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``Try to be critical’’ you may have received this comment from your lecturer after handing in an essay for marking. At that moment you may not have known what the lecturer meant. You may even have taken it to be a positive comment about your essay. All students irrespective of their field of study need to learn the skills of objective and critical thinking. They also need to learn how to construct an argument from an issue. In all academic works which may be; reading, writing, and listening to lectures the skill of critical thinking is essential. We therefore can deduce that critical analysis is a basic process required in academic work. Critical analysis bring out:
- an awareness of a set of interrelated critical questions
- the ability to ask and answer critical analysis questions at appropriate times
- The desire actively to use the critical analysis questions
The quality of your argument in an essay determines how much you can score from it. It is therefore important to learn these skills as a student. In this essay we focus on some rules to be followed in order to ensure that you write a critical analysis essay.
In this context an argument is not taken to mean a disagreement but to support one’s point of view and can also be taken to mean the use of evidence and reasons to support an idea. The rules for good critical analysis can be summarized as below:
In writing critical analysis is not simply concerned about writing in general. Before starting an assignment you need to focus mainly about its requirements. It is also wise to question yourself why the lecturer set that particular kind of an assignment, what is the lecturer expecting you to write, what are you expected to read on, what set of ideas and theories are expected to be the background of your essay. If you come up with answers to these questions then critical analysis of your paper will be possible. A good idea about writing critically is to begin with the analysis of the title, try and see what kind of different arguments can be drawn from it.
Another important rule is to identify your position in your critical analysis essay. For good critical analysis one needs to identify from which point of view he or she will write the essay from. When writing, the decision from which side to argue from in an essay is not essay to reach, sometimes you may read a topic and see as if all possible arguments are right. However it is necessary to decide your ground early enough, this will make your critical analysis essay have a good focus.
The third important rule is for one to think of how the argument from the selected point of view will persuade the readers. It is therefore important that from the point of view you choose you can present your argument well and also reach a conclusion. Note that critical analysis reasoning in writing is basically presenting a set of ideas and reason that is put in a logical and convincing order. Finally you need to come up with reasons that are convincing on support of your conclusion. These reasons should be able to convince a reader of course other than yourself, `` critical analysis thinking should be a constructive force and attitude, for examining all ideas and arguments, including your own dearly held ones’’
The fourth important rule in critical analysis essays is to come up with proofs that supports the conclusion you reached. You may have many reasons for supporting your conclusion but it is necessary to evaluate and identify the proof that best fits the conclusion reached. It is also necessary to research on the area of the proof selected to ensure that it is valid. It is also important to find and analyze any other argument that can be used to counter your point of view. Providing these evidences is an important step and is exactly what the lecturers will be after as part of your critical analysis.
The other important rule to consider in critical analysis is to actively engage in a debate with the different points of view in your essay. In this case you should consider all those points that are for or against your views. In critical analysis essays and research papers this is exactly what one is expected to do, that is to actively engage in a debate or dialogue with a particular school of thoughts and theories that form the basics of your essay. Sometimes it is difficult to make a decision on conflicting arguments and theories and this will lead to an unclear conclusion of your essay. It is therefore necessary for the student to weigh each argument into the critical analysis essay context and find out which one is more convincing. Finally, it is necessary to note that how you put your argument will determine how convincing they will be.