A Critical Analysis Essay is a form of academic writing that requires students to extract information and critically analyze a specific topic. The task may seem daunting, but with the right approach, it can become an exciting task. 

Critical Analysis Essays help students improve their analytical skills and foster principles of logic. In this article, we are going to discuss how to write an essay and break it down for you. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride!

Table Of Content

What is a critical analysis essay, why the subject of your critical analysis essay is important, 5 reading strategies for critical analysis essay, building the body of your analysis, 5 things to avoid when writing your critical analysis essay, write smarter critical analysis essay with jotbot — start writing for free today.

essay written on a laptop screen - Critical Analysis Essay

When you write a critical analysis essay, you move beyond recounting the subject's main points and delve into examining it with a discerning eye. The goal? To form your own insights about the subject, based on the evidence you gather. 

This involves dissecting and contemplating the author's arguments , techniques, and themes while also developing your own critical response. While forming your own conclusions may sound intimidating, it's a key aspect of fine-tuning your critical thinking skills and organizing your thoughts into a cohesive, argumentative response. 

Key Skills in the Craft

This process consists of two key elements: understanding the core components of the subject and forming your own critical response, both supported by evidence. The first part involves grasping the subject's main arguments, techniques, and themes. The second part entails taking that knowledge and constructing your analytical and evaluative response. 

Deconstructing the Subject

In other words, roll up your sleeves and get deep into the subject matter. Start by identifying the author's main point, deconstructing their arguments, examining the structure and techniques they use, and exploring the underlying themes and messages. By engaging with the subject on this level, you'll have a thorough understanding of it and be better prepared to develop your own response. 

The Power of Evidence

Remember that evidence is your secret weapon for crafting a convincing analysis. This means going beyond summarizing the content and instead using specific examples from the subject to support your own arguments and interpretations. Evidence isn't just about facts, either; it can also be used to address the effectiveness of the subject, highlighting both its strengths and weaknesses. 

The Art of Evaluation

Lastly, put your evaluation skills to work. Critically assess the subject's effectiveness, pinpointing its strengths and potential shortcomings. From there, you can offer your own interpretation, supported by evidence from the subject itself. This is where you put everything you've learned about the subject to the test, showcasing your analytical skills and proving your point.

Related Reading

• Argumentative Essay • Essay Format • Expository Essay • Essay Outline • How To Write A Conclusion For An Essay • Transition Sentences • Narrative Essay • Rhetorical Analysis Essay • Persuasive Essay

girl writing on a copy about Critical Analysis Essay

Let’s delve on the importance of understanding the Work you'll be analyzing:

Main Argument

When diving into a work, one must unravel the central point or message the author is conveying. All other analyses stem from this fundamental point. By identifying and comprehending the main argument, one can dissect the various elements that support it, revealing the author's stance or point of view.

Themes are the underlying concepts and messages explored in the subject matter. By venturing into the depths of themes, one can unravel the layers of meaning within the work. Understanding these underlying ideas not only enriches the analysis but also sheds light on the author's intentions and insights.

Structure & Techniques

Understanding how the work is built - be it a chronological story, persuasive arguments, or the use of figurative language - provides insight into the author's craft. Structure and techniques can influence the way the work is perceived, and by dissecting them, one can appreciate the intricacies of the author's style and the impact it has on the audience.

In critical analysis, understanding the context can add an extra layer of depth to the analysis. Considering the historical, social, or cultural context in which the work was created can provide valuable insights into the author's influences, intentions, and the reception of the work. While not always necessary, contextual analysis can elucidate aspects of the work that might otherwise go unnoticed.

To conduct a comprehensive critical analysis , understanding the work you'll be analyzing is the foundation on which all other interpretations rely. By identifying the main argument, themes, structure, techniques, and context, a nuanced and insightful analysis can be crafted. This step sets the stage for a thorough examination of the work, bringing to light the nuances and complexities that make critical analysis a valuable tool in literary and artistic exploration.

person holding a book on Critical Analysis Essay

1. Close Reading: Go Deeper Than Skimming

Close reading is a focused approach to reading where you don't just skim the text. Instead, you pay close attention to every word, sentence, and detail. By doing this, you can uncover hidden meanings, themes, and literary devices that you might miss if you were reading too quickly. I recommend underlining or annotating key passages, literary devices, or recurring ideas. This helps you remember these important details later on when you're writing your critical analysis essay.

2. Active Note-Taking to Capture Important Points

When reading a text for a critical analysis essay, it's important to take active notes that go beyond summarizing the plot or main points. Instead, try jotting down the author's arguments, interesting details, confusing sections, and potential evidence for your analysis. These notes will give you a solid foundation to build your essay upon and will help you keep track of all the important elements of the text.

3. Identify Recurring Ideas: Look for Patterns

In a critical analysis essay, it's crucial to recognize recurring ideas, themes, motifs, or symbols that might hold deeper meaning. By looking for patterns in the text, you can uncover hidden messages or themes that the author might be trying to convey. Ask yourself why these elements are used repeatedly and how they contribute to the overall message of the text. By identifying these patterns, you can craft a more nuanced analysis of the text.

4. Consider the Author's Purpose

Authorial intent is an essential concept to consider when writing a critical analysis essay. Think about the author's goals: are they trying to inform, persuade, entertain, or something else entirely? Understanding the author's purpose can help you interpret the text more accurately and can give you insight into the author's motivations for writing the text in the first place.

5.  Question and Analyze your Arguments

In a critical analysis essay, it's important to take a critical approach to the text. Question the author's ideas, analyze the effectiveness of their arguments, and consider different interpretations. By approaching the text with a critical eye, you can craft a more thorough and nuanced analysis that goes beyond a surface-level reading of the text.

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person writing checklist for Critical Analysis Essay

Let’s delve on the essentials of building the body of your analysis: 

Topic Sentence Breakdown: The Purpose of a Strong Topic Sentence

A powerful topic sentence in each paragraph of your critical analysis essay serves as a roadmap for your reader. It tells them the focus of the paragraph, introducing the main point you will explore and tying it back to your thesis. For instance, in an essay about the role of symbolism in "The Great Gatsby," a topic sentence might read, "Fitzgerald's use of the green light symbolizes Gatsby's unattainable dreams, highlighting the theme of the American Dream's illusion."

Evidence Integration: The Significance of Evidence from the Subject

To bolster your arguments, you need to use evidence from the subject you are analyzing. For example, in "To Kill a Mockingbird," when explaining Atticus Finch's moral compass, using a quote like, "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view - until you climb into his skin and walk around in it," can back up your analysis. It proves that the character values empathy and understanding.

Textual Evidence: Integrating Quotes, Paraphrases, or Specific Details

When you quote or paraphrase text, ensure it directly relates to your analysis. For example, when discussing Sylvia Plath's use of imagery in "The Bell Jar," quote, "I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story." This paints a vivid picture for readers and helps solidify your point about the protagonist's feelings of entrapment.

Visual Evidence: Analyzing Specific Elements in the Artwork

If you are analyzing a painting, you can use visual details like color, lines, or symbolism as evidence. For instance, if exploring Van Gogh's "Starry Night," you could delve into the calming effect of the swirls in the sky or the stark contrast between the bright stars and the dark village below. This visual evidence helps explain the painting's emotional impact on viewers.

Analysis & Explanation: The Importance of Going Beyond Evidence Presentation

When examining evidence, don't stop at merely presenting it. Analyze how it supports your thesis. For instance, when exploring the role of the conch in "Lord of the Flies," after showing how it represents order, explain how its loss signals the boys' descent into savagery. By unpacking the evidence's meaning, you help readers understand why it matters and how it connects to your overall argument.

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1. Avoiding Summary vs. Analysis Pitfalls

When crafting a critical analysis essay, it's crucial not to fall into the trap of merely summarizing the subject without offering your own critical analysis. A summary merely recaps the content, while an analysis breaks down and interprets the subject. If you overlook this vital distinction, your essay will lack the depth and insight that characterize a strong critical analysis. Ensure your critical analysis essay doesn't read like an extended book report.

2. Steering Clear of Weak Thesis Statements

A critical analysis essay lives and dies on the strength of its thesis statement, the central argument that guides your analysis. A weak or vague thesis statement will result in an unfocused essay devoid of direction, leaving readers unclear about your point of view. It's essential to craft a thesis statement that is specific, arguable, and concise, setting the tone for a thoughtful and illuminating analysis.

3. Using Evidence is Key

The use of evidence from the subject matter under analysis is instrumental in substantiating your critical claims. Without evidence to back up your assertions, your analysis will appear unsubstantiated and unconvincing. Be sure to provide detailed examples, quotes, or data from the text under scrutiny to support your analysis. Evidence adds credibility, depth, and weight to your critical analysis essay.

4. The Importance of Clear and Supported Analysis

A successful critical analysis essay goes beyond simply presenting evidence to analyzing its significance and connecting it to your central argument. If your essay lacks clear analysis, readers won't understand the relevance of the evidence you present. Go beyond description to interpret the evidence, explaining its implications and how it supports your thesis. Without this analysis, your essay will lack depth and will not persuade your audience.

5. Addressing Counter Arguments

In a critical analysis essay, it's vital to acknowledge and engage with potential counterarguments. Ignoring opposing viewpoints undermines the credibility of your essay, presenting a one-sided argument that lacks nuance. Addressing counter arguments demonstrates that you understand the complexity of the issue and can anticipate and respond to objections. 

By incorporating counterarguments, you strengthen your analysis and enhance the overall persuasiveness of your critical essay.

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critical argument analysis essay example

How to Write a Critical Analysis Essay?

critical argument analysis essay example

So, you want to write a critical analysis essay, but it feels a bit overwhelming, right? No worries! We're here to guide you through the process step by step. Whether you're a pro or a newbie, we've got practical tips and insights to help you nail your critical analysis essay. Let's make this academic adventure a bit less scary and a lot more exciting.

Have you ever wondered, "How to write a critical analysis essay?" We get it. It's not as easy as just summarizing stuff. But fear not! In this article, we're going to break down the whole process for you. Whether you're a seasoned thinker or just dipping your toes into critical analysis, we've got your back. Get ready for some straightforward advice to help you tackle that critical analysis essay like a champ. Let's do this together! For additional reading, please consult our guide on how to write an essay in general.

What Is Critical Analysis Essay?

A critical analysis essay is a type of academic writing in which the writer evaluates and interprets a piece of literature, artwork, film, music, or any other work of art. The primary purpose of a critical analysis essay is to assess the effectiveness or merit of the work in question, providing insights into its strengths, weaknesses, and overall impact.

Writing critical analysis essay demands a thoughtful, informed, and evaluative approach to a work, with a focus on details, evidence, and interpretation. It's an exercise in understanding the layers and complexities within creation and expressing your informed perspective on its merits and shortcomings.

  • The primary purpose of a critical analysis essay is to assess and evaluate a specific work, such as a piece of literature, art, film, or any other cultural creation. Unlike a summary, where you merely recap the content, a critical analysis delves deeper. It aims to explore the work's meaning, effectiveness, and significance.

Depth of Research

  • To conduct a thorough critical analysis, you often need to go beyond surface-level understanding. This might involve researching the background of the author or artist, understanding the historical context, and exploring any relevant cultural influences. The depth of research ensures that your analysis is well-informed and provides a nuanced perspective.
  • Learning how to write critical analysis paper involves paying attention to subtle details and nuances within the work. This could include examining the use of literary devices, artistic techniques, symbolism, or the choices made by the creator. Identifying these nuances allows you to offer a more insightful and detailed analysis.

Evidence-Based Insights

  • A strong critical analysis is not merely an expression of personal opinion but is supported by evidence from the work itself. This might involve quoting specific lines from a text, describing particular scenes in a film, or pointing to elements within a piece of art. By using evidence, you strengthen your argument and make your analysis more persuasive.

Judgment and Evaluation

  • The analysis goes beyond observation; it includes forming a judgment about the work. This involves assessing its strengths and weaknesses. You might discuss what the creator did well and where improvements could be made. This evaluative aspect adds depth to your analysis and demonstrates your engagement with the work.

