How to Write a Critique

Published under Tips on writing On 25 Jun 2015

Be a Good Critique Writer!

A critique is a category of academic writing that evaluates or analysis critically a literary or artwork. It must include an identification, a summary, and the critical evaluation of the work. The format of a critique is not complicated at all; the 'introduction, body and conclusion' format of an essay is applied in critique writing. Note that the uniqueness of a critique over a typical essay is the content of the sections. The body of a critique should contain a summary of the work being evaluated and an assessment that has a clear judgment. The main objective of a critique is to estimate the utility of a particular work in its subject field. It should portray the author’s effectiveness in presenting his argument. Before writing a critique, the writer should have a clear understanding of the particular work. Below are the guidelines.

Get Armed to Critique!

I. What are you critiquing? Understand the work!

You cannot critique work you do not comprehend. Study it carefully noting the main ideas of the author. You should be able to understand the intended audience, the subject matter of the work and its usefulness the expected readers. Take note of your reactions after studying the work. Are you contented or confused? What questions are left unanswered?

II. A little research may be necessary

For you to be able to write an excellent critique, you must have some background information on the field of the subject of the work. For instance, if you are critiquing a research paper on the development of a cure for cancer, you should know more about cancer and other cure researches already undertaken or ongoing. This will help you identify the strengths and flaws of the work you are critiquing. Now you are armed! Write the Critique.

Write the Critique

1. Introduction

Start by introducing the work you are critiquing. Assume your audience has not come across the work before. The readers of your critique do not know the author either. Also, state the work’s context. The introductory paragraph should end with what some instructors call ‘thesis statement.' It is a sentence summarizing your evaluation of the work as positive, negative or mixed.

2. Summary

Give an overview of the main ideas of the work. The key points you will highlight  form the basis of your critique paper. This is what you will ‘criticize’ in the next paragraph. Make sure that you mention all the main points.

Note: You might be tempted just to state your ideas of interest in the critique, which is not professional. Your critique should be fair and honest.

3. Critique

This is the body of your work. It should, therefore, be a comprehensive assessment of the item you are critiquing. Your critique should not be inclined to the negative opinions only. It should address both the achievements and failures of the creator. Some of the guiding questions and statements to consider in your evaluation are as follows;

  • Were the objectives of the work achieved?
  • Are there assumptions made by the author and how do they affect the effectiveness of the work?
  • For a creative work, state the styles and techniques used by the author and how or whether they assist in attaining the objective of the work.
  • For a critique of a research paper or a media item, assess the data collection methods that were used.
  • Are the author’s claims well supported? Is there enough evidence for the claims?
  • The body of the critique depends, therefore, on the type of work being assessed. The work can be a song, a film, an article, a research paper and so on.

Your assessment should be having examples from the item you are critiquing to support your judgment. Evidence from external sources should be included too and cited accordingly.

4. Conclusion

It should be concise, indicating your overall assessment and the reasons for your judgment. You may also suggest improvement recommendations to the creator of the work. Below the concluding paragraph, add a reference list for all the citations included in the critique.