How to Write a Critique Paper
Definition and purpose of a critique paper
Everyone knows what does critique means – it is usually about some disapproving statements on a certain point. The word “criticism” is often perceived in a negative way if we are talking about everyday life. But today, you have to deal with a critique paper, and this word has a different meaning in the context of an academic assignment. Let’s find out what kind of work you are going to write.
As a rule, critique is written in response to some piece of creation; it can be a book, a film, a theatrical play, some painting, or poetry. It also can be a critique of an article or another written work. This kind of assignment does not include any deep research; it’s more about a comprehensive assessment of some creative work. An important part of the criticism is highlighting the best points and defects as well as analyzing the usefulness and the main idea of the criticized work.
You aren’t only spotting flaws of it, but also noticing good features, points that you find interesting and new. You should analyze the way of representing the main idea in that piece of creation. What methods and instruments does the author use? Are they classical or maybe new and bold? Is the main idea of the work understandable and clear? There are a lot of questions to discuss in your critique paper, and it won’t be hard if you properly understood your topic and learned the structure of this assignment.
Remember that critique can be positive or negative depending on the criticized work, so try to be rational and attentive while analyzing that.
Structure of writing a critique paper
Before you start writing your critique, you should obviously read a book or watch a film you are about to analyze, and it’s better if you do it twice – to get to know it better and to notice every important detail in it. You can make some notes while reading\watching it; they will be helpful for you to organize your thoughts. Also, it would be easier to structure your critique if you write down some key points or facts that need to be mentioned – in this way you will not forget anything important.
As usual, you have to start your work with a proper introduction. A critique paper format requires including a short synopsis of the work you are writing about. Introduce the work to your readers with several brief sentences, don’t forget to mention the main idea of the work, it’s style or genre, some particular qualities that differentiate it from others.
After that, you can make a statement you are going to follow through your paper. Make your thesis brief and understandable, expressing your opinion and creating a tone of the whole paper. The introduction presents whether your critique will be positive or negative. You can focus on the idea of the work or decide to analyze the way it was created – it depends on your situation. But remember to mention every aspect of the work in your critique paper. Even if you have chosen to deeply analyze the message of it, don’t forget to write about the author’s techniques and instruments used for expressing the main ideas.
Make your general opinion about the work, and keep in mind that it should be backed up by good arguments in the main part of your critique paper. So put your statement in a couple of sentences and move on to the body part of your critique paper.
This part should contain several paragraphs interconnected with the same goal – analyzing the work and proving your point of view about it. Support your thesis statement with strong arguments, including some examples from work. Pay attention to the notes you made while examining the work; they may help you mention every point you have found interesting with no need to seek it out in work.
Make every paragraph of the body part dedicated to your thesis and fill them with proper evidence. Remember that critique paper is not about your personal feelings or preferences – your analysis and criticism should be objective and rational. It is not an argument if you just don’t like anything about the work. Try your best to explain why you dislike it; find out why they work to cause you to feel this way. Go the same way if you feel excited about some part of the work – write down why it should be noticed, what exactly makes this part significant.
Think about the goal of your piece of creation – have the author achieved it? In which way it was done? What is the main value of this work?
Support your opinions with straight facts and don’t make your critique too emotional, it should be adequate and rational, understandable not only for you but for all your readers. You can compare the criticized work with other creations of that author and find some specific features in it. If there are some complicated metaphors or art techniques in work try to explain them to your readers in a simple way and analyze if they are relevant.
Here you have to summarize all the evidence you have brought and concluded whether your thesis statement had been proved or not. Write down the results of your analysis and mention the whole point of your critique to highlight the idea you were presenting. Here you can include advantages and disadvantages you have found while conducting your analysis but make them really brief and don’t bring new thoughts and ideas in your conclusion, keep in mind that there is no more investigation, just summarizing.
In the end, you can present your ways of how this work can be improved. It is not necessary, but it will show your knowledge and skills in the field of culture you are writing about.
Tips for writing a critique paper
Present your opinion properly
A critique paper is a type of work where you can actually write down your personal thoughts about something, but it is still an academic paper, and it should stay objective and rational. This kind of assignment is meant to teach you how to support your opinion with facts and arguments. You have to learn to defend your point of view and make it convincing to the readers. Remember that without strong adequate arguments, your statement worth nothing, so try your best to support your thoughts persuasively.
Choose a suitable type of critique paper
Your assignment can be written in three ways, depending on what kind of work you are criticizing and what kind of idea you want to present to your readers. Your critique paper can be descriptive – it implies a review of the main features and qualities of the work. You can compare it to the other works within a certain genre, define similarities and differences between them.
Or you can choose a different type of writing and focus on the value of the work. You will have to analyze the goal and the main idea of a certain work and define the influence it makes on people. Define the cultural value of the work; don’t forget to bring concrete arguments.
The last type is the interpretive one; here, you will have to explain the meaning of the work. Try to make the main idea clear for your readers, analyze why the author used certain techniques to present it. Think about the meaning of metaphors and small details; look at them from different angles.
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Don’t focus on unimportant details
When you are writing a critique paper, focus on the content of the work you are analyzing. You may dislike the whole topic or genre of it, but they have nothing to do with the goal of your critique. In the same way, don’t discuss the author’s personality even if you don’t like every work made by him/her. Focus on your main thesis and follow it through your paper.
Now you have enough knowledge to write a decent critique paper, take it seriously, prepare strong arguments, follow the structure, and your assignment will be nice and interesting. Good luck with your work!