Insights and Interpretation

  • A critical analysis invites interpretation. It's an opportunity to express your unique perspective on the work and offer insights that might not be immediately apparent. This could involve exploring symbolism, thematic connections, or the impact of specific artistic choices.

Critical Analysis Essay Outline

Here's a basic outline for critical analysis essay. Remember, this is a general outline, and you may need to adjust it based on the specific requirements of your assignment or the nature of the work you are analyzing.


Introduction to the Work

  • Briefly introduce the work being analyzed.
  • Provide necessary background information about the author, artist, or creator.

Thesis Statement

  • State the main argument or perspective you will present in your analysis.
  • Provide a concise summary of the work.
  • Ensure that readers have a basic understanding of the content and context.

Introduction to Analysis

  • Briefly explain the specific elements you will analyze (e.g., themes, characters, techniques).

Element 1 Analysis

  • Discuss the first element in detail.
  • Provide evidence from the work to support your analysis.

Element 2 Analysis

  • Repeat the process for the second element.
  • Again, support your analysis with relevant evidence.

Additional Elements (if needed)

  • Include additional elements you plan to analyze.
  • Provide analysis and evidence for each.

Introduction to Evaluation

  • Briefly explain the criteria you will use to evaluate the work.

Positive Aspects

  • Discuss the strengths or positive aspects of the work.
  • Support your evaluation with evidence.

Areas for Improvement

  • Discuss weaknesses or areas where the work could be improved.
  • Again, support your evaluation with evidence.

Summary of Analysis and Evaluation

  • Summarize the main points of your analysis.
  • Recap your evaluation.

Final Thoughts

  • Offer any final insights or reflections.
  • Restate the significance of your analysis.

How to Start a Critical Analysis Essay

Writing critical analysis essay involves a systematic and thoughtful approach. Remember, the critical analysis essay is an opportunity to showcase your ability to analyze and evaluate a work thoughtfully. It's essential to provide clear reasoning and support your arguments with evidence from the work itself. 

To learn how to start a critical analysis essay, it is crucial to begin with a compelling introduction that captivates the reader's attention and sets the stage for the subsequent analysis. Start by providing contextual information about the work under scrutiny, including the author, artist, or creator, and briefly outlining the overall content. Engage your audience by posing a thought-provoking question, presenting a relevant quote, or offering a striking observation of the subject matter. 

Clearly articulate the main purpose of your analysis and introduce your thesis statement, which succinctly encapsulates the central argument you will be exploring in the essay. By establishing a solid foundation in the introduction, you invite readers to delve into your critical examination with a clear understanding of your perspective and the significance of the work at hand. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you through the entire writing process:

How to Write a Critical Analysis Essay

Understand the Assignment

  • Read the assignment instructions carefully.
  • Identify the specific work (e.g., a book, film, artwork) you need to analyze.
  • Note any guidelines or criteria provided by your instructor.

Choose a Literary Work

  • If the work is not assigned, select one that interests you and aligns with the assignment requirements.

Read/View/Experience the Work

  • Engage with the work attentively.
  • Take notes on significant details, themes, characters, and any elements that stand out.

Research Background Information

  • Gather information about the author, artist, or creator.
  • Understand the historical and cultural context if relevant.

Develop a Thesis Statement

  • Formulate a clear thesis statement that presents the main argument or perspective you will explore in your analysis.

Create an Outline

  • Structure your essay with an introduction, body paragraphs for analysis, an evaluation section, and a conclusion.
  • Use the outline provided earlier as a template.

Write the Introduction

  • Introduce the work and provide essential background information.
  • Present your thesis statement, outlining the focus of your analysis.

Write the Summary

  • Provide a concise summary of the work, ensuring readers have a basic understanding of its content and context.

Analyze Specific Elements

  • Follow your outline to analyze specific elements of the work.
  • Discuss themes, characters, techniques, or any other relevant aspects.

Evaluate the Work

  • Introduce your criteria for evaluation.
  • Discuss the positive aspects of the work, supporting your points with evidence.
  • Address areas for improvement, again using evidence to support your evaluation.

Write the Conclusion

  • Summarize the main points of your analysis and evaluation.
  • Restate your thesis and its significance.
  • Offer final thoughts or reflections.

Revise and Edit

  • Review your essay for clarity, coherence, and consistency.
  • Check for grammatical errors, typos, and proper citation if applicable.

Seek Feedback (Optional)

  • If possible, get feedback from peers, instructors, or writing centers to refine your essay.

Finalize Your Essay

  • Make any necessary revisions based on feedback.
  • Ensure your essay meets the assignment requirements.

Cite Sources (If Required)

  • If you used external sources for background information, quotes, or references, ensure proper citation according to the specified style guide (e.g., APA, MLA).

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critical argument analysis essay example

Critical Analysis Essay Topics

Students can explore a myriad of thought-provoking topics for critical analysis essay for their across various disciplines. For example, you might dissect the portrayal of power dynamics in dystopian novels or scrutinize the evolution of a character's identity throughout a classic work. Venturing into the cinematic landscape, students could critically analyze the symbolism and visual storytelling techniques in a renowned film or examine the cultural commentary embedded in a contemporary piece. For those inclined toward the visual arts, delving into the complexities of a particular artwork or artistic movement offers an opportunity to unravel hidden meanings. Moreover, students may consider such critical analysis essay ideas as the representation of gender roles, the impact of technology on human connections, or the exploration of mental health in literature. Consider the following topic examples:

  • Identity and self-discovery in 'The Catcher in the Rye.'
  • The impact of social media on interpersonal relationships.
  • Symbolism in Edgar Allan Poe's 'The Raven.'
  • Gender roles in the film 'Wonder Woman.'
  • Environmental conservation messages in Nike advertisements.
  • Historical accuracy in 'The Crown' TV series.
  • Technology's role in shaping modern higher education.
  • Cultural significance of traditional Japanese Noh theatre.
  • Portrayal of mental health in 'BoJack Horseman.'
  • Ethical implications of CRISPR gene editing.
  • Metaphor in Martin Luther King Jr.'s 'I Have a Dream' speech.
  • Impact of Affordable Care Act on healthcare accessibility.
  • Symbolism in Leonardo da Vinci's 'Mona Lisa.'
  • Influence of jazz on American society.
  • Representation of diversity in 'The Sneetches' by Dr. Seuss.
  • Role of humor in addressing social issues in Dave Chappelle's comedy special.
  • Effectiveness of anti-smoking public service announcements.
  • Portrayal of cultural clashes in 'The Joy Luck Club.'
  • Impact of artificial intelligence on daily life.
  • Role of education in addressing economic inequality.

Tips for Writing a Critical Analysis Essay

Thoroughly understand the work.

Before diving into a critical analysis essay, ensure a comprehensive understanding of the work. Read a literary piece multiple times, watch a film attentively, or study an artwork closely. Take notes on key elements, themes, and characters to form a solid foundation for your analysis.

Focus on Specific Elements

Instead of attempting to analyze the entire work, narrow down your focus to specific elements. This could include examining the use of symbolism, characterization, narrative structure, or visual techniques. By concentrating on specific aspects, you can provide a more in-depth and focused analysis.

Support Your Analysis with Evidence

A critical analysis is strengthened by providing evidence from the work itself. Quote specific lines from a text, reference particular scenes in a film, or describe elements in an artwork. This evidence supports your interpretation and demonstrates a deep engagement with the work.

Consider the Context

Acknowledge the context in which the work was created. Consider the historical, cultural, and social background that might influence its meaning. Understanding the context allows you to offer a more nuanced analysis, recognizing the creator's intent and the work's relevance within a broader framework.

How to Format a Critical Analysis Essay?

Critical analysis essay format follows general guidelines for academic writing. Always refer to your assignment guidelines and any specific instructions from your instructor, as formatting requirements can vary. Here's a typical structure in terms of formatting:

  • Include the title of your essay, your name, the course title, the instructor's name, and the date.
  • Follow any specific formatting instructions provided by your instructor.
  • Begin with a strong introduction that introduces the work and provides essential background information.
  • State your thesis clearly and concisely.

Body Paragraphs

  • Organize your analysis into well-structured paragraphs.
  • Each paragraph should focus on a specific element or aspect of the work.
  • Begin each paragraph with a clear topic sentence that relates to your thesis.

Analysis and Evidence

  • Analyze the chosen elements of the work thoroughly.
  • Support your analysis with evidence, such as quotes, examples, or specific scenes.
  • Ensure that your analysis is logical and well-connected.
  • Include a section where you evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the work.
  • Discuss what works well and areas that could be improved.
  • Provide thoughtful judgments and support them with evidence.
  • Restate your thesis and highlight the significance of your analysis.
  • Offer any final thoughts or reflections.

References or Works Cited

  • Include a list of all the sources you cited in your essay.
  • Follow the citation style (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.) specified by your instructor.

Formatting Style

  • Use a standard font (e.g., Times New Roman, Arial) in 12-point size.
  • Double-space the entire essay.
  • Set 1-inch margins on all sides.
  • Align text to the left; do not justify.

Page Numbers

  • Number pages consecutively, starting from the title page (if applicable).
  • Place page numbers in the header or footer.

Additional Instructions

  • Follow any additional formatting guidelines provided by your instructor.
  • Check for any specific requirements regarding headers, footers, or additional elements.

Following a clear and consistent format ensures that your critical analysis essay is well-organized and easy to read.

Critical Analysis Essay Example

We believe that a critical analysis essay sample can help students master the intricacies of a particular assignment. In this article, we’ve decided to give you two different examples that will definitely inspire you to move the needle when tackling this task.

The Symbolism of Light and Dark in Shakespeare's "Macbeth"

William Shakespeare's tragedy "Macbeth" explores the intricate interplay of light and dark imagery as symbols throughout the play. In this critical analysis, we will delve into how Shakespeare employs these symbols to convey complex themes and character motivations. The juxtaposition of light and dark in "Macbeth" serves as a powerful metaphor for the moral and psychological transformations undergone by the characters.

Shakespeare strategically employs light and dark imagery to signify moral clarity and corruption. In the opening scenes, the protagonist – Macbeth – associates darkness with deception and evil intentions. For instance, when contemplating regicide, Macbeth implores the stars to "hide [their] fires; Let not light see my black and deep desires" (1.4.50-51). The contrast between light and dark intensifies as the narrative progresses, underscoring the characters' moral dilemmas.

As Macbeth succumbs to his ambition, the imagery of darkness deepens. The murder of King Duncan occurs under the cover of night, symbolizing the moral obscurity of Macbeth's actions. The once honorable protagonist descends into darkness both metaphorically and literally, as evidenced by Lady Macbeth's plea to "come, thick night, / And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell" (1.5.49-50). The darkness that initially masked his ambitions becomes a pervasive element in Macbeth's psyche.

Interestingly, the play also presents a paradoxical relationship between light and darkness. While darkness represents evil, light is not always synonymous with goodness. The false sense of security in the daylight becomes apparent as Macbeth's heinous deeds unfold. Banquo's murder, planned in broad daylight, challenges the traditional association of light with virtue, revealing the deceptive nature of appearances.

In conclusion, Shakespeare's adept use of light and dark imagery in "Macbeth" contributes to the thematic richness of the play. The evolving symbolism underscores the moral complexities the characters face, particularly Macbeth, as they navigate the consequences of their choices. By examining the nuanced interplay of light and dark, we gain profound insights into the psychological and moral dimensions of Shakespeare's tragic narrative.

The Dystopian Mirror: A Critical Analysis of Societal Portrayal in George Orwell's "1984"

George Orwell's "1984" stands as a dystopian masterpiece, a haunting vision of a totalitarian society that raises profound questions about power, control, and individual agency. In this critical analysis, we will delve into how Orwell's portrayal of society in "1984" serves as a reflection of his concerns about government overreach and the erosion of personal freedoms.

Orwell's vision of an omnipresent surveillance state in "1984" serves as a chilling forecast of the erosion of privacy in contemporary society. The ubiquitous presence of telescreens and the Thought Police in the novel underscores the dangers of unchecked governmental power. Through the character of Winston Smith, Orwell illustrates the psychological impact of living under constant surveillance and the pervasive fear of dissent.

Orwell introduces the concept of Newspeak, a language designed to eliminate rebellious thoughts, further illustrating the manipulative power of the state. The controlled language in "1984" becomes a tool for thought control, limiting the ability of individuals to articulate dissenting ideas. This linguistic manipulation echoes Orwell's concerns about the potential distortion of truth and the stifling of independent thought in a society governed by authoritarian rule.

The portrayal of Big Brother in "1984" serves as a powerful commentary on the creation of a cult of personality to consolidate power. The Party's ability to shape and control public perception through the iconic figure of Big Brother reflects Orwell's apprehensions about manipulating truth and the dangers of blind loyalty to charismatic leaders. The relentless propaganda in the novel underscores the potential consequences of unchecked authority on societal values.

To sum up, George Orwell's "1984" remains a poignant critique of societal structures that compromise individual freedoms in the pursuit of unchecked power. Through the vivid portrayal of surveillance, linguistic manipulation, and the cult of personality, Orwell prompts readers to reflect on the fragility of democratic values. As we navigate the complexities of our own society, the warnings embedded in "1984" continue to resonate, urging us to remain vigilant against threats to individual autonomy and the integrity of truth.

Learning how to write critical analysis essays is crucial for students as it cultivates essential skills vital for academic and professional success. Firstly, it hones their analytical thinking abilities, enabling them to dissect complex ideas, texts, or artworks and discern underlying themes, motifs, and messages. This skill is invaluable in academia, where critical analysis forms the cornerstone of scholarly discourse and research. 

Secondly, critical analysis writing fosters effective communication skills as students learn to articulate their thoughts coherently, provide evidence-based arguments, and engage with diverse perspectives. Such proficiency not only enhances their academic writing but also prepares them for future endeavors in fields such as research, journalism, or policymaking. Does that sound interesting, or maybe you would like to do something different today rather than critique literary works? In that case, pay for an essay and have a wonderful evening! 

Frequently asked questions

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Writing a Critical Analysis

What is in this guide, definitions, putting it together, tips and examples of critques.

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This guide is meant to help you understand the basics of writing a critical analysis. A critical analysis is an argument about a particular piece of media. There are typically two parts: (1) identify and explain the argument the author is making, and (2), provide your own argument about that argument. Your instructor may have very specific requirements on how you are to write your critical analysis, so make sure you read your assignment carefully.

critical argument analysis essay example

Critical Analysis

A deep approach to your understanding of a piece of media by relating new knowledge to what you already know.

Part 1: Introduction

  • Identify the work being criticized.
  • Present thesis - argument about the work.
  • Preview your argument - what are the steps you will take to prove your argument.

Part 2: Summarize

  • Provide a short summary of the work.
  • Present only what is needed to know to understand your argument.

Part 3: Your Argument

  • This is the bulk of your paper.
  • Provide "sub-arguments" to prove your main argument.
  • Use scholarly articles to back up your argument(s).

Part 4: Conclusion

  • Reflect on  how  you have proven your argument.
  • Point out the  importance  of your argument.
  • Comment on the potential for further research or analysis.
  • Cornell University Library Tips for writing a critical appraisal and analysis of a scholarly article.
  • Queen's University Library How to Critique an Article (Psychology)
  • University of Illinois, Springfield An example of a summary and an evaluation of a research article. This extended example shows the different ways a student can critique and write about an article
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  • Last Updated: Feb 14, 2024 4:33 PM
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How to Write a Critical Analysis Essay: Examples & Guide

A critical analysis essay is an academic paper that requires a thorough examination of theoretical concepts and ideas. It includes a comparison of facts, differentiation between evidence and argument, and identification of biases.

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Crafting a good paper can be a daunting experience, but it will be much easier if you have the right approach. In this guide by our custom writing team, you will find:

  • Different types of critical analysis;
  • Best ways to structure your essay;
  • Two excellent critical analysis essay examples.
  • 📝 Critical Analysis Definition
  • ✍️ Writing Guide
  • ✅ Critical Analysis Types
  • 📑 Examples & Tips

📝 What Is a Critical Analysis?

Criticism is the process of appraising things such as works of art and literature. It comes from the word meaning “able to make judgments”. A critical analysis essay is often referred to as a critical thinking essay, critical response paper, critical evaluation essay, and summary and response essay.

When we hear the word “criticism,” we often associate it with negative judgments. However, to criticize doesn’t necessarily mean to find faults. Even though criticism involves active disagreement, it strives to understand the meaning further and evaluate its efficiency. We call it constructive criticism .

In other words, critical analysis is an evaluation of a piece of work that promotes its better understanding . Have a look at this comparison and see what critical analysis is and what it isn’t:

Aside from art and literature, critical analysis is often used in theoretical research, nursing, and social work. In any of these areas, you have an opportunity to exercise your critical faculties.

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Analysis in Writing: Definition & Examples

Analysis is a step you take before writing any paper. It’s aimed at evaluating and interpreting the sources. To do it, you break them down and study them in detail. You can learn more from this article on critical analysis by Southeastern Louisiana University .

In the following table, we’ve compiled several forms of analysis in writing and illustrated each type with a topic example:

What Is the Difference between Summary and Analysis?

Students often confuse analysis with summary and get a lower grade as a result. Here is how two notions differ. A summary is a brief restatement of the text’s main points that involves paraphrasing. An analysis is a detailed examination of the evidence that uncovers something new.

Check out this comparison to understand the difference better:

✍️ How to Write a Critical Analysis Essay

Now, we will show you the steps to writing a critical analysis with examples to guide you through this process. Keep in mind that the purpose of your critical analysis paper is to help readers understand a subject to a full extent.

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The picture shows the 2 stages of critical analysis.

Critical analysis consists of two stages: critical reading and critical writing. Read on to learn more about them.

Critical Reading Examples & Definition

Critical reading a technique that involves discovering and evaluating the text’s meaning and incorporating it into what you already know. It’s the first stage of critical analysis.

According to Cleveland State University, critical reading occurs after you’ve skimmed the research material and decided where to focus your efforts. While you are reading, use the following techniques to stay on track:

  • Determine the central claim and identify how it is argued;
  • Look for the large patterns that give purpose, order, and meaning to arguments;
  • Contextualize the text within an original historical, political, or religious context;
  • Distinguish the kinds of reasoning and methodology the text employs;
  • Examine the evidence;
  • Recognize manipulations.

When it comes to recognizing manipulations, authors use three persuasive appeals to convince their readers of something: ethos , pathos , and logos .

Now, let’s apply the critical reading techniques to an actual text:

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The death estimates during the US invasions of Tokyo were exaggerated by a factor of ten to twenty. The wartime casualty estimates were based on inaccurate assumptions. The data was not updated to exclude the civilians’ deaths and justify the strategic decision to drop off an atomic bomb.

  • What is the text saying?  US bombs killed up to two million people.
  • What is the text doing?  The death estimates were exaggerated to downplay the casualties and emphasize the importance of dropping the atomic bomb.

When you are able to recognize these persuasive modes in your reading, you can master them in writing.

What Is Critical Writing: Definition & Techniques

Critical writing is a process of commenting on another piece of work using several writing strategies. It is the second stage of critical analysis.

Want to know how to write critically? Have a look at the following tips:

  • Take a critical stance: recognize that every text comes from a perspective and is subject to interpretation.
  • Pay close attention: look not only for the facts but also for explanations.
  • Think big picture : put your sources in context with the time it was written.
  • Bring yourself in: consider the connections between several texts and add your own perspective.

When it comes to the critical writing, certain strategies can be beneficial. Yet, others are better to avoid. We’ve compiled the most important dos and don’ts in the table below:

Want to learn more? Check out our article on critical writing .

Critical Analysis Essay Topics: How to Choose

Now that you’ve learned about critical analysis, there is a big question to answer: how do you choose the topic for your essay? It might require using a specific strategy to make the right choice.

Many students find it helpful to have a list of critical thinking questions to answer while brainstorming. We’ve prepared them for you:

  • Theme : How well does the author approach the central theme? Are the arguments strong enough?
  • Organization : Is this piece of work well-structured and easy to follow?
  • Audience : Who is the audience? Are there any manipulations the author is using to persuade the reader?
  • Tone : Is there a specific tone used by the author throughout their work? How does it affect the reader?
  • Bias and informational gaps : Does the author look at their work from several angles? Are there any contradicting arguments or missing information?
  • Word choice : Does the author invent new words? Is the vocabulary serious or silly, casual or technical? How does it affect the overall writing?
  • Logos : Does the author use logic to prove their point?
  • Ethos : Does the author have any proof of their credibility? Do they claim to be an expert? In what ways is the reader’s trust gained?
  • Pathos : Does the author use emotion to connect with the reader? Does the writing appeal to common beliefs and values?

Answering these questions will help you with deciding on critical thinking essay topics. If you want some additional inspiration, feel free to use our topic generator .

Critical Analysis Template

After carefully analyzing all of your sources, you can start writing your first draft using our critical analysis template. Use this outline to structure your essay and to ensure your arguments are related to your thesis.

The picture shows the main parts of a critical analysis essay.

How to Start a Critical Analysis Essay

To create an outstanding opening paragraph, you may want to start it with a hook. It can be a quote from your source or a rhetorical question. Be sure to make it catchy so that it will grab your reader’s attention.

After you’re done with the hook, write the following:

  • the work’s title and some background information,
  • an outline of the main ideas from your sources,
  • your thesis statement.

Here are two introduction examples for your inspiration:

What happens when there is a considerable wage gap between the upper and middle classes? The unsurprising reality forces poor people to use credit cards to pay off their debt. Credit card industries collect interest from those who can’t pay off their debt right away.

A romantic novel Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is about overcoming social stereotypes in the name of love. Its main character, Elizabeth Bennet, has to fight against her discrimination against wealthy men like Mr. Darcy to find love and be happy.

Critical Analysis Essay: Thesis

A thesis statement is what you are aiming to prove. Ideally, it should be the first thing you write because every other part of your critical analysis paper will be connected to it.

To create a strong thesis statement, you want to start with a broader idea of what you would like to critique. Then, you narrow it down. Choose a debatable thesis so you can back it up with evidence from your sources and anchor your entire paper around it.

The examples below will help you write your essay’s thesis:

People in positions of power are less likely to recognize the social injustice than marginalized groups of the civilian population.

In a 1989 American superhero film Batman, Tim Burton subverts the concept of heroism by refraining Batman from murder and making him morally ambiguous.

Critical Analysis Essays: Summary and Response

The body paragraphs of a critical essay consist of your source’s summary and a response with arguments.

The picture shows the 2 stages of analyzing sources for a critical essay.

A summary should present specific facts from your source to help your reader understand your arguments better. You can use these sentence starters to structure a summary:

  • The book is about…
  • The theme of the article is…
  • The author argues that…
  • The author concludes…
  • The main character is…
  • The main points are…

The main plot of Elizabeth Bennet’s plan to save her family from poverty intersects with stereotypes that romantic love and marriage don’t go together. She does not accept a marriage proposal from Mr. Darcy because she does not want to be walking proof that women marry for money. The rejected proposal leads Darcy to open up and change Elizabeth’s perception of him.

A response should present your main arguments that support your thesis statement. Each argument is a sub-thesis that connects to your central thesis. It’s crucial to discuss each point in detail and prove it with strong evidence.

Your arguments should be:

  • clear, informative, and persuasive;
  • well-researched and backed up with solid evidence;
  • connected to your thesis.

At first, Elizabeth Bennet sees Mr. Darcy only as a powerful man with wealth and high social status. For her, he represents a marriage of convenience that she is so desperately trying to fight against. After Mr. Darcy attempts to separate Jane and Bingley, Elizabeth gets proof for her ideas about powerful men who do everything in their power to destroy a loving relationship for a better financial suit.

Critical Essay Outline: Conclusion

The final stage of essay writing is to ensure you have proven your arguments. The goal of your conclusion is to remind the reader of your thesis and the essay’s main points. You may also want to leave them with some final statements for consideration.

Keep in mind that the concluding paragraph is not a place to introduce new evidence. Instead, you can do the following:

  • Restate your thesis;
  • Summarize your main ideas;
  • Talk about the work’s overall performance or outcome;
  • Identify potential opportunities for further research or investigation.

Elizabeth Bennet struggles with the societal association of marriage with financial stability. Eventually, she marries a rich man, Mr. Darcy, but she marries him for love rather than his money and social status. Her pride and prejudice towards him were destroyed by his acts of kindness and true love. Their relationship had a rough start, but both of them could get their happy ending by breaking out of old beliefs and habits.

✅ Types of Critical Analysis

Choosing the correct type of analysis will help you stay on track with your research objectives. It will give you the anchor to develop your essay around in a systematic manner.

Critical analysis can be categorized into 4 main types:

  • Literary analysis gives a critical evaluation of a literary text.
  • Article analysis reflects upon arguments presented in an article.
  • Media analysis essay interprets messages conveyed through visual media, music, or radio.
  • Cultural analysis interprets cultural phenomena and practices.

Literary Analysis: Definition & Characteristics

Literary analysis is an argument that expresses one’s critical evaluation of a poem, novel, short story, or play. A critique of literature has the same characteristics as other types of critical essays. The difference is the kind of information you can include in this type of essay.

Here’s how to analyze literature:

You will find more interesting info in our article on literary analysis essays .

How to Write an Analysis of an Article

Critical analysis of an article aims to analyze the writing strategies and techniques an author uses to develop their argument. The process is a little different than persuading the reader to accept a particular point of view. Here is a sample outline:

Critical Film Analysis: Types & How to Write

Film analysis goes beyond the plot structure and includes composition elements such as camera work, lighting, costume choices, etc. After watching the film at least twice, you can select what type of film analysis you will be performing. Check out the types and see what they’re about:

  • Semiotic analysis involves interpretation of signs and symbols within a film.
  • Narrative analysis examines the story the film seeks to tell.
  • Historical analysis is an examination of a film’s relationship to a cultural or historical context.
  • Mise-en-scène analysis is an analysis of compositional elements used in a scene or a single shot.

Once you’ve chosen a topic, use this outline to guide you through the writing process:

You can learn more from our article on film analysis .

How to Write a Cultural Analysis Essay

Critical analysis essay refers to your comment upon one specific cultural aspect that works or doesn’t work in a society. After you’ve chosen a topic for your cultural analysis paper, you can start drafting your outline. Here is how the structure of this kind of paper differs from others:

Critical Analysis Essay Topics

  • Critical analysis of qualitative research article.
  • Rhetorical analysis of articles on qualitative studies in healthcare.
  • American Exodus by James N. Gregory: Rhetorical Analysis.
  • Critical analysis of religion and faith .
  • Analyze the sonnet My Mistress’ Eyes by W. Shakespeare .
  • Critical essay on issues of cognitive neuroscience.
  • A Doll House as an example of feminist literature: rhetorical analysis.
  • Conduct a comparative critical analysis of Judaism and Christianity.
  • Rhetorical analysis of an Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf .
  • Semantic meaning of The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath .
  • Critical evaluation of Seligman articles.
  • Analyze psychological literature based on A Clean, Well-Lighted Place by E. Hemingway.
  • Rhetorical analysis of literary devices and expressive means in A Good Man Is Hard to Find .
  • Analyze the characteristic features of drama using the example of Death of a Salesman .
  • Critical analysis of the most popular business strategies .
  • Discuss the problem of childhood obesity in Active Living by Van Kann.
  • Analyze IT strategies and planning.
  • Critical analysis of a controversial art using the example of Home by Yann Arthus-Bertrand.
  • Emotional impact of comedy films.
  • Rhetorical analysis of Sophocles’ Antigone as an example of Greek drama.
  • Influence of Socrate’s philosophy on the ancient Greek playwrights.
  • Critical analysis of Sophocles’ plays.
  • Different sets of values in Everyday Use by A. Walker .
  • Analysis of corporate crimes using the example of Lehman Brothers’ scandal.
  • Critical analysis of a scientific article based on Nursing Pain Management .
  • Different interpretations of A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor.
  • Critical analysis of Longinus’ idea of sublime .
  • The importance of a teacher’s role in Freedom Writers .
  • Critical analysis of the efficiency of CBT.
  • Rhetorical analysis of an article on a proactive care program.
  • The concept of emotional intelligence : critical analysis.
  • Evaluate implementation of Windsome’s risk management strategy to enhance the company’s response to stress.
  • The importance of symbolism in Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s .
  • Critical analysis of Thomas Paine’s pamphlets.
  • Rhetorical techniques used in Hamlet by W. Shakespeare .
  • In-depth analysis of the modern world’s social issues in The Handmaid’s Tale .
  • Social messages in Robinson’s and Kincaid’s stories.
  • Analysis of rhetorical strategies used in Dwellings by Linda Hogan.
  • Critical analysis of issues elucidated in A Loss for Words by J. Thurman.
  • Discuss the problems of alienation and perception in The Things They Carried .

📑 Critical Analysis Essay Examples & Bonus Tips

The following writing tips will help you understand how to apply your critical thinking skills in practice and write an excellent critical essay on your own.

Critical Essay Format & Free Samples

Looking for some tips on how to format your paper? This section reflects the latest guidelines for citing your sources with the latest APA 7th and MLA 9th publication manuals.

Before you dive into writing your critical analysis paper, get inspired with some compelling essay examples. The first is a film analysis example. You can download the PDF file below:

The Birds  by Alfred Hitchcock is a thriller that derives its suspense from the violence which stands on the borderline with divine retribution. The birds of the film are the symbol of the said violence and primary actors that contribute to the semiotic revelations of the film.

The following critical analysis essay is concerned with a literary work. You can download it below:

Feminism has been influential in various aspects of society for many decades. With the beginning of women’s emancipation, humanity has progressed not only in political and social life but also in science, culture, and literary studies. A feminist standpoint in literature research points to the limited portrayal of the characters in literary works, which showed the world mainly from a patriarchal perspective.

Here’s the list of critical analysis essay examples. You can check them out to get a better understanding of critical analysis and to gain some inspiration.

  • Managing Business Risks: A Critical Analysis
  • Nursing Skills for Palliative Care: A Critical Analysis
  • Critical Analysis of Quantitative vs. Qualitative Research
  • Nighthawks by Edward Hopper: Critical Analysis
  • Roosevelt and Obama: Critical Analysis of Two Speeches
  • “The Love of My Life” by T. C. Boyle Critical Analysis
  • Nursing Education-Practice Gap: Critical Analysis
  • Affordable Care Act: A Critical Analysis
  • Mother Tongue by Amy Tan: Critical Analysis

Bonus Tips: Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is the process of conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information. It is about careful reasoning directed to a goal. The main components of this process include observing, wondering, imagining, experimenting, judging, and deciding.

This type of thinking is instrumental in conducting a critical analysis. To succeed at it, you need to be attentive, confident, and open-minded. Below are some questions that you can ask yourself while thinking critically:

  • Why are you being told this?
  • What are you not being told?
  • Who is telling you this?
  • How reliable is this information?
  • Are there any manipulations involved?
  • How else can you analyze the same material?

Critical thinking is a skill that develops with time and effort. However, you may encounter barriers that can prevent you from making accurate judgments. The following tips will help you overcome them:

  • Step back from your personal feelings and biases
  • Look for different ways to examine the data
  • Check your sources for reliability
  • Do your best to detect manipulations in arguments
  • Always conceptualize what you are reading
  • Challenge your worldview

Want to learn more? Feel free to check out our article on critical thinking essays .

Now you know everything necessary to write a perfect critical analysis essay. Feel free to share this article or leave a comment!

Further reading

  • How to Write a Critique Paper: Tips + Critique Essay Examples
  • How to Write an Art Critique: Examples & Strategies
  • How to Write an Analysis Essay: Examples + Writing Guide
  • How to Write a Book Review: Format, Outline, & Example
  • How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis Essay: Outline, Steps, & Examples

❓ Critical Analysis Essay FAQs

When analyzing any literary text, it is essential to evaluate the work and use the theme to support your opinion. The response’s goal is to show the reader what the selection of the source and the theme means to you personally.

The purpose of a response to a literature essay is to inform your reader about something interesting and insightful you found in a literary work. It may focus on the characters, plot, or theme of the story.

In a critical essay, choose the formal language and avoid using “I” statements. Focus on the piece you are analyzing, its strengths, and weaknesses. Using the first-person singular will take away the reader’s attention from your argument to you.

A critical source is a source that interprets, analyzes, critiques, and adds to the discussion of the primary source. It is then integrated into critical writing. The best critical sources can be found through library catalogs and scholarly databases.

🔍 References

  • Critical Analysis: University of Wollongong
  • Some Suggestions on Critically Evaluating Your Reading in History: Carleton College
  • Criticism and Critical Analysis: Kansas State University
  • Resources for Writers: Analytical Writing: Drew University
  • Critical Thinking and Writing: University of Kent
  • Writing Critical Essays about Literature: Gallaudet University
  • Film Analysis: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Cultural Critique: Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
  • Writing a Critical or Rhetorical Analysis: Bellevue College
  • Writing Critical Analysis Papers: University of Washington
  • Critical Analysis Template: Thompson Rivers University
  • Writing Effective Summary and Response Essays: Colorado State University
  • Rhetorical/Critical Analysis: Houston Community College
  • Writing Critical Reviews: Queen’s University
  • General APA Guidelines: Purdue University
  • Using MLA Format:
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Home » Critical Analysis – Types, Examples and Writing Guide

Critical Analysis – Types, Examples and Writing Guide

Table of Contents

Critical Analysis

Critical Analysis


Critical analysis is a process of examining a piece of work or an idea in a systematic, objective, and analytical way. It involves breaking down complex ideas, concepts, or arguments into smaller, more manageable parts to understand them better.

Types of Critical Analysis

Types of Critical Analysis are as follows:

Literary Analysis

This type of analysis focuses on analyzing and interpreting works of literature , such as novels, poetry, plays, etc. The analysis involves examining the literary devices used in the work, such as symbolism, imagery, and metaphor, and how they contribute to the overall meaning of the work.

Film Analysis

This type of analysis involves examining and interpreting films, including their themes, cinematography, editing, and sound. Film analysis can also include evaluating the director’s style and how it contributes to the overall message of the film.

Art Analysis

This type of analysis involves examining and interpreting works of art , such as paintings, sculptures, and installations. The analysis involves examining the elements of the artwork, such as color, composition, and technique, and how they contribute to the overall meaning of the work.

Cultural Analysis

This type of analysis involves examining and interpreting cultural artifacts , such as advertisements, popular music, and social media posts. The analysis involves examining the cultural context of the artifact and how it reflects and shapes cultural values, beliefs, and norms.

Historical Analysis

This type of analysis involves examining and interpreting historical documents , such as diaries, letters, and government records. The analysis involves examining the historical context of the document and how it reflects the social, political, and cultural attitudes of the time.

Philosophical Analysis

This type of analysis involves examining and interpreting philosophical texts and ideas, such as the works of philosophers and their arguments. The analysis involves evaluating the logical consistency of the arguments and assessing the validity and soundness of the conclusions.

Scientific Analysis

This type of analysis involves examining and interpreting scientific research studies and their findings. The analysis involves evaluating the methods used in the study, the data collected, and the conclusions drawn, and assessing their reliability and validity.

Critical Discourse Analysis

This type of analysis involves examining and interpreting language use in social and political contexts. The analysis involves evaluating the power dynamics and social relationships conveyed through language use and how they shape discourse and social reality.

Comparative Analysis

This type of analysis involves examining and interpreting multiple texts or works of art and comparing them to each other. The analysis involves evaluating the similarities and differences between the texts and how they contribute to understanding the themes and meanings conveyed.

