How to write a critical analysis essay step by step easily

The ability to write a critical analysis essay is a vital skill for anyone who wants to be successful at university. Critical analysis is a key element to understanding any university subject and it can help open your horizons to a great number of opportunities in your future. As such, it is wise to fully understand how to write a critical analysis essay step by step so that in the future you will know how to critically analysis any subject that you wish. This will be an invaluable skill that you will be sure to rely on more and more as time goes on; the ability to assess a subject or a situation in a relatively short period of time and come to a clear judgment will ensure that you can do any job that you may possibly want to the highest possible standard. However, if you don’t know how to write a critical analysis essay then you may feel as if you are in for a stressful time finding out how to do it. Don’t worry, this article will break down exactly what you have to do to write one, step by step.


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When writing a critical analysis essay, it is important that you are used to and understand the source material that you will be analysing. It does not matter what subject you are doing – whether it is History or Fashion, your analysis of the source material will be the same for whatever subject you are doing. To understand the source material properly you must read it at length and read around it as well so that you have a full understanding of what it means in the context of the subject.

For example, if you are writing a critical analysis essay about the works of Aristophanes, it is important that you understand the play or plays you will be writing about in the context of their time and how they fit into the wider period. By understanding this and being able to analyse how this affects the text and understand what it means for the source material you are reviewing. If you know the source material that you will be writing your critical analysis essay on well before you have to write it, then it is wise to practise writing some of the analysis out so that you have an idea as to how you will approach it when you come to the actual paper. This will ensure that when you plan and write your essay it will seem like second nature to trot out analysis of the work and thus demonstrate that you can do the work easily. Of course, this wouldn’t work if you don’t know the specific material that you will be analysing beforehand, but it will give you an idea of how to practise your analysis and ensure that when you come to write such an essay when you know exactly what the source material is, that you will be fully prepared. For example, let’s see how you might analyse Aristophanes in a way that would help with the preparation for your essay.

“In Knights, Aristophanes uses the political circumstances of the late Athenian democracy to subvert conventional ideas of class and politics in order to present a satirical commentary on the political elite. His characterisation of the demagogue Cleon as equivalent to a slave is a means of not simply discussing how Aristophanes felt about the Athenian political system (that political leaders were slaves to the masses) but also satirising Cleon’s low birth “a tanner’s claw” is how the Cleon like character is referred to throughout the play, there is a direct reference to Cleon’s father being a tanner. This type of commentary was dangerous for its time; the notion of the “freedom of the press” was over a thousand years away and Aristophanes was attacking a powerful man who was sensitive to his origins. This is perhaps why Knights is seen as such a subversive and ground-breaking piece – it caricatures a powerful man in an age when its author could have as easily been executed as he could have been lauded. “

This type of analysis lies at the heart of a critical analysis essay. By understanding the context in which the source material was created and by being able to analyse and understand the intent of the author, you will be able to demonstrate that you can not only understand the significance of elements of the source material that are obvious in the text but also that you can understand how they relate to other occurrences that happened during the time period that the material was written or created. This is one of the most important elements in understanding how to write a critical analysis essay step by step; in other words breaking down the various parts of writing the essay in easy to understand sections and allowing your brain to figure out how to be able to replicate such work easily when you come to write your essay in full. This way you will ensure that your essay is the best it can possibly be.

Once you have spent time analysing your source material and considering it in its historical context, it is time to write out a full plan so that you will be able to know what to say when you get to write your essay. This doesn’t mean that you have to write out everything that you will put in your essay into your plan; this would simply mean that your plan would become too long and effectively become your essay – you should only include certain details in your plan so as to make it easy to remember and not take too much time to write. To ensure that you know exactly how to plan your essay, we’ll break down several methods of planning that you can use to ensure that it is the best possible piece of work you can do.

  • A Traditional Plan. A Traditional Plan is the usual method of planning an essay; you write the question at the top of a piece of paper, write a brief outline of your summary before writing down your main arguments and breaking it up into sections which, when writing your essay in full, will allow you to better understand how your analysis works as a whole and how it works individually. This will give you the confidence to accept that your essay isn’t an insurmountable adversary that cannot be defeated but rather a piece of work that, when done in stages, can not only be enjoyable but also a lot easier than you may have otherwise thought. A Traditional Plan is best used when you are writing an essay under timed conditions or if you are writing an essay that you aren’t entirely confident about and feel that you need to spend time working through your plan to ensure that your finished essay is of a high standard.
  • A Spider Plan. A Spider Plan may sound as if it involves arachnids, but it doesn’t. Like a spider diagram, A Spider Plan involves you putting the question or main idea behind your essay question in the middle of a piece of paper and then drawing lines out from it and arranging your arguments that way. As such, it allows you to create a plan for your essay in an imaginative and memorable way that will ensure that you don’t forget anything that you need to include in your essay due to the dullness of the way your plan is constructed. This type of plan is useful if you have been set a critical analysis essay at home and you want to try to see if you can do better at it by approaching it in a different way. However, this particular method may not be advisable if you are planning for an essay that needs to be done under timed conditions or if you don’t feel overly confident with the question you are doing or with the particular topic you are doing it on. To understand how to write a critical analysis essay step by step it is important that you understand how to properly plan it.
  • A Video Plan. A Video Plan is a means of creating a plan that is relatively new and different from other ways of writing a plan. Rather than simply writing your plan down on a piece of paper you record a video or audio of your plan and play it back to yourself before writing your essay. As some students learn better by using auditory or visual means of learning this may help you to be able to remember your plan and write your essay in the most professional way possible. Obviously, you would not be able to use this method if you are writing your essay under timed conditions, but it could be a useful means of ensuring that your essay is of the highest quality and that you are fully engaged with writing it.

If any of the plans here aren’t the best way for you to plan, however, don’t worry – there are lots of different ways that you can plan, and you should always use the method that you feel the most comfortable with.

Your introduction should be concise, respond to the question you have been set and introduce your argument. You should not try to analyse anything in this part of your essay; its sole function is to ensure that you can introduce your argument successfully.

Regardless of your subject, your main argument should be strong and as analytical as possible. Your argument should be a means of showing off your ability to understand the subject at hand and to demonstrate you can analyse it effectively and consistently.

Hopefully, this article will have demonstrated exactly how to write a critical analysis essay step by step and you will feel confident enough to write a strong essay. However, if there is some element you aren’t certain about, perhaps we can help?

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