Part of becoming a successful critical reader is being able to translate the thoughts you had whilst reading into your writing. Below are some written examples of the observations a critical reader may make whilst commenting on various issues in text.
NOTE: The critical analysis component of each example below is highlighted in blue.
Further examples of critical writing can be found on the UniLearning Website.
Overgeneralisations and assumptions
Researchers often make simplifying assumptions when tackling a complex problem. While the results might provide some insight, these answers will also likely have some limitations.
Researchers may simplify the conditions under which an experiment occurs, compared to the real world, in order to be able to more easily investigate what is going on.
Objectivity of research
Some research may be biased in its structure.
Limitations due to sample group
Limitations can arise due to participant numbers. Example:
Limitations can also arise if there is a limited range of participants.
Limits to applicability
There can be concerns with studies’ applicability, for a number of reasons.
Results not replicated
One such reason could be that the study results have not been replicated in any other study. If results have not been replicated, it indicates that the results are suggestive, rather than conclusive.
Long term effects unknown
There would be limits to applicability if long term effects have not been tested.
It is important to look for things that have not been discussed within studies to ascertain whether this would limit the applicability of the results.
Correlation vs. causation
It is important to be aware that just because one variable is correlated with another, it doesn’t necessarily mean that one variable is the cause of another.
1. The introduction includes the name of the movie and the director’s name. 2. The introduction identifies the thesis, or focus, of the analysis. 3. The Ideas presented are supported with details from the movie. 4. Supporting materials are smoothly incorporated into the sentences. 5. In writing this critical analysis, the writer has considered purpose and audience. 6. The conclusion brings the essay to a definite close.
7. The paragraph is relatively free of errors in spelling, grammar, usage, mechanics, and manuscript form.
Sample Outline for a Critical Essay
The following is a basic outline of a critical essay, the kind that might be written in a composition, literature, or film class. in this case, the writer is analyzing the meaning of particular symbols in a short story and film. Keep in mind that this is only one kind of possible organization; there are several ways to structure an essay effectively. Outlines can also vary in the amount of detail. Always check with your instructor if you are unsure about the organization of your essay.
Title: Symbols of Freedom in Stephen King’s story “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption” and Frank Darabont’s film The Shawshank Redemption. Thesis Statement: In their different version of Shawshank Redemption, author Stephen King and director Frank Darabont make distinctions between freedom and captivity using a bird, a library, and a poster as symbols of freedom and justice.
•The theme of freedom
•Contrast freedom with the idea of unfair imprisonment
•A bird, a library, and a poster as symbols of the human spirit, longing for community, and rebirth
II. The bird as the struggle of Andy Dufesne’s human spirit
•Bird as a universal symbol of freedom
•”Caging” the bird is a metaphor for Andy’s false imprisonment
•Jake’s different fates in the book and the film: warning and hope
III. The library as a symbol for community
•The library as a place of freedom within the prison
•Represents Andy’s connection with his own intellectual society
•The library as a connection between Andy and the other prisoners
IV. The poster as a symbol of rebirth
•The women on the posters represent the “outside”
•The posters guard and protect Andy’s struggle for freedom
•Andy must go through the poster to escape
•The sewage pipe Andy crawls through is like a birth canal
•Rita Hayworth is like a “mother” to Andy’s new life
•Andy’s freedom was stolen
•Andy “steals” his freedom back
•Andy’s escape is the ultimate triumph of the human spirit over injustice and inhumanity