Critical Analysis Format

Critical Analysis Format is as follows:

I. Introduction

  • Provide a brief overview of the text, object, or event being analyzed
  • Explain the purpose of the analysis and its significance
  • Provide background information on the context and relevant historical or cultural factors

II. Description

  • Provide a detailed description of the text, object, or event being analyzed
  • Identify key themes, ideas, and arguments presented
  • Describe the author or creator’s style, tone, and use of language or visual elements

III. Analysis

  • Analyze the text, object, or event using critical thinking skills
  • Identify the main strengths and weaknesses of the argument or presentation
  • Evaluate the reliability and validity of the evidence presented
  • Assess any assumptions or biases that may be present in the text, object, or event
  • Consider the implications of the argument or presentation for different audiences and contexts

IV. Evaluation

  • Provide an overall evaluation of the text, object, or event based on the analysis
  • Assess the effectiveness of the argument or presentation in achieving its intended purpose
  • Identify any limitations or gaps in the argument or presentation
  • Consider any alternative viewpoints or interpretations that could be presented
  • Summarize the main points of the analysis and evaluation
  • Reiterate the significance of the text, object, or event and its relevance to broader issues or debates
  • Provide any recommendations for further research or future developments in the field.

VI. Example

  • Provide an example or two to support your analysis and evaluation
  • Use quotes or specific details from the text, object, or event to support your claims
  • Analyze the example(s) using critical thinking skills and explain how they relate to your overall argument

VII. Conclusion

  • Reiterate your thesis statement and summarize your main points
  • Provide a final evaluation of the text, object, or event based on your analysis
  • Offer recommendations for future research or further developments in the field
  • End with a thought-provoking statement or question that encourages the reader to think more deeply about the topic

How to Write Critical Analysis

Writing a critical analysis involves evaluating and interpreting a text, such as a book, article, or film, and expressing your opinion about its quality and significance. Here are some steps you can follow to write a critical analysis:

  • Read and re-read the text: Before you begin writing, make sure you have a good understanding of the text. Read it several times and take notes on the key points, themes, and arguments.
  • Identify the author’s purpose and audience: Consider why the author wrote the text and who the intended audience is. This can help you evaluate whether the author achieved their goals and whether the text is effective in reaching its audience.
  • Analyze the structure and style: Look at the organization of the text and the author’s writing style. Consider how these elements contribute to the overall meaning of the text.
  • Evaluate the content : Analyze the author’s arguments, evidence, and conclusions. Consider whether they are logical, convincing, and supported by the evidence presented in the text.
  • Consider the context: Think about the historical, cultural, and social context in which the text was written. This can help you understand the author’s perspective and the significance of the text.
  • Develop your thesis statement : Based on your analysis, develop a clear and concise thesis statement that summarizes your overall evaluation of the text.
  • Support your thesis: Use evidence from the text to support your thesis statement. This can include direct quotes, paraphrases, and examples from the text.
  • Write the introduction, body, and conclusion : Organize your analysis into an introduction that provides context and presents your thesis, a body that presents your evidence and analysis, and a conclusion that summarizes your main points and restates your thesis.
  • Revise and edit: After you have written your analysis, revise and edit it to ensure that your writing is clear, concise, and well-organized. Check for spelling and grammar errors, and make sure that your analysis is logically sound and supported by evidence.

When to Write Critical Analysis

You may want to write a critical analysis in the following situations:

  • Academic Assignments: If you are a student, you may be assigned to write a critical analysis as a part of your coursework. This could include analyzing a piece of literature, a historical event, or a scientific paper.
  • Journalism and Media: As a journalist or media person, you may need to write a critical analysis of current events, political speeches, or media coverage.
  • Personal Interest: If you are interested in a particular topic, you may want to write a critical analysis to gain a deeper understanding of it. For example, you may want to analyze the themes and motifs in a novel or film that you enjoyed.
  • Professional Development : Professionals such as writers, scholars, and researchers often write critical analyses to gain insights into their field of study or work.

Critical Analysis Example

An Example of Critical Analysis Could be as follow:

Research Topic:

The Impact of Online Learning on Student Performance


The introduction of the research topic is clear and provides an overview of the issue. However, it could benefit from providing more background information on the prevalence of online learning and its potential impact on student performance.

Literature Review:

The literature review is comprehensive and well-structured. It covers a broad range of studies that have examined the relationship between online learning and student performance. However, it could benefit from including more recent studies and providing a more critical analysis of the existing literature.

Research Methods:

The research methods are clearly described and appropriate for the research question. The study uses a quasi-experimental design to compare the performance of students who took an online course with those who took the same course in a traditional classroom setting. However, the study may benefit from using a randomized controlled trial design to reduce potential confounding factors.

The results are presented in a clear and concise manner. The study finds that students who took the online course performed similarly to those who took the traditional course. However, the study only measures performance on one course and may not be generalizable to other courses or contexts.

Discussion :

The discussion section provides a thorough analysis of the study’s findings. The authors acknowledge the limitations of the study and provide suggestions for future research. However, they could benefit from discussing potential mechanisms underlying the relationship between online learning and student performance.

Conclusion :

The conclusion summarizes the main findings of the study and provides some implications for future research and practice. However, it could benefit from providing more specific recommendations for implementing online learning programs in educational settings.

Purpose of Critical Analysis

There are several purposes of critical analysis, including:

  • To identify and evaluate arguments : Critical analysis helps to identify the main arguments in a piece of writing or speech and evaluate their strengths and weaknesses. This enables the reader to form their own opinion and make informed decisions.
  • To assess evidence : Critical analysis involves examining the evidence presented in a text or speech and evaluating its quality and relevance to the argument. This helps to determine the credibility of the claims being made.
  • To recognize biases and assumptions : Critical analysis helps to identify any biases or assumptions that may be present in the argument, and evaluate how these affect the credibility of the argument.
  • To develop critical thinking skills: Critical analysis helps to develop the ability to think critically, evaluate information objectively, and make reasoned judgments based on evidence.
  • To improve communication skills: Critical analysis involves carefully reading and listening to information, evaluating it, and expressing one’s own opinion in a clear and concise manner. This helps to improve communication skills and the ability to express ideas effectively.

Importance of Critical Analysis

Here are some specific reasons why critical analysis is important:

  • Helps to identify biases: Critical analysis helps individuals to recognize their own biases and assumptions, as well as the biases of others. By being aware of biases, individuals can better evaluate the credibility and reliability of information.
  • Enhances problem-solving skills : Critical analysis encourages individuals to question assumptions and consider multiple perspectives, which can lead to creative problem-solving and innovation.
  • Promotes better decision-making: By carefully evaluating evidence and arguments, critical analysis can help individuals make more informed and effective decisions.
  • Facilitates understanding: Critical analysis helps individuals to understand complex issues and ideas by breaking them down into smaller parts and evaluating them separately.
  • Fosters intellectual growth : Engaging in critical analysis challenges individuals to think deeply and critically, which can lead to intellectual growth and development.

Advantages of Critical Analysis

Some advantages of critical analysis include:

  • Improved decision-making: Critical analysis helps individuals make informed decisions by evaluating all available information and considering various perspectives.
  • Enhanced problem-solving skills : Critical analysis requires individuals to identify and analyze the root cause of a problem, which can help develop effective solutions.
  • Increased creativity : Critical analysis encourages individuals to think outside the box and consider alternative solutions to problems, which can lead to more creative and innovative ideas.
  • Improved communication : Critical analysis helps individuals communicate their ideas and opinions more effectively by providing logical and coherent arguments.
  • Reduced bias: Critical analysis requires individuals to evaluate information objectively, which can help reduce personal biases and subjective opinions.
  • Better understanding of complex issues : Critical analysis helps individuals to understand complex issues by breaking them down into smaller parts, examining each part and understanding how they fit together.
  • Greater self-awareness: Critical analysis helps individuals to recognize their own biases, assumptions, and limitations, which can lead to personal growth and development.

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Home — Essay Types — Critical Analysis Essay

Critical Analysis Essay Examples

Brief description of critical essay topics.

A critical essay is a type of academic writing that evaluates and interprets a literary work, piece of art, or any other medium. It analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of the subject, providing a thorough examination of its content, meaning, and significance in a critical manner. Critical essays are essential for developing analytical and critical thinking skills. When choosing critical essay topics, it's important to select subjects that allow for in-depth analysis and meaningful interpretation.

Importance of Writing Critical Essays

Choosing a good topic for critical essays.

  • Select a subject that sparks your interest and curiosity. Critical analysis essays thrive when the writer is genuinely interested in the topic, as it fosters enthusiasm and engagement throughout the writing process.
  • Choose a topic that has a significant impact on its respective field or society. Opting for subjects with real-world relevance or cultural significance adds depth and relevance to the analysis, making the essay more compelling and impactful.

Popular Critical Analysis Essay Topics

  • The portrayal of women in Shakespeare's plays
  • The use of symbolism in "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The representation of power in George Orwell's "1984"
  • Exploring the themes of isolation in Emily Dickinson's poetry
  • Analyzing the role of fate in Sophocles' "Oedipus Rex"
  • The impact of the French Revolution on modern politics
  • The role of propaganda in shaping historical events
  • The significance of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States
  • Evaluating the effects of colonialism on indigenous cultures
  • Examining the causes of World War I from multiple perspectives
  • Analyzing the use of color in Vincent van Gogh's "Starry Night"
  • The influence of surrealism in the works of Salvador Dali
  • Examining the feminist perspectives in contemporary art
  • Interpreting the symbolism in Renaissance paintings
  • Critically evaluating the impact of street art on urban culture
  • Critically evaluating the policies of a current political leader
  • The role of media in shaping public opinion on political issues
  • The impact of globalization on international relations
  • Examining the effectiveness of diplomatic negotiations in resolving conflicts
  • Analyzing the concept of democracy in modern society

Social Issues

  • The ethical implications of genetic engineering and cloning
  • Analyzing the effects of social media on mental health
  • The controversy surrounding immigration policies and their impact on society
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of affirmative action programs
  • Exploring the intersection of race, class, and gender in contemporary society

Also, don't forget to review critical essay examples to understand how to structure your analysis and develop your arguments effectively. Critical analysis essay examples can provide valuable insights into the critical thinking process and help you refine your writing skills. By exploring a variety of critical essay topics and examining different approaches to analysis, you can enhance your understanding of the subject matter and strengthen your ability to engage critically with complex ideas.

A critical essay is a type of academic writing that analyzes, interprets, and evaluates a text. It can be a book, a film, an article, a painting, or any other form of artistic expression. The key characteristics of a critical analysis essay include a clear argument, well-researched evidence, and a balanced analysis. The goal of this type of essay is to provide a thorough examination of the chosen subject, highlighting both its strengths and weaknesses. Critical analysis essay examples are often used in literature and arts courses, but they can also be found in other disciplines such as sociology, philosophy, and history.

When writing a critical essay, it is important to present a strong and well-supported argument. This means that the writer should carefully choose a topic and develop a clear thesis statement. The essay should then be structured in a logical and coherent manner, with each paragraph focusing on a different aspect of the subject. Additionally, the writer should use evidence from the text to support their argument, and provide critical analysis of the material. This may involve examining the author’s use of language, the themes present in the work, or the historical and cultural context in which it was produced.

Overall, a critical essay is a rigorous and analytical piece of writing that requires careful planning and research. It is a valuable skill to master, as it encourages the writer to think critically and engage with the material in a deep and meaningful way. By following these tips, writers can ensure that their critical essays are well-structured, well-supported, and provide a comprehensive analysis of the chosen subject.

