Academic writing can be seen as consisting of two important levels of discussion:
Most essays will consist of a mixture of both these styles of writing. However, there is usually more emphasis on critical analysis over description, which means that description should be kept to a minimum and that critical analysis should account for more of the overall word count. A rough rule of thumb would be one third description to two thirds analysis.
Critical analytical style
Using quotes in critical writing
Quotes and citations are often used in critical writing to provide evidence and data to inform the discussion. It is important to remember that good critical writing should include discussion of these quotes / citations – for example, an interpretation of their meaning, an explanation of their relevance, or a discussion of their validity. It is important to do something with the quotes to demonstrate that you understand clearly what they are saying and use them to move the discussion of the topic forward.
Remember with quotes / citations, it is not quantity, but relevance to the discussion and demonstrating understanding that is important.
Using paragraphs to enhance critical writing
You can use paragraphs to make a clear visual separation between descriptive writing and critical analysis in your essay. Simply switch to a new paragraph when you move from description to critical writing and vice versa.
This is helpful as it: