Critical Analysis Essay Outline

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In a critical analysis essay, you systematically evaluate a work's effectiveness. The following is a basic outline of a critical essay, the kind that.

Critical Analysis Essay Outline
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Critical Analysis Outline

A critical analysis is a form of writing in which the writer evaluates someone else’s work of literature. This could be a book, movie, essay, or painting. The critical analysis helps readers to have a better understanding of the item under critique. Critical analysis expresses the writer’s opinion hence it is subjective.


Writing a critical analysis requires the following steps:

  • Identify the author’s thesis and purpose.
  • Analyze the structure of the work by identifying all the main ideas.
  • Consult to understand the material that is unfamiliar to you.
  • Make an outline of the work or write a description of it.
  • Write a summary of the work.
  • Determine the purpose. The purpose could be to inform with factual material, persuade with emotions or to entertain.
  • Evaluate the means through which the authors have accomplished their purpose.

When writing a critical analysis, adhere to the following format:

Critical Analysis Outline

1. Introduction

For an effective introduction:

  1. Identify the work you are criticizing.
  2. Present a thesis.
  3. Preview your thesis by stating the steps you will take to prove it.

2. Short Summary Of The Work

Your summary does not need to be comprehensive. Present what the reader needs to understand your argument.

3. The Body

Your argument may include sub-arguments to prove the validity of your main argument. Your argument should be the bulk of your critical analysis.

You could evaluate the following arguments when writing a critical analysis:

  • Theoretical views - Explain how the author understands the situation, their theoretical background and how you would influence their view of the situation.
  • Definition views - State whether all the concepts in the text are clear, if the author define a concept vaguely to allow it to travel across different situations or if the concept can relate two seemingly different situations.
  • Evidence views - State whether the author’s evidence supports their argument. Explain whether the author ignores evidence that is contrary to their argument. State whether the evidence provided by the author is credible.
  • Policy relevance views - State what the implications of the argument are and whether they are positive or negative.
  • Other approaches:
  • State whether the author’s arguments are consistent throughout the book and whether the conclusion offers a different argument than the introduction.
  • Explain whether the author’s background has important implications for their argument.
  • State whether the specific language choices by the author betray a certain ideology.

Critique Essay Outline

4. Conclusion

For an effective conclusion, you should do the following:

  • Explain how you have proven your argument.
  • Point out the importance of your argument.
  • Note potential avenues for additional analysis.

Critical Analysis Essay Outline Format

5. References

Critical Essay Outline Format

Cite your source of information in the manner prescribed in the marking rubric. Refer to your university website or library to gain an understanding of how to use various referencing systems.