How to Write a Critical Analysis Essay

Writing a critical essay requires a thoughtful approach to analyzing and evaluating a subject or topic. Here are some writing tips to help you craft a successful critical essay:

  • Understand the Subject: Before you begin writing, make sure you thoroughly understand the subject you’re critiquing. This could be a book, a film, an article, or any other piece of work. Take notes as you engage with the material, paying attention to key themes, characters, and arguments.
  • Develop a Clear Thesis: Your thesis statement should be concise and clear, expressing your main argument or critique of the subject. It should provide a roadmap for your essay, outlining the points you will address in your analysis.
  • Provide Evidence: Critical essays rely on evidence to support your claims and critiques. This evidence can come from the work itself or external sources such as scholarly articles, interviews, or historical context. Be sure to cite your sources properly.
  • Engage with Counter Arguments: A strong critical essay acknowledges opposing viewpoints and engages with them. This demonstrates that you’ve considered multiple perspectives and strengthens your own argument. Refute counter arguments logically and respectfully.
  • Organize Effectively: Structure your essay logically, typically with an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Each paragraph should focus on a specific point or aspect of your critique. Use clear topic sentences and transitions to guide your reader through your analysis.

Remember to revise and proofread your essay thoroughly to ensure clarity, coherence, and correctness in your writing.

Remember that critical essays require you to engage deeply with the subject matter, provide well-reasoned arguments, and support your claims with evidence. By following these tips, you can write a strong and effective critical essay.

Critical Essays and Analytical Essays: Key Differences

Critical essays and analytical essays are both types of academic writing that involve examining and evaluating a subject, but they differ in their primary objectives and approaches:

Critical Essays

  • Objective: The primary objective of a critical essay is to offer a critical assessment or judgment of a specific work, such as a book, film, play, or piece of art. It aims to evaluate the quality, significance, and impact of the work.
  • Subject Focus: Critical essays often focus on a single work or a specific aspect of it. They analyze the work’s strengths, weaknesses, themes, characters, and overall effectiveness.
  • Perspective: Critical essays may include the writer’s subjective opinions, but they should also provide a balanced and well-supported critique based on evidence and analysis.
  • Emphasis: While critical essays can incorporate analysis, they prioritize critique and judgment. They may explore the work’s cultural, historical, or social context but with the main aim of evaluating it critically.

Analytical Essays

  • Objective: Analytical essays aim to examine a subject in depth and provide a comprehensive understanding of it. They do not necessarily involve judgment or critique but focus on presenting insights and explanations.
  • Subject Focus: Analytical essays can cover a wide range of subjects, including literary works, scientific phenomena, historical events, or philosophical concepts. They often explore broader themes or ideas.
  • Perspective: Analytical essays maintain a more objective and impartial tone. They require a thorough analysis of the subject, relying on evidence and logical reasoning rather than personal opinions.
  • Emphasis: The emphasis in analytical essays is on breaking down the subject into its components, examining its structure, and explaining how it works or why it matters. They often explore the “how” and “why” of a subject.

In summary, critical essays prioritize the evaluation and judgment of a specific work , while analytical essays focus on a broader understanding of a subject without necessarily passing judgment. Both types of essays require careful analysis and evidence, but they have distinct objectives and approaches.

Example of a Critical Analysis Essay by Parts


“In the introduction to a critical essay analyzing F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby,” the writer might start with a quote from the novel that sets the tone for the essay. The introduction should provide background information on the novel and its author, as well as introduce the main argument of the essay. For example, the introduction could discuss the recurring theme of the American Dream in the novel and how it is portrayed through the characters and setting. The introduction should end with a clear thesis statement that outlines the writer’s main argument about the portrayal of the American Dream in “The Great Gatsby.””

Body Paragraphs:

“The body paragraphs of the essay could focus on specific aspects of the novel, such as the characters, symbolism, and themes. For example, one body paragraph could analyze the character of Jay Gatsby and how his pursuit of the American Dream is portrayed. The paragraph would start with a topic sentence that introduces the main idea, followed by evidence from the novel, such as Gatsby’s extravagant parties and his obsession with Daisy Buchanan. The writer would then provide analysis that connects the evidence to the larger argument about the portrayal of the American Dream in the novel. Each body paragraph would follow a similar structure, focusing on a specific aspect of the novel and providing evidence and analysis to support the main argument.”


“ In the conclusion, the writer would summarize the main points of the essay, restate the thesis statement, and emphasize the significance of the analysis. For example, the conclusion could reflect on the disillusionment of the characters in the novel and how it reflects the failure of the American Dream. The writer could leave the reader with a final thought or reflection on the impact of the novel’s portrayal of the American Dream and its relevance to contemporary society. The conclusion should tie back to the main argument and leave the reader with a lasting impression of the analysis.”

Important Critical A nalysis Essay Examples

You should analyze examples of well-structured critical essays to illustrate the components of a strong critical essay, such as an introduction with a clear thesis statement, well-developed body paragraphs, and a conclusion that ties back to the main argument. These examples of a critical analysis essay can serve as a guide to understanding how to effectively structure their own critical essay.

High School Critical Analysis Essay Examples

These examples are tailored to the level of high school students and may focus on literary works commonly studied in high school English classes, such as “To Kill a Mockingbird” or “The Catcher in the Rye.” The essays should demonstrate a clear understanding of the text, with well-structured arguments and evidence to support the analysis. These examples can serve as a model for high school students to learn how to write critical essays and develop their analytical skills.

College Critical Analysis Essay Examples

These examples are aimed at college-level students and may delve into more complex literary works or academic topics. The essays should demonstrate higher-level critical thinking and analysis, with a focus on developing a sophisticated argument and using scholarly sources to support the claims. These examples can help college students learn how to take their critical writing to the next level and engage with more challenging material.

University Critical Analysis Essay Examples

These critical analysis essay examples are geared toward university-level students and may encompass a wide range of literary, cultural, or academic topics. The essays should demonstrate advanced critical thinking, research, and analysis, with a focus on contributing to the existing body of knowledge in the field.

By providing examples at different educational levels, the writer can cater to a diverse audience and offer relevant models for students at various stages of their academic journey. Each set of examples can help students understand the expectations and standards for critical writing at their particular educational level, and serve as a guide for developing their own critical essays.

Summary: Critical Analysis Essays Writing

In conclusion, critical essay writing is a valuable skill that students can develop at different educational levels. By understanding the key components of a critical essay, such as the introduction, thesis statement, body paragraphs, and conclusion, students can effectively structure their arguments and support their analysis with evidence. Furthermore, providing examples at various educational levels allows students to learn how to tailor their critical writing to meet the expectations of their specific academic level.

It is important to emphasize the significance of critical writing techniques in fostering analytical thinking, research skills, and the ability to engage with complex ideas. Encouraging further exploration of critical writing techniques can help students refine their critical thinking skills and develop a deeper understanding of the texts, topics, and issues they encounter in their academic studies.

By honing their critical writing skills, students can become more effective communicators, researchers, and scholars, enabling them to contribute meaningfully to academic discourse and the broader conversations within their chosen fields of study.

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What is a Critical essay?

A Critical essay is a type of academic writing that evaluates, interprets, and analyzes a text or a work of art. It involves a thoughtful and detailed analysis of the subject matter, often incorporating evidence and examples to support the writer's argument. Check our critical analysis essay examples to get an idea of what elements are crucial for critical writing.

How to write a Critical Analysis essay?

When writing a Critical essay, it's important to carefully read and understand the text or artwork being analyzed. Take notes, identify key themes and elements, and develop a clear thesis statement to guide your analysis. Be sure to support your arguments with evidence and examples. See our example of a critical analysis essay to see how the author analyzes each claim.

How to start a Critical Analysis essay?

To begin a critical analysis essay, start by thoroughly understanding the text or subject you're analyzing, then formulate a clear thesis statement that expresses your interpretation or evaluation of the material.

How is a Critical essay different from other essay types?

Unlike other types of essays, a Critical essay requires the writer to present a balanced and objective analysis of the subject matter. It is not simply a summary or a review, but rather a deep examination of the strengths and weaknesses of the text or artwork being discussed.

What type of language should be used in a Critical Analysis essay?

In a critical analysis essay, formal and academic language is typically used. This includes precise vocabulary, clear and concise sentences, and an objective tone devoid of personal bias or emotion. Additionally, the language should be analytical and evaluative, focusing on examining the strengths and weaknesses of the subject matter.

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Argumentative Essay Examples & Analysis

July 20, 2023

critical argument analysis essay example

Writing successful argumentative or persuasive essays is a sort of academic rite of passage: every student, at some point in their academic career, will have to do it. And not without reason—writing a good argumentative essay requires the ability to organize one’s thoughts, reason logically, and present evidence in support of claims. They even require empathy, as authors are forced to inhabit and then respond to viewpoints that run counter to their own. Here, we’ll look at some argumentative essay examples and analyze their strengths and weaknesses.

What is an argumentative essay?

Before we turn to those argumentative essay examples, let’s get precise about what an argumentative essay is. An argumentative essay is an essay that advances a central point, thesis, or claim using evidence and facts. In other words, argumentative essays are essays that argue on behalf of a particular viewpoint. The goal of an argumentative essay is to convince the reader that the essay’s core idea is correct.

Good argumentative essays rely on facts and evidence. Personal anecdotes, appeals to emotion , and opinions that aren’t grounded in evidence just won’t fly. Let’s say I wanted to write an essay arguing that cats are the best pets. It wouldn’t be enough to say that I love having a cat as a pet. That’s just my opinion. Nor would it be enough to cite my downstairs neighbor Claudia, who also has a cat and who also prefers cats to dogs. That’s just an anecdote.

For the essay to have a chance at succeeding, I’d have to use evidence to support my argument. Maybe there are studies that compare the cost of cat ownership to dog ownership and conclude that cat ownership is less expensive. Perhaps there’s medical data that shows that more people are allergic to dogs than they are to cats. And maybe there are surveys that show that cat owners are more satisfied with their pets than are dog owners. I have no idea if any of that is true. The point is that successful argumentative essays use evidence from credible sources to back up their points.

Argumentative essay structure

Important to note before we examine a few argumentative essay examples: most argumentative essays will follow a standard 5-paragraph format. This format entails an introductory paragraph that lays out the essay’s central claim. Next, there are three body paragraphs that each advance sub-claims and evidence to support the central claim. Lastly, there is a conclusion that summarizes the points made. That’s not to say that every good argumentative essay will adhere strictly to the 5-paragraph format. And there is plenty of room for flexibility and creativity within the 5-paragraph format. For example, a good argumentative essay that follows the 5-paragraph template will also generally include counterarguments and rebuttals.

Introduction Example

Now let’s move on to those argumentative essay examples, and examine in particular a couple of introductions. The first takes on a common argumentative essay topic —capital punishment.

The death penalty has long been a divisive issue in the United States. 24 states allow the death penalty, while the other 26 have either banned the death penalty outright or issued moratoriums halting the practice. Proponents of the death penalty argue that it’s an effective deterrent against crime. Time and time again, however, this argument has been shown to be false. Capital punishment does not deter crime. But not only that—the death penalty is irreversible, which allows our imperfect justice system no room for error. Finally, the application of the death penalty is racially biased—the population of death row is over 41% Black , despite Black Americans making up just 13% of the U.S. population. For all these reasons, the death penalty should be outlawed across the board in the United States.

Why this introduction works: First, it’s clear. It lays out the essay’s thesis: that the death penalty should be outlawed in the United States. It also names the sub-arguments the author is going to use to support the thesis: (1), capital punishment does not deter crime, (2), it’s irreversible, and (3), it’s a racially biased practice. In laying out these three points, the author is also laying out the structure of the essay to follow. Each of the body paragraphs will take on one of the three sub-arguments presented in the introduction.

Argumentative Essay Examples (Continued)

Something else I like about this introduction is that it acknowledges and then refutes a common counterargument—the idea that the death penalty is a crime deterrent. Notice also the flow of the first two sentences. The first flags the essay’s topic. But it also makes a claim—that the issue of capital punishment is politically divisive. The following sentence backs this claim up. Essentially half of the country allows the practice; the other half has banned it. This is a feature not just of solid introductions but of good argumentative essays in general—all the essay’s claims will be backed up with evidence.

