How to Write a Criticism Paper

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Writing a review of a text can be a challenge. A criticism paper, often known as a critique, should combine a clear argument about what the text lacks while remaining gracious and constructive. A criticism, or critique, should involve an awareness of the text's intended audience, its goals and how well those goals are achieved. A criticism will move beyond the confines of a summary and include your own viewpoint.

  • List a set of questions to analyze the text you will critique. Example questions are as follows: What is the author's intended audience? What is the author's main argument? What kind of evidence did the author use to support that argument? Was the argument convincing? What assumptions or biases does the author have? These questions will serve as a guideline as you review the text and will help shape your paper.

  • Open the criticism paper with a concise summary of the author's main points. This passage will start the paper on neutral ground before you add your opinion and will inform the reader of the item under scrutiny.

  • Write a paragraph for each main point or argument you would like to critique. For each critique, clearly state the problem and why it is a problem (for example, that there was not enough evidence to support the claim), and give a suggestion as to how the author could have improved the passage. Use the questions you prepared to guide you as you write each criticism. Here is an example of a critique: "While the author utilized extensive medical studies to illustrate that viewpoints of health and wellness were changing in the 1990s, Smith failed to use sources outside of the medical field to contextualize his claims. Resources, such as opinion polls and informal medical discussions, would have bolstered his argument by illustrating how medical studies fit into the larger public perception of health and wellness."

  • Close the criticism paper with a final reflection on the overall value of the text. At this time, summarize the main points you made in the paper and suggest studies or innovations for the field as a whole in future studies or projects. This approach at the end of the paper will open the topic up for further discussion and keep the tone of the criticism paper positive and constructive.

Tips & Warnings

  • Have a peer or friend proofread the paper to look for unclear sentences and grammar mistakes.
  • Edit the paper a few times to look for mistakes.

References

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