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Writing a Critique

Tutorial for writing a critique in an academic setting.

Parts of a Critique Essay

There are 4 distinct components to a critique, and those are the:

Each of these components is described in further detail in the boxes on this page of the guide.

Introduction

An effective introduction:

  • Provides a quick snapshot of background information readers may need in order to follow along with the argument
  • Defines key terminology as needed
  • Ends with a strong argument (thesis)

For additional guidance on writing introduction paragraphs, librarians recommend:


Need some extra help on thesis statements? Check out our Writing Effective Thesis Statements guide.

Summary

A summary is a broad overview of what is discussed in a source. In a critique essay, writers should always assume that those reading the essay may be unfamiliar with the work being examined. For that reason, the following should be included early in the paper:

  • The name of the author(s) of the work
  • The title of the work
  • A quick overview of the
    • Main ideas presented in the work
    • Arguments presented in the work
    • Any conclusions presented in the work

Depending on the requirements of your particular assignment, the summary may appear as part of the introduction, or it may be a separate paragraph. The summary should always be included before the analysis, as readers need a base-level familiarity of the resource before you can effectively present an argument about what the source does well and where improvements are needed.

More information about summaries can be found on our Writing an Effective Summary guide.

Critique

The critique is your evaluation of the resource. A strong critique:

  • Discusses the strengths of the resource
  • Discusses the weaknesses of the resource
  • Provides specific examples (direct quotes, with proper citation) as needed to support your evaluation
  • Discusses anything else pertinent to your evaluation, including
    • The accuracy of the resource
    • Any bias found within the resource
    • The relevance of the resource
    • The clarity of the resource

A critique is your opinion of the text, supported by evidence from the text.

If you need further guidance on how to evaluate your source, you can also consult our Evaluating Your Sources guide.


Need help with citation? 

Conclusion

A conclusion has three main functions in an essay. A conclusion will:

  • Summarize the main ideas presented in the essay
  • Remind readers of the thesis (argument)
  • Draw the paper to a close 

For additional guidance, the library recommends: