Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. To create this article, 25 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time. This article has also been viewed 1,070,290 times. A critical analysis examines an article or other work to determine how effective the piece is at making an argument or point. These reviews are usually applied to articles or books, but you can also analyze films, paintings, and other less traditional works. While you can examine the author’s use of rhetorical appeals, your focus for a critical analysis should be on the overall ability and effectiveness of the article. Determine what the author is arguing for or against.
The thesis of an academic article might be easier to identify than the thesis article a creative work, movie, or painting. Ask yourself what the context of the argument is and why the analysis may have felt the need to argue it. Ask yourself if the author offers a solution to any problems they raise in their thesis. If so, ask if this solution is realistic. Identify the main ideas of the work in order to analyze its structure.
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In an academic article, the main ideas can usually be found amongst the topic sentences of each paragraph or section. Use a dictionary and encyclopedia to briefly look up words and other material that you know little to nothing about. More in-depth research is not usually necessary. Describe the work in your own words. One option is to make an outline of the work, while the second is the write a brief summary. An especially thorough reading of the work will include both.
If writing a summary of the work, it only needs to be one or two paragraphs. The three basic types of appeals are pathos, logos, and ethos. Pathos is an attempt to appeal to a reader’s emotions. Works meant to entertain generally rely on pathos. Logos is an attempt to use logic and reason to sway a reader’s perspective or opinion.
Ethos is an appeal to credibility. An author who explains why he or she should be trusted based on personal, professional, or academic merit is using ethos. Evaluate how well the author conveyed meaning. Determine how effective the author’s appeals were from your own perspective as a reader. Ask yourself if you had an emotional response to an emotional appeal.
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