How it could be improved: Okay, I know I just got through singing the praises of the first pair of sentences, but if I were really nitpicking, I might take issue with them. Why? The first sentence is a bit of a placeholder. It’s a platitude, a way for the author to get a foothold in the piece. The essay isn’t about how divisive the death penalty is; it’s about why it ought to be abolished. When it comes to writing an argumentative essay, I always like to err on the side of blunt. There’s nothing wrong with starting an argumentative essay with the main idea: Capital punishment is an immoral and ineffective form of punishment, and the practice should be abolished .

Let’s move on to another argumentative essay example. Here’s an introduction that deals with the effects of technology on the brain:

Much of the critical discussion around technology today revolves around social media. Critics argue that social media has cut us off from our fellow citizens, trapping us in “information silos” and contributing to political polarization. Social media also promotes unrealistic and unhealthy beauty standards, which can lead to anxiety and depression. What’s more, the social media apps themselves are designed to addict their users. These are all legitimate critiques of social media, and they ought to be taken seriously. But the problem of technology today goes deeper than social media. The internet itself is the problem. Whether it’s on our phones or our laptops, on a social media app, or doing a Google search, the internet promotes distracted thinking and superficial learning. The internet is, quite literally, rewiring our brains.

Why this introduction works: This introduction hooks the reader by tying a topical debate about social media to the essay’s main subject—the problem of the internet itself. The introduction makes it clear what the essay is going to be about; the sentence, “But the problem of technology…” signals to the reader that the main idea is coming. I like the clarity with which the main idea is stated, and, as in the previous introduction, the main idea sets up the essay to follow.

How it could be improved: I like how direct this introduction is, but it might be improved by being a little more specific. Without getting too technical, the introduction might tell the reader what it means to “promote distracted thinking and superficial learning.” It might also hint as to why these are good arguments. For example, are there neurological or psychological studies that back this claim up? A simple fix might be: Whether it’s on our phones or our laptops, on a social media app, or doing a Google search, countless studies have shown that the internet promotes distracted thinking and superficial learning . The body paragraphs would then elaborate on those points. And the last sentence, while catchy, is a bit vague.

Body Paragraph Example

Let’s stick with our essay on capital punishment and continue on to the first body paragraph.

Proponents of the death penalty have long claimed that the practice is an effective deterrent to crime. It might not be pretty, they say, but its deterrent effects prevent further crime. Therefore, its continued use is justified. The problem is that this is just not borne out in the data. There is simply no evidence that the death penalty deters crime more than other forms of punishment, like long prison sentences. States, where the death penalty is still carried out, do not have lower crime rates than states where the practice has been abolished. States that have abandoned the death penalty likewise show no increase in crime or murder rates.

Body Paragraph (Continued)

For example, the state of Louisiana, where the death penalty is legal, has a murder rate of 21.3 per 100,000 residents. In Iowa, where the death penalty was abolished in 1965, the murder rate is 3.2 per 100,000. In Kentucky the death penalty is legal and the murder rate is 9.6; in Michigan where it’s illegal, the murder rate is 8.7. The death penalty simply has no bearing on murder rates. If it did, we’d see markedly lower murder rates in states that maintain the practice. But that’s not the case. Capital punishment does not deter crime. Therefore, it should be abolished.

Why this paragraph works: This body paragraph is successful because it coheres with the main idea set out in the introduction. It supports the essay’s first sub-argument—that capital punishment does not deter crime—and in so doing, it supports the essay’s main idea—that capital punishment should be abolished. How does it do that? By appealing to the data. A nice feature of this paragraph is that it simultaneously debunks a common counterargument and advances the essay’s thesis. It also supplies a few direct examples (murder rates in states like Kentucky, Michigan, etc.) without getting too technical. Importantly, the last few sentences tie the data back to the main idea of the essay. It’s not enough to pepper your essay with statistics. A good argumentative essay will unpack the statistics, tell the reader why the statistics matter, and how they support or confirm the essay’s main idea.

How it could be improved: The author is missing one logical connection at the end of the paragraph. The author shows that capital punishment doesn’t deter crime, but then just jumps to their conclusion. They needed to establish a logical bridge to get from the sub-argument to the conclusion. That bridge might be: if the deterrent effect is being used as a justification to maintain the practice, but the deterrent effect doesn’t really exist, then , in the absence of some other justification, the death penalty should be abolished. The author almost got there, but just needed to make that one final logical connection.

Conclusion Example

Once we’ve supported each of our sub-arguments with a corresponding body paragraph, it’s time to move on to the conclusion.

It might be nice to think that executing murderers prevents future murders from happening, that our justice system is infallible and no one is ever wrongly put to death, and that the application of the death penalty is free of bias. But as we have seen, each of those thoughts are just comforting fictions. The death penalty does not prevent future crime—if it did, we’d see higher crime rates in states that’ve done away with capital punishment. The death penalty is an irreversible punishment meted out by an imperfect justice system—as a result, wrongful executions are unavoidable. And the death penalty disproportionately affects people of color. The death penalty is an unjustifiable practice—both practically and morally. Therefore, the United States should do away with the practice and join the more than 85 world nations that have already done so.

Why this conclusion works: It concisely summarizes the points made throughout the essay. But notice that it’s not identical to the introduction. The conclusion makes it clear that our understanding of the issue has changed with the essay. It not only revisits the sub-arguments, it expounds upon them. And to put a bow on everything, it restates the thesis—this time, though, with a little more emotional oomph.

How it could be improved: I’d love to see a little more specificity with regard to the sub-arguments. Instead of just rehashing the second sub-argument—that wrongful executions are unavoidable—the author could’ve included a quick statistic to give the argument more weight. For example: The death penalty is an irreversible punishment meted out by an imperfect justice system—as a result, wrongful executions are unavoidable. Since 1973, at least 190 people have been put to death who were later found to be innocent.

An argumentative essay is a powerful way to convey one’s ideas. As an academic exercise, mastering the art of the argumentative essay requires students to hone their skills of critical thinking, rhetoric, and logical reasoning. The best argumentative essays communicate their ideas clearly and back up their claims with evidence.

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Dane Gebauer

Dane Gebauer is a writer and teacher living in Miami, FL. He received his MFA in fiction from Columbia University, and his writing has appeared in Complex Magazine and Sinking City Review .

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Need to defend your opinion on an issue? Argumentative essays are one of the most popular types of essays you’ll write in school. They combine persuasive arguments with fact-based research, and, when done well, can be powerful tools for making someone agree with your point of view. If you’re struggling to write an argumentative essay or just want to learn more about them, seeing examples can be a big help.

After giving an overview of this type of essay, we provide three argumentative essay examples. After each essay, we explain in-depth how the essay was structured, what worked, and where the essay could be improved. We end with tips for making your own argumentative essay as strong as possible.

What Is an Argumentative Essay?

An argumentative essay is an essay that uses evidence and facts to support the claim it’s making. Its purpose is to persuade the reader to agree with the argument being made.

A good argumentative essay will use facts and evidence to support the argument, rather than just the author’s thoughts and opinions. For example, say you wanted to write an argumentative essay stating that Charleston, SC is a great destination for families. You couldn’t just say that it’s a great place because you took your family there and enjoyed it. For it to be an argumentative essay, you need to have facts and data to support your argument, such as the number of child-friendly attractions in Charleston, special deals you can get with kids, and surveys of people who visited Charleston as a family and enjoyed it. The first argument is based entirely on feelings, whereas the second is based on evidence that can be proven.

The standard five paragraph format is common, but not required, for argumentative essays. These essays typically follow one of two formats: the Toulmin model or the Rogerian model.

  • The Toulmin model is the most common. It begins with an introduction, follows with a thesis/claim, and gives data and evidence to support that claim. This style of essay also includes rebuttals of counterarguments.
  • The Rogerian model analyzes two sides of an argument and reaches a conclusion after weighing the strengths and weaknesses of each.

3 Good Argumentative Essay Examples + Analysis

Below are three examples of argumentative essays, written by yours truly in my school days, as well as analysis of what each did well and where it could be improved.

Argumentative Essay Example 1

Proponents of this idea state that it will save local cities and towns money because libraries are expensive to maintain. They also believe it will encourage more people to read because they won’t have to travel to a library to get a book; they can simply click on what they want to read and read it from wherever they are. They could also access more materials because libraries won’t have to buy physical copies of books; they can simply rent out as many digital copies as they need.

However, it would be a serious mistake to replace libraries with tablets. First, digital books and resources are associated with less learning and more problems than print resources. A study done on tablet vs book reading found that people read 20-30% slower on tablets, retain 20% less information, and understand 10% less of what they read compared to people who read the same information in print. Additionally, staring too long at a screen has been shown to cause numerous health problems, including blurred vision, dizziness, dry eyes, headaches, and eye strain, at much higher instances than reading print does. People who use tablets and mobile devices excessively also have a higher incidence of more serious health issues such as fibromyalgia, shoulder and back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and muscle strain. I know that whenever I read from my e-reader for too long, my eyes begin to feel tired and my neck hurts. We should not add to these problems by giving people, especially young people, more reasons to look at screens.

Second, it is incredibly narrow-minded to assume that the only service libraries offer is book lending. Libraries have a multitude of benefits, and many are only available if the library has a physical location. Some of these benefits include acting as a quiet study space, giving people a way to converse with their neighbors, holding classes on a variety of topics, providing jobs, answering patron questions, and keeping the community connected. One neighborhood found that, after a local library instituted community events such as play times for toddlers and parents, job fairs for teenagers, and meeting spaces for senior citizens, over a third of residents reported feeling more connected to their community. Similarly, a Pew survey conducted in 2015 found that nearly two-thirds of American adults feel that closing their local library would have a major impact on their community. People see libraries as a way to connect with others and get their questions answered, benefits tablets can’t offer nearly as well or as easily.

While replacing libraries with tablets may seem like a simple solution, it would encourage people to spend even more time looking at digital screens, despite the myriad issues surrounding them. It would also end access to many of the benefits of libraries that people have come to rely on. In many areas, libraries are such an important part of the community network that they could never be replaced by a simple object.

The author begins by giving an overview of the counter-argument, then the thesis appears as the first sentence in the third paragraph. The essay then spends the rest of the paper dismantling the counter argument and showing why readers should believe the other side.

What this essay does well:

  • Although it’s a bit unusual to have the thesis appear fairly far into the essay, it works because, once the thesis is stated, the rest of the essay focuses on supporting it since the counter-argument has already been discussed earlier in the paper.
  • This essay includes numerous facts and cites studies to support its case. By having specific data to rely on, the author’s argument is stronger and readers will be more inclined to agree with it.
  • For every argument the other side makes, the author makes sure to refute it and follow up with why her opinion is the stronger one. In order to make a strong argument, it’s important to dismantle the other side, which this essay does this by making the author's view appear stronger.
  • This is a shorter paper, and if it needed to be expanded to meet length requirements, it could include more examples and go more into depth with them, such as by explaining specific cases where people benefited from local libraries.
  • Additionally, while the paper uses lots of data, the author also mentions their own experience with using tablets. This should be removed since argumentative essays focus on facts and data to support an argument, not the author’s own opinion or experiences. Replacing that with more data on health issues associated with screen time would strengthen the essay.
  • Some of the points made aren't completely accurate , particularly the one about digital books being cheaper. It actually often costs a library more money to rent out numerous digital copies of a book compared to buying a single physical copy. Make sure in your own essay you thoroughly research each of the points and rebuttals you make, otherwise you'll look like you don't know the issue that well.


Argumentative Essay Example 2

There are multiple drugs available to treat malaria, and many of them work well and save lives, but malaria eradication programs that focus too much on them and not enough on prevention haven’t seen long-term success in Sub-Saharan Africa. A major program to combat malaria was WHO’s Global Malaria Eradication Programme. Started in 1955, it had a goal of eliminating malaria in Africa within the next ten years. Based upon previously successful programs in Brazil and the United States, the program focused mainly on vector control. This included widely distributing chloroquine and spraying large amounts of DDT. More than one billion dollars was spent trying to abolish malaria. However, the program suffered from many problems and in 1969, WHO was forced to admit that the program had not succeeded in eradicating malaria. The number of people in Sub-Saharan Africa who contracted malaria as well as the number of malaria deaths had actually increased over 10% during the time the program was active.

