3 tips for writing a critical essay

If you’re reading this article, you have probably been hit with a critical essay assignment. Many students find these to be the most difficult types of essays. Today, you will learn the three biggest tips for writing an amazing critical essay.

  1. Avoid emotions and generalizations
  2. Be precise, logical, and objective.
  3. Back up anything presented with hard facts (citations).

If you are at all observant, you will notice that the first two items are opposites of each other.

Why you should avoid emotions and instead employ logic in your critical essay

The point of a critical essay is to evaluate something in a way that shows if the author agrees or disagrees with it. You could try to use emotions and persuasive techniques and accomplish the same thing. That wouldn’t be a critical essay, though.

In a critical essay your entire goal is to use provable facts that are backed by reliable sources to prove your position on the subject. If the essay is written in any other way, then it is some other kind of an essay.

Tips one and two are a given once you understand what a critical essay is. Now that we have established that, let’s delve into the best way to present the information that will back your position.

How to properly back up your position with facts

First, make sure that you are citing your paper in the format that is required by your instructor. Once you are doing that, though, you want to make sure that you are presenting them to the reader in the best possible way.

An example is in order. Assuming you were writing a critical essay on the topic of population control as a means to end world hunger, there are two ways to do this.

  1. With the population at seven billion and climbing, we can’t possibly grow enough food to feed everyone. We can’t keep on tearing down rain forests in order to grow crops. It’s cruel to the planet and will never work.
  2. The population currently sits at seven billion and growing. One square kilometer can feed 3,333 people. With only 13,805,153 km² of arable land on the Earth it becomes a matter of simple math to see that…

Now, of course the “simple math” referenced above would turn out to be wrong. There is more than enough arable land to feed all seven billion people and many billions more. But the point should be clear.

Write your critical essay using only clear, precise, objective facts. Your aim is not to get the reader to think about what you are saying with the hopes that he or she will be persuaded.

The most important tip to writing a critical essay is understanding that you must present the evidence in a way that makes it impossible for any reader to take a differing position.