Welcome to this guide on Critical Writing. Being able to communicate your critical thinking in your assignments important to succeeding in your assignments.
This guide will help you understand:
Academic essays consist of two writing styles: descriptive writing and critical writing. To understand critical writing fully, let's examine what descriptive writing is.
A good way to remember descriptive writing is that provides information on: what, who, where, when. Descriptive writing demonstrates to your marker the knowledge you have of a subject (of what something is) and your knowledge of what other people say about that subject.
Critical writing requires you to apply analysis and evaluation to the descriptions you have provided. Writers who can produce persuasive critical writing use evidence to support their ideas. Critical writing allows you to:
To conclude, critical writing takes positive and negative approaches to ideas and interrogates them. Once you have interrogated an idea or theory, you can then provide an evidenced judgment.
It is important to remember that having lots of critical analysis will not matter if your ideas are not clearly structured.
To maintain structure in your critically writing, it is important to use paragraphs correctly. Using a good paragraph structure will enable the reader to clearly see descriptive writing followed by critical writing.
Take a look at this paragraph:
According to research by the Food Standards Agency (2015), there may be a link between late nights and childhood obesity in children. However, this research focuses only on the area of sleep and does not consider many of the other factors associated with late nights, such as what children eating when they stay up late. Compared to other known factors influencing childhood obesity, there is insufficient evidence about the effect of late nights for this to be taken very seriously by policymakers, though this may change with further research.
This paragraph consists of three sentences. What role do you think each sentence is playing?
According to research by the Food Standards Agency published in 2015, there may be a link between late nights and childhood obesity in children.
However, this research focuses only on the area of sleep and does not consider many of the other factors associated with late nights, such as what children eating when they stay up late.
Compared to other known factors influencing childhood obesity, there is insufficient evidence about the effect of late nights for this to be taken very seriously by policymakers, though this may change with further research.
It is good academic practice to follow a three-sentence structure where you can provide description, analysis and evaluation.
See below for a breakdown:
Descriptive statement + Critical statement + Judgment statement
According to… However… Overall…
Smith argues that… Alternatively… Therefore…
This structure is helpful as it:
When writing your critical and evaluation statement, think carefully about the point you are trying to make, and use the corresponding language to highlight this to the reader.
To view further guidance on critical writing phrases, we recommend visiting the University of Manchester's Academic Phrasebank.
At the University of Suffolk, there are books based at the Ipswich library that can help you to write critically.
In addition, out Academic Skills Advisors can support you in your critical writing through one-to-one appointments or through our workshops.
If you would like to speak to an Academic Skills Advisor about your critical writing, please visit our appointments page here: https://libguides.uos.ac.uk/121
We hope you found this page useful - if you have any comments or questions, please email us.
1:1 bookable appointments can be made with your Academic Skills Advisers for your subject area.
Students from Ipswich can book two appointments per week (if you are a student from the Learning Network, please contact your library) -
Appointments are scheduled in 30 minute slots.