Structure Of A Critical Essay, Outline, Intro, Conclusion

Critical Essay Structure

Mainly, a critical essay is different from any other piece of literature because it does not simply state facts, make a review of a movie, or create a fictional work of art. Instead, the main function of a critical essay is to provide a critique of a piece of literature/work (movie, art, novel, etc.) and provide a ‘critique’ for it. In order to provide a critique that a critical essay require, most writers focus at pointing out flaws or irregularities in previous works, or by providing a comparative analysis about how the work can be applied on real-life applications. Generally, however, the applications of a critical essay are numerous and varied. Thus, in this article we would not discuss what its applications are. Instead, we would provide you the tools and tips that you would need to write a critical essay, such as writing a solid and coherent critical essay structure.

Outline Writing

Just like any other literary piece writing a critical essay would be much easier and better by starting with an outline. A critical essay outline is the part of the essay which creates a “momentum” and establishes the “goal” of the main essay.

    • What would be my starting point?
    • What is my Thesis statement?
    • And how should I prove my thesis statement?

These are just some of the things that would be answered and developed in general, by creating a critical essay outline.

Example of a critical essay outline

The degree of Malnutrition in the State of Iowa

  • Introduction
    1. What is Malnutrition
    2. The state of Iowa and its demographics
  • Review of related literature
  • Methodology
  • Analysis
  • Conclusion
  • Recommendation
  • References

To start with the outline, of course, writer must have a clear understanding of his/her topic first. If your topic is not clear at first, creating a mental map of how you would approach your topic would be daunting. After establishing the main topic, start with ‘asking questions’. Remember that these questions are not only essential for your critical essay outline, but also for the other parts of your paper such as the thesis, introduction, analysis, and conclusion. In other words, keeping notes of these questions throughout your critical essay structure would make sure that every question is answered, and that you have fully written a full-blown paper and not a half-baked one.

Critical Essay Introduction Writing

Perhaps, the most problematic question that anyone who wants to write this type of essay is “How to start a critical essay?” Believe me, this is one of the most difficult parts because once you start your momentum would just let your ideas flow. However, despite the ‘seeming simplicity’ of the introductory part, most people seems to get stuck at this. The main reason for this is that most of them do not have an outline to begin with, thus making it difficult to approach the topic. Since, we’ve already tackled about how to write a critical essay outline on the preceding section, then you’re set to go. There are plenty of ways to start your critical essay introduction. Some people are used to asking a trivial question, others use a quote from the book that you’re reviewing (assuming that you’re making a critical essay of the book), while others just start with a straightforward statement of fact. One note however, in starting your critical essay introduction is that this is the part that would set the mood of your entire paper, so better “give it the best you can”. Remember that the introductory part is what captures the mind of the readers so make it very interesting and captivating. Another note is that, since a critical essay analyses a movie, film, or any other piece of literature/work while trying to connect it to real life applications (or philosophizes about it), rather than making a summary or a simple review of the literature. A critical essay introduction should state what your hypothesis is (what you’re trying to accomplish/prove in writing the essay). In other terms, a hypothesis is your critical essay’s Thesis, the gist of the article, and the goal of the literature.

structure of a critical essay

Critical Essay Thesis Writing

In this section, you would find tips on how to write a thesis for a critical essay. As established earlier, the thesis is a part of the introduction and not a separate section, but because of its primary importance, here are some tips and tricks on how to write your thesis statement.

First off, start with reviewing your main topic and questions. Most probably, you can juice out a lot of questions from a single topic with much ease. This is because there are plenty of topic choices that could lead to multiple other topics, again branching out to another. This part is usually very daunting especially if your questions are all pointing to different directions and trying to ask very different things (which are still within your critical essay topic). In order to circumvent this problem, what you could do is try to sort out the questions and ask what the “most important” ones are. Then, even if these remaining questions point out to very different answers, just try to make sense of what are the “commonalities” of these questions? In other words, ask yourself, “what is the main answer that all of these questions are trying to prove”. After creating your main question, the next step requires you to “answer the question itself”. This is where your thesis topic comes in. For example if you’re writing about why the trees are green based from your prior knowledge, you could argue that “the trees are green because of chlorophyll”. Don’t worry, answering the question at this point (introduction) does not mean right or wrong. All that you have to do is create a “scientific guess”, it doesn’t matter if you’re right or wrong, as long as you are pulling your answers from logical knowledge. And, voila, you have your critical essay Thesis.

Main Body Paragraphs Writing

The next part of your critical essay structure is the Main body. This part is usually as important as the critical essay thesis and the introductory part but is definitely longer and more detailed. In simpler terms, the main body paragraph is where you “prove your point”. However, in this part, proving your point is not simply writing down everything that you think and doing it “shotgun style”. In order to make your critical essay structure more solid and coherent, writing every separate paragraph of your essay should either try to prove your critical essay thesis or try to support the preceding paragraph before it. Generally, however, most of these paragraphs should try to prove you critical essay thesis. As a general rule of thumb, the structure of each of your paragraphs should be a “point” or an “idea” then the latter parts of the paragraph should then support that idea.

Critical Essay Conclusion Writing

The last part of your critical essay structure is the Conclusion. As the term implies, this is the part where you compile or synthesize all of the points that you’ve made in your main body part and provide a main answer to the critical essay thesis that you’ve made earlier. Remember, this conclusion should both provide the summary of the points presented in the main body and provide an answer to your hypothesis/thesis. An example from a conclusion from the previous example on the topic why the trees are green could go like this: Based from the experiment done and the data gathered it could easily be seen that the trees are green because of a pigment in their leaves, a pigment called Chlorophyll. Lastly, in answering your thesis, it doesn’t matter if what you answered earlier is not conclusive with what you’ve found out, just report that what you’ve found out and provide a discussion for it.