Your written summary and analysis of two articles (attached) should be about 2-2.5 pages, totaling about 4-5 pages.
A critical analysis asks you to summarize the argument and critically engage the readings you chose.
The goal is twofold:
1) identify and explain the argument that the author is making, and
2) evaluate this argument and bring context to it how do you understand it in your own life? eg: critically engage with the argument.
One of the key directions of these assignments is often to avoid/minimize summary you are not writing a book report, but evaluating the authors argument.
Potential points of criticism
Once you recognize that these authors are making arguments, you can analyze whether or not you find their argument compelling. Following are some possible questions you could ask to evaluate arguments:
Potential Theoretical questions How does the author understand the situation? What is his/her/their theoretical background? How would this influence their view of the situation?
Potential Definitional questions – Are all the concepts in the text clear? Does the author define a concept vaguely to allow it to travel across different situations? If a concept can relate two seemingly different situations, is the concept meaningful?
Potential Evidence questions:
Does the authors evidence support their argument? Do they have enough specific evidence to prove the more general point? (be sure to tell us what kind of evidence and how their evidence supports their argument)
Does the author underemphasize or ignore evidence that is contrary to their argument?
Is an argument compelling if it ignores an obvious exception?
Is the evidence credible? Can you identify a bias in the evidence?
Was the study done by a political action committee, and environmental NGO, or a nonpartisan research group? How might a group affiliation or funding influence the outcome of research?
Implication/Policy relevance questions What are the implications of this argument? Are those implications positive or negative? How has the author dealt with this issue?
Other potential approaches:
Is the authors argument consistent throughout the essay?book? Or, does the conclusion seem to offer a different argument than he/she presented in the introduction?
Does the authors background have important implications for their argument?
Do the specific language choices of the author betray a certain ideology or bias, or frame the argument in a certain way?
STRUCTURING A CRITICAL ANALYSIS PAPERMost critical analysis papers begin with a short summary of the work and then dive in to the argument. Since these analyses are short, it is important to be concise in all parts of your analysis. Writing an outline (and following it) is crucial to remain focused on your argument and avoid summary or irrelevant description.Following is a sample outline for a critical analysis paper: I. Introduction
Identify the work being criticized
Present thesis argument about the work
II. Short summary of the work
Does not need to be comprehensive present only what is necessary to summarize the argument
Reflect on the argument and engage with it – bring context from your own life and understanding
Point out the importance of your argument
Note potential avenues for additional research or analysis
Even though you are potentially only referring to one source, you still need to cite your information, using either parenthetical citation or footnotes/endnotes.
Double check the assignment to make sure you have covered all the points that we have asked for.
Attached is a rubric and example paper.