Critical Analysis: How To Do It In 3 StepsCritical Analysis: How To Do It In 3 Steps

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“You need to be more critical.”
“Your analysis was descriptive rather than critical.”
“Your critical analytical skills need some work.”

Sound familiar? The “You need to be more critical” feedback is something most students will come across at some point in their studies.

If you want to be more critical, you’ve got to DIE.

Not literally! It’s a grim acronym! It stands for Describe, Interpret, and Evaluate. Here are some key questions you need for each of these stages.

Critical Analysis: How to Execute it in 3 Steps

1) What key arguments are the authors making?

2) What truths are they claiming?

3) What are they advocating for?

4) What are they opposing?

5) How do the authors support their arguments?

6) In relation to other academic literature in the area, where does this work sit?

7) Regarding debates, controversies, perspectives, and body of theories, where is it positioned?

8) With whom does it associate?

9) Which perspectives does it endorse?

10) What challenges does it pose?

1) What are the meanings and implications of your analysis?

2) To whom or what can these arguments be applied?

3) To whom or what can’t these arguments be applied?

4) Who has it considered?

5) Who has it ignored?

6) Is it highly relevant for some but unclear for others?

7) How might your reading of the text be biased?

8) What’s your positionality?

9) What’s your theoretical take on this, and does it impact how you’re reading it?

1) What judgments have you formed about the value of this text?

2) How convincing is it?

3) Is it a significant contribution or a minor one?

4) Does it fulfill its claims?

5) What does it contribute to knowledge and understanding in this area?

6) What did it do differently from the previous literature?

7) Does the evidence provided withstand scrutiny?

8) Are the sources it drew upon valid and reliable?

9) What are its strengths and weaknesses?

10) Overall, where would you rank its usefulness and relevance to your topic?

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