How to Write a Critical Essay Step-by-Step

How to Write a Critical Essay Step-by-Step - examples

A critical essay aims to give writers a chance to improve their critical writing abilities. Moreover, the paper written should trigger the reader’s mind provocative reason, and ultimately get to know how to write a critical analysis essay. In addition, a writer for a critical essay is advised to base their reasoning within a specified theme that could be from a book or film, or even a broader scale. Critical writing needs a strong capability to consider what the creative author or film director aimed to express to their original audience and give a logical explanation that new audiences can understand.

What is the Meaning of Critical Essay?

A critical essay comprises an evaluation of a matter from an observer’s perspective and carefully analyzing the situation and providing a critique that will give substantial information based on the aspect or subject in question. In your essay, you can choose to be either positive or negative in the essay being written. A critical essay is an essential academic instrument that enables the students to develop both their subjective and in-depth investigation of a provided topic.

Critical writing has several goals which include;

  • Giving an independent perception of the initial writer or a director’s work
  • Giving all-round scrutiny of the reliability of the original author's work
  • Giving a complete valuation of the creative author’s work and ability to preserve and offer care to their chief argument or perception.
  • Giving the audience an insight into the fortes and faults of an article or a journal entry
  • Providing critique to an original writer’s work

Also read: How to Write an Article Critique: Tips & Examples

7 Main Steps to Write a Critical Essay

It may seem as a complicated form of writing when it comes to writing a critical essay but be rest assured it is easy. Below is the step by step guidelines to writing a well-structured critical essay that is captivating to the target audience.

  1. Have a deep understanding of what is required of you: find clarification in instances that you might feel uncertain.
  2. With the source material available, develop a reliable understanding of it: the source material can be from a book or a film among other forms of media. With the excerpt provided, try working with it as your source material and it is advisable to read or review the source material several times.
  3. Write down notes as you assess the source material: this helps craft a top-notch critical paper by taking notes of the main ides or concepts originating from the original creator's work.
  4. Bring to light the primary challenges or patterns that are under critique: after careful review of the text or film, identifying prevailing new challenges will help provide a critique to areas of concern
  5. Realize solutions to all problems identified: offering solutions to all problems identified are essential, and a summary of this could be used as your thesis statement.
  6. Come up with a well-structured outline that will help develop the critical essay and have a logical flow of ideas, the more information used within the plan, the direct the description of the writing process.
  7. Write your essay using the rough draft you created for your specified topic of discussion.
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Critical Essay Outline

Critical Essay Outline

Even with a topic provided and despite its nature, a standard structure should be followed while writing a critical essay. All the parts of the structure should be included while writing a critical essay. Below is the critical essay structure that you might use while writing a critical essay:

How to write Introduction for a Critical Essay

The introduction should have a direct description of the topic that is to be discussed. The initial statement should be precise and direct to the point, but extensive enough to enable the target audience to know what area of focus is targeted. The following are the best tips for writing a compelling thesis statement:

  • Be clear with your description
  • Avoid repetition
  • Embed the thesis statement in the last sentence of your introduction
  • Always specify your work and stick to a description of the central purpose of the paper

The Body

The main body for the critical essay ought to express the theme or communication intended. The paragraphs are meant to provide substantial support to the thesis statement. Support provided is achievable by offering a claim or evidence.

How to write Conclusion for a Critical Essay

The conclusion involves restating the thesis statement and a summary of your main argument. Additionally, give the reader something that they may consider and think about, or provide a strong statement that will directly link your essay in totality. The main agenda is to give the reader an incentive to study more about the topic and give them an incentive to research more about it, basis of research proposal.

Critical Essay Outline Example

Critical essay examples give the structure that the writer can use to give more information about the chosen topic. In our case, let us use the topic “The female authority in one flew over the cuckoo’s nest” to depict how the outline would be:

The female authority in one flew over the cuckoo’s nest


  • Clarify how the female gender assume authority
  • Give a clear account of Nurse Ratched’s personality together with the subsidiary female characters
  • Describe a point within the context of the book when the stance of women is depicted as evil or cruel.


  • Describe clearly the given variances among the male and female population
  • Analyze and describe why women are the authority and the male gender patients
  • Extensively describe why the female gender is described as cruel and cunning


  • Restate the argument described in the opening thesis statement. Clearly explain why you chose the argument presented
  • Give a summary of the main arguments in the body paragraphs

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Several diverse types of critical analysis exist that students can be asked to write while doing critical analysis. They include formalist criticism, reader-response criticism, biographical criticism, gender criticism, new historicism, mythological criticism, psychoanalytical criticism, and sociological criticism.

Critical Essay Topics Examples

  1. Effects of inflation of economies
  2. Causes of juvenile incarceration
  3. America and Colonization
  4. Unemployment in society
  5. Does technology affect social interactions?
  6. Greenhouses and energy
  7. Xenophobia in South Africa
  8. Teenagers and drugs
  9. Homelessness in the U.S.
  10. Social class and crime
  11. Environmental conservation
  12. Should poachers be killed?
  13. Are criminals born or made?
  14. Multiculturalism
  15. Gender roles in society


Remember to place your focus on the introduction, body, and conclusion of the topic of discussion, then expand your description and clearly explain. Also, adding several main ideas to the heading and utilize it as the framework of your essay. Use free examples to get an idea of how to structure your work. You will find samples made by professionals at After completion of your outline, go to your rough draft, not forgetting including the main ideas or challenges that you found out in your preliminary appraisal. After this, write down your final copy and pay close attention to the details that formulate your main ideas, check your spelling, grammar, and the truthfulness of your ideas and provided facts.

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