A critique is an analysis of and a commentary on another personâs scholarly work. A critical response essay (or interpretive essay or review) has two missions: to summarize a sourceâs main idea and to respond to the sourceâs main ideas with reactions based on your ideas or opinions about the work(s).
Writing a critical response essay first requires that you understand the article or subject in question. It is an essay where you write down your thoughts on the topic, and your responses must be engaging, well-informed, and analytic. You must have a claim or an argument that refutes the topic, or accepts it and further refines its key points, or highlights its strengths and weaknesses. It is important to cite reliable sources to support either your agreement or opposition to the argument being made by the author(s).
Suggestions for the approach to take for putting this paper together:
- Begin your paper with a brief summary of your topic. This introduction to your topic can come from the textbook for this course. Please read through the textbook to select your topic, and use the information there to assist you with introducing the topic; this should be a brief paragraph. Please cite the textbook author in this part of the paper.
- Review the main arguments and the supporting premises of your selected source. Your selected source may be book, a book chapter, a peer-reviewed journal article, a news article, a documentary, a website or blog, a movie, a television series, a speech, etc.
- Summarize the main points in your selected source. What are the main points, ideas, or arguments of the work (book, article, policy analysis, etc.)? What evidence/support does the author give? What is the primary purpose of the work?
- Next, write up your critique of the work, thinking about the following questions: Does the work achieve its purpose? Fully or only partially? Was the purpose worthwhile to begin with? Or was it too limited, trivial, broad, theoretical, etc.? Is any of the evidence weak or insufficient? In what way? Conversely, is the evidence/support particularly effective or strong? Was there any area where the author offered too much or too little information?
- If you agree with some or all of the arguments in the series, cite the main reasons why, using supporting documentation. Supporting documentation can come from the textbook for this course or other reliable sources (books, articles, government reports, etc.). If you do not agree, also state your reasons, again, using supporting documentation. What is important is that you write down your position as it is crucial for your critical response essay.
- In writing a critical response to your main source, the most important point to remember is that you should argue your case for or against the source. Refute it, but do so with clear reasons. If you accept it, do not end there. Rather, improve the strengths and clarify the weaknesses. Remember, in your critical response essay, you must respond, and you must respond critically.
- End your critical response essay with a concluding paragraph. This is where you should restate the thesis statement and the primary justifications for your position. Avoid adding new information here as that should have been added within the main body of the essay.
- The paper should be a minimum of 1000 words, double spaced, and follow the rules of good essay writing.
- The paper should be appropriately cited following the APA style manual. Please refer to an online site, such as Purdue Owl, for APA citation style. Please see the manual posted on Moodle for your use.
- At the top of the paper and to the left, type your name along with the title. No title page is required.
- Please insert page numbers either at the top or the bottom of the paper.
- Please include a references in which you list, using APA citation style, all sources cited in the paper.
Please take the time to adequately review and edit your paper for grammatical or punctuation errors. If you are unsure about your writing skills, please visit the Writing Center for assistance.
Before beginning this paper, please read again the information in the course syllabus about copy/paste plagiarism and the Academic Integrity Policy. The consequences of cheating on this assignment include receiving a zero on the assignment and/or failing the course.
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