One of the major reasons for the failure of the project was that it set uniform strategies and policies. By failing to consider variations between governments, geography, and infrastructure, the program was not nearly as successful as it could have been. Sub-Saharan Africa has neither the money nor the infrastructure to support such an elaborate program, and it couldn’t be run the way it was meant to. Most African countries don't have the resources to send all their people to doctors and get shots, nor can they afford to clear wetlands or other malaria prone areas. The continent’s spending per person for eradicating malaria was just a quarter of what Brazil spent. Sub-Saharan Africa simply can’t rely on a plan that requires more money, infrastructure, and expertise than they have to spare.

Additionally, the widespread use of chloroquine has created drug resistant parasites which are now plaguing Sub-Saharan Africa. Because chloroquine was used widely but inconsistently, mosquitoes developed resistance, and chloroquine is now nearly completely ineffective in Sub-Saharan Africa, with over 95% of mosquitoes resistant to it. As a result, newer, more expensive drugs need to be used to prevent and treat malaria, which further drives up the cost of malaria treatment for a region that can ill afford it.

Instead of developing plans to treat malaria after the infection has incurred, programs should focus on preventing infection from occurring in the first place. Not only is this plan cheaper and more effective, reducing the number of people who contract malaria also reduces loss of work/school days which can further bring down the productivity of the region.

One of the cheapest and most effective ways of preventing malaria is to implement insecticide-treated bed nets (ITNs).  These nets provide a protective barrier around the person or people using them. While untreated bed nets are still helpful, those treated with insecticides are much more useful because they stop mosquitoes from biting people through the nets, and they help reduce mosquito populations in a community, thus helping people who don’t even own bed nets.  Bed nets are also very effective because most mosquito bites occur while the person is sleeping, so bed nets would be able to drastically reduce the number of transmissions during the night. In fact, transmission of malaria can be reduced by as much as 90% in areas where the use of ITNs is widespread. Because money is so scarce in Sub-Saharan Africa, the low cost is a great benefit and a major reason why the program is so successful. Bed nets cost roughly 2 USD to make, last several years, and can protect two adults. Studies have shown that, for every 100-1000 more nets are being used, one less child dies of malaria. With an estimated 300 million people in Africa not being protected by mosquito nets, there’s the potential to save three million lives by spending just a few dollars per person.

Reducing the number of people who contract malaria would also reduce poverty levels in Africa significantly, thus improving other aspects of society like education levels and the economy. Vector control is more effective than treatment strategies because it means fewer people are getting sick. When fewer people get sick, the working population is stronger as a whole because people are not put out of work from malaria, nor are they caring for sick relatives. Malaria-afflicted families can typically only harvest 40% of the crops that healthy families can harvest. Additionally, a family with members who have malaria spends roughly a quarter of its income treatment, not including the loss of work they also must deal with due to the illness. It’s estimated that malaria costs Africa 12 billion USD in lost income every year. A strong working population creates a stronger economy, which Sub-Saharan Africa is in desperate need of.  

This essay begins with an introduction, which ends with the thesis (that malaria eradication plans in Sub-Saharan Africa should focus on prevention rather than treatment). The first part of the essay lays out why the counter argument (treatment rather than prevention) is not as effective, and the second part of the essay focuses on why prevention of malaria is the better path to take.

  • The thesis appears early, is stated clearly, and is supported throughout the rest of the essay. This makes the argument clear for readers to understand and follow throughout the essay.
  • There’s lots of solid research in this essay, including specific programs that were conducted and how successful they were, as well as specific data mentioned throughout. This evidence helps strengthen the author’s argument.
  • The author makes a case for using expanding bed net use over waiting until malaria occurs and beginning treatment, but not much of a plan is given for how the bed nets would be distributed or how to ensure they’re being used properly. By going more into detail of what she believes should be done, the author would be making a stronger argument.
  • The introduction of the essay does a good job of laying out the seriousness of the problem, but the conclusion is short and abrupt. Expanding it into its own paragraph would give the author a final way to convince readers of her side of the argument.


Argumentative Essay Example 3

There are many ways payments could work. They could be in the form of a free-market approach, where athletes are able to earn whatever the market is willing to pay them, it could be a set amount of money per athlete, or student athletes could earn income from endorsements, autographs, and control of their likeness, similar to the way top Olympians earn money.

Proponents of the idea believe that, because college athletes are the ones who are training, participating in games, and bringing in audiences, they should receive some sort of compensation for their work. If there were no college athletes, the NCAA wouldn’t exist, college coaches wouldn’t receive there (sometimes very high) salaries, and brands like Nike couldn’t profit from college sports. In fact, the NCAA brings in roughly $1 billion in revenue a year, but college athletes don’t receive any of that money in the form of a paycheck. Additionally, people who believe college athletes should be paid state that paying college athletes will actually encourage them to remain in college longer and not turn pro as quickly, either by giving them a way to begin earning money in college or requiring them to sign a contract stating they’ll stay at the university for a certain number of years while making an agreed-upon salary.  

Supporters of this idea point to Zion Williamson, the Duke basketball superstar, who, during his freshman year, sustained a serious knee injury. Many argued that, even if he enjoyed playing for Duke, it wasn’t worth risking another injury and ending his professional career before it even began for a program that wasn’t paying him. Williamson seems to have agreed with them and declared his eligibility for the NCAA draft later that year. If he was being paid, he may have stayed at Duke longer. In fact, roughly a third of student athletes surveyed stated that receiving a salary while in college would make them “strongly consider” remaining collegiate athletes longer before turning pro.

Paying athletes could also stop the recruitment scandals that have plagued the NCAA. In 2018, the NCAA stripped the University of Louisville's men's basketball team of its 2013 national championship title because it was discovered coaches were using sex workers to entice recruits to join the team. There have been dozens of other recruitment scandals where college athletes and recruits have been bribed with anything from having their grades changed, to getting free cars, to being straight out bribed. By paying college athletes and putting their salaries out in the open, the NCAA could end the illegal and underhanded ways some schools and coaches try to entice athletes to join.

People who argue against the idea of paying college athletes believe the practice could be disastrous for college sports. By paying athletes, they argue, they’d turn college sports into a bidding war, where only the richest schools could afford top athletes, and the majority of schools would be shut out from developing a talented team (though some argue this already happens because the best players often go to the most established college sports programs, who typically pay their coaches millions of dollars per year). It could also ruin the tight camaraderie of many college teams if players become jealous that certain teammates are making more money than they are.

They also argue that paying college athletes actually means only a small fraction would make significant money. Out of the 350 Division I athletic departments, fewer than a dozen earn any money. Nearly all the money the NCAA makes comes from men’s football and basketball, so paying college athletes would make a small group of men--who likely will be signed to pro teams and begin making millions immediately out of college--rich at the expense of other players.

Those against paying college athletes also believe that the athletes are receiving enough benefits already. The top athletes already receive scholarships that are worth tens of thousands per year, they receive free food/housing/textbooks, have access to top medical care if they are injured, receive top coaching, get travel perks and free gear, and can use their time in college as a way to capture the attention of professional recruiters. No other college students receive anywhere near as much from their schools.

People on this side also point out that, while the NCAA brings in a massive amount of money each year, it is still a non-profit organization. How? Because over 95% of those profits are redistributed to its members’ institutions in the form of scholarships, grants, conferences, support for Division II and Division III teams, and educational programs. Taking away a significant part of that revenue would hurt smaller programs that rely on that money to keep running.

While both sides have good points, it’s clear that the negatives of paying college athletes far outweigh the positives. College athletes spend a significant amount of time and energy playing for their school, but they are compensated for it by the scholarships and perks they receive. Adding a salary to that would result in a college athletic system where only a small handful of athletes (those likely to become millionaires in the professional leagues) are paid by a handful of schools who enter bidding wars to recruit them, while the majority of student athletics and college athletic programs suffer or even shut down for lack of money. Continuing to offer the current level of benefits to student athletes makes it possible for as many people to benefit from and enjoy college sports as possible.

This argumentative essay follows the Rogerian model. It discusses each side, first laying out multiple reasons people believe student athletes should be paid, then discussing reasons why the athletes shouldn’t be paid. It ends by stating that college athletes shouldn’t be paid by arguing that paying them would destroy college athletics programs and cause them to have many of the issues professional sports leagues have.

  • Both sides of the argument are well developed, with multiple reasons why people agree with each side. It allows readers to get a full view of the argument and its nuances.
  • Certain statements on both sides are directly rebuffed in order to show where the strengths and weaknesses of each side lie and give a more complete and sophisticated look at the argument.
  • Using the Rogerian model can be tricky because oftentimes you don’t explicitly state your argument until the end of the paper. Here, the thesis doesn’t appear until the first sentence of the final paragraph. That doesn’t give readers a lot of time to be convinced that your argument is the right one, compared to a paper where the thesis is stated in the beginning and then supported throughout the paper. This paper could be strengthened if the final paragraph was expanded to more fully explain why the author supports the view, or if the paper had made it clearer that paying athletes was the weaker argument throughout.


3 Tips for Writing a Good Argumentative Essay

Now that you’ve seen examples of what good argumentative essay samples look like, follow these three tips when crafting your own essay.

#1: Make Your Thesis Crystal Clear

The thesis is the key to your argumentative essay; if it isn’t clear or readers can’t find it easily, your entire essay will be weak as a result. Always make sure that your thesis statement is easy to find. The typical spot for it is the final sentence of the introduction paragraph, but if it doesn’t fit in that spot for your essay, try to at least put it as the first or last sentence of a different paragraph so it stands out more.

Also make sure that your thesis makes clear what side of the argument you’re on. After you’ve written it, it’s a great idea to show your thesis to a couple different people--classmates are great for this. Just by reading your thesis they should be able to understand what point you’ll be trying to make with the rest of your essay.

#2: Show Why the Other Side Is Weak

When writing your essay, you may be tempted to ignore the other side of the argument and just focus on your side, but don’t do this. The best argumentative essays really tear apart the other side to show why readers shouldn’t believe it. Before you begin writing your essay, research what the other side believes, and what their strongest points are. Then, in your essay, be sure to mention each of these and use evidence to explain why they’re incorrect/weak arguments. That’ll make your essay much more effective than if you only focused on your side of the argument.

#3: Use Evidence to Support Your Side

Remember, an essay can’t be an argumentative essay if it doesn’t support its argument with evidence. For every point you make, make sure you have facts to back it up. Some examples are previous studies done on the topic, surveys of large groups of people, data points, etc. There should be lots of numbers in your argumentative essay that support your side of the argument. This will make your essay much stronger compared to only relying on your own opinions to support your argument.

Summary: Argumentative Essay Sample

Argumentative essays are persuasive essays that use facts and evidence to support their side of the argument. Most argumentative essays follow either the Toulmin model or the Rogerian model. By reading good argumentative essay examples, you can learn how to develop your essay and provide enough support to make readers agree with your opinion. When writing your essay, remember to always make your thesis clear, show where the other side is weak, and back up your opinion with data and evidence.

What's Next?

Do you need to write an argumentative essay as well? Check out our guide on the best argumentative essay topics for ideas!

You'll probably also need to write research papers for school. We've got you covered with 113 potential topics for research papers.

Your college admissions essay may end up being one of the most important essays you write. Follow our step-by-step guide on writing a personal statement to have an essay that'll impress colleges.

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Christine graduated from Michigan State University with degrees in Environmental Biology and Geography and received her Master's from Duke University. In high school she scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT and was named a National Merit Finalist. She has taught English and biology in several countries.

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10.8: A Sample Visual Argument Analysis

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  • Saramanda Swigart
  • City College of San Francisco

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The essay "An Image Is Worth a Thousand Calls to Arms" by Saramanda Swigart analyzes a visual argument.

  • Sample visual argument analysis essay "An Image Is Worth a Thousand Calls to Arms" in PDF with margin notes
  • Sample visual argument analysis essay "An Image Is Worth a Thousand Calls to Arms" accessible version with notes in parentheses


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