The word "critical" has positive as well as negative meanings. You can write a critical essay that agrees entirely with the reading. The word "critical" describes your attitude when you read the article. This attitude is best described as "detached evaluation," meaning that you weigh the coherence of the reading, the completeness of its data, and so on, before you accept or reject it.
The process. In the process of critical analysis, a student closely examines a single text (in this case, a primary document) written by a single author in an attempt to understand why the author wrote the particular text, in a particular way, to a particular audience, and for what purpose. Thus, the student seeks to determine: 1) what the author argued or described, 2) how the author presented his/her argument or interpretation, 3) why the author chose that method of presentation and persuasion (in other words, what did the author view as the evidence and arguments that would most likely persuade his/her audience, what assumptions did the author expect his/her audience shared, and what assumptions did the author challenge), and 4) what the author ultimately hoped to achieve by writing the text.
It’s rare for someone to say that they regret the time wasted learning how to become a successful entrepreneur, but the opposite can be said about the pointless required classes every college student must take in the beginning of their college education....
Though her love for Rochester isdeep and unswerving, her moral convictions are what ultimatelyguide her life and are what enable her to leave her life and lovebehind for an uncertain future.
Remember that there are different kinds of literature in each genre, andthat different kinds may rely on different devices. A poem may benarrative; it may be a dramatic monologue; it may be a collection ofimages with no human in sight; it may develop a logical argument; it maywork allusively, analogically, symbolically and so forth; it may have acareful stanza-by stanza development, or it may depend on repetitions,images, and so forth. A work of fiction might be allegorical, it mightuse magical realism, it might concentrate on the effects of theenvironment, or it might attempt metaphorically to represent the interiorlives of characters. Figure out what the main devices and strategies are,and concentrate on them, adding the lesser ones later and not necessarilyin full. Try, if you are not sure of your interpretation, starting withthe simplest, most obvious situation -- two lovers are meeting, say -- andadd other possible points of meaning as they seem to extend or illuminatethe dramatic situation -- for instance a storm is threatening, the meetingis seen from only one lover's point of view, each stanza gives a differentmeaning to what the significance of physical love might be, and so forth. Always deal with the 'form' as well as the 'content', however, with howthe way something is said shapes what it means. Write what you have to say as clearly and precisely as youcan. Have someone proof-read your paper for you for spelling andgrammatical errors and for intelligibility.
Begin to consider the journal articles and booksyou read in terms of these criteria.
Document: Introduction to Scholarly Writing: Plagiarism and Academic Integrity (PDF)This document supplements the information on plagiarism and academic integrity presented in the related video program.
Document: Introduction to Scholarly Writing: Tips for Success (PDF)This document, which accompanies the video program of the same title, provides resources for improving your scholarlywriting and critical-thinking skills.
Document: Common APA Style and Formatting Challenges (PDF)This document can be used as a quick reference guide for proper APA style and formatting.
Write 1 paragraph that synthesizes the two articles using a scholarly voice.Write a final paragraph in which you discuss the differences between summarizing and synthesizing research.
B. Characterization The idea here is that the various features of the prose, above, willsupport features of characterization which we can discuss in somewhatdifferent terms.
As narrativerepresents experience in some way and as it uses cultural codes andlanguage to do so, it inevitably must be read, as poetry, for itsstructure of values, for its understanding of the world, or world-view,and for its ideological assumptions, what is assumed to be natural andproper. Every narrative communication makes claims, often implicitly,about the nature of the world as the narrator and his or her culturaltraditions understand it to be. The kind of writing we call "literature"tends to use cultural codes and to use the structuring devices ofnarrative with a high degree of intentionality in order to offer a complexunderstanding of the world. The astute reader of fiction will be aware ofthe shape of the world that the fiction projects, the structure of valuesthat underlie the fiction (what the fiction explicitly claims and what itimplicitly claims through its codes and its ideological understandings);will be aware of the distances and similarities between the world of thefiction and the world that the reader inhabits; and will be aware of thesignificances of the selections and exclusions of the narrative inrepresenting human experience.
The dependent variable in the research I will be conducting will be happiness itself, “During the past 30 days, how often did you feel so sad that nothing could cheer you up?” The independent variable is whether the person if married or not, “What is you...
A narration requiresa narrator, someone (or more than one) who tells the story. This personor persons will see things from a certain perspective, or point ofview, in terms of their relation to the events and in terms of theirattitude(s) towards the events and characters. A narrator may beexternal, outside the story, telling it with an ostensibly objective andomniscient voice; or a narrator may be a character (or characters) withinthe story, telling the story in the first person (either centralcharacters or observer characters, bit players looking in on the scene). First-person characters may be reliable, telling the truth,seeing things right, or they may be unreliable, lacking inperspective or self-knowledge. If a narration by an omniscient externalnarrator carries us into the thoughts of a character in the story, thatcharacter is known as a reflector character: such a characterdoes not know he or she is a character, is unaware of the narration or thenarrator. An omniscient, external narrator may achieve the narrative bytelling or by showing, and she may keep the reader in a relation ofsuspense to the story (we know no more than the characters) or ina relation of irony (we know things the characters are unawareof).
In any case, who it is who tells the story, from whatperspective, with what sense of distance or closeness, with whatpossibilities of knowledge, and with what interest, are key issues in themaking of meaning in narrative. For a fuller discussion, see my page.
What are the basic ideas about the world that areexpressed? What areas of human experience are seen as important, and whatis valuable about them? What areas of human experience or classes ofperson are ignored or denigrated? A poem about love, for instance, mightimplicitly or explicitly suggest that individual happiness is the mostimportant thing in the world, and that it can be gained principallythrough one intimate sexually-based relationship -- to the exclusion, say,of problems of social or political injustice, human brokenness and pain,or other demands on us as humans. It might also suggest that the world isa dangerous, uncertain place in which the only sure ground ofmeaningfulness is to be found in human relationships, or it might suggeston the other hand that human love is grounded in divine love, and in theorderliness and the value of the natural world with all its beauties. What aspects of the human condition are foregrounded, what are suppressed,in the claims that the poem makes by virtue of its inclusions andexclusions, certainties and uncertainties, and depictions of the way thenatural and the human world is and works? For a brief elaboration of theconcept of ideology, see my on thesubject.
What can you say about the difference betweenyour culture's (and sub-culture's) views of the world, your ownexperiences, on the one hand, and those of the voice, characters, andworld of the poem on the other? What is it that you might have tounderstand better in order to experience the poem the way someone of thesame time, class, gender and race might have understood it? Is itpossible that your reading might be different from theirs because of yourparticular social (race, gender, class, etc.) and historical context? What about your world governs the way you see the world of the text? Whatmight this work tell us about the world of its making?