ellasimmons24
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Does anyone have any tips for critical analyis essays (at uni level). I have searched online to find some useful tips but wonder if anyone has anything specific they did for a humanities essay and what helped them think more critically to get a good mark.

Thanks x
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Arden University
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Hi there,

I am not a humanities student but something I do to help me when I am writing an essay (I do psychology and criminology so it's a lot of critically analysing!!) is finding an in-depth definition on what it is they are referring to and inferring from that how I am going to go about my essay. So, for example, when critically analysing in the past I have found this definition: https://www2.southeastern.edu/Academ...0and%20purpose
I then use this definition and connect it to the question at hand. I also find looking up the dictionary definition of the words can help you to get a better grasp at it. For example, critical "inclined to criticise severely and unfavourably" and analysis "detailed examination of the elements or structure or something". In simpler terms, they are asking you to criticise a subject area or point in all its individual parts; usually subjective meaning you are able to put your own opinion or views on it.

This is a good link that gives you definitions on many different types of essays I like to use: https://www.le.ac.uk/oerresources/ss...ls/page_01.htm

Hope this helps

Toni,
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ellasimmons24
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(Original post by Arden University)
Hi there,

I am not a humanities student but something I do to help me when I am writing an essay (I do psychology and criminology so it's a lot of critically analysing!!) is finding an in-depth definition on what it is they are referring to and inferring from that how I am going to go about my essay. So, for example, when critically analysing in the past I have found this definition: https://www2.southeastern.edu/Academ...0and%20purpose
I then use this definition and connect it to the question at hand. I also find looking up the dictionary definition of the words can help you to get a better grasp at it. For example, critical "inclined to criticise severely and unfavourably" and analysis "detailed examination of the elements or structure or something". In simpler terms, they are asking you to criticise a subject area or point in all its individual parts; usually subjective meaning you are able to put your own opinion or views on it.

This is a good link that gives you definitions on many different types of essays I like to use: https://www.le.ac.uk/oerresources/ss...ls/page_01.htm

Hope this helps

Toni,
Student Ambassador
Thank you! I found this super helpful x
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jackmarshal757
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(Original post by ellasimmons24)
Does anyone have any tips for critical analyis essays (at uni level). I have searched online to find some useful tips but wonder if anyone has anything specific they did for a humanities essay and what helped them think more critically to get a good mark.

Thanks x
Hold on, give me a minute

Okay so you want to know how to critically analyse an essay? I did all humanities at GCSEs and got 7-9 in them and do all humanities at A levels.

Essentially the first thing is, you have to first decide where you’re coming from and what your essay is going to achieve by the end of it. So I’d recommend you come up with a decision beforehand. So you may have been told to do the classical for and against structure, but a better essay would roll off the tongue and feel smooth when talking.

Point
Evidence/quotes
Analysis
Counter argument.
Final evaluation (produce a counter to your original point and then finish off by saying something like ‘however X is not as crucial to the point as Y’)
Last edited by jackmarshal757; 3 months ago
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ellasimmons24
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(Original post by jackmarshal757)
Hold on, give me a minute

Okay so you want to know how to critically analyse an essay? I did all humanities at GCSEs and got 7-9 in them and do all humanities at A levels.

Essentially the first thing is, you have to first decide where you’re coming from and what your essay is going to achieve by the end of it. So I’d recommend you come up with a decision beforehand. So you may have been told to do the classical for and against structure, but a better essay would roll off the tongue and feel smooth when talking.

Point
Evidence/quotes
Analysis
Counter argument.
Final evaluation (produce a counter to your original point and then finish off by saying something like ‘however X is not as crucial to the point as Y’)
Thank you! and well done on your GCSE grades
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jackmarshal757
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(Original post by ellasimmons24)
Thank you! and well done on your GCSE grades
Thank you. Just say if you need anymore advice
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artful_lounger
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I guess the main thing is to make sure you're not just "regurgitating" material from your lectures/textbooks/etc. You shouldn't just be merely presenting factual information, you should be using that to make some kind of point. You actually want to be making an argument, which is at least somewhat novel in your interpretation of it. So plan what your overall argument is going to be, break it down into separate chunks needed to make that argument overall.

This will also then dictate the structure of your essay, which you should outline in your introduction (e.g. "I/this paper will argue that Z, by establishing X then considering Y and W interpretations applied to X, rejecting W because A, from which we can conclude that in fact, Z"). You then want to be linking your paragraphs to each other and the overall essay question, signposting where you are going with the argument as you go through the essay.

Something that we were advised was to put our secondary sources "in conversation with each other", so as to avoid having a given reference end up just standing on its own as a sort of factual statement but without any analysis. What would one academic (or whatever) make of a different (perhaps later and non-contemporaneous) interpretation? Try and argue on their behalf, for or against the different interpretation. Also if you have two different authors writing on different but related topics that relate to your overall argument, try and link the two and show how each strengthens the others argument and both come together to form some point in your overall topic.
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