Writing a Critical Analysis Essay that Evaluates the Authors Ideas
1) Introductory Paragraph:
Begin with an introductory topic Consider what the article you have read is about (evaluating
the costs and benefits of attending college, the importance of going to college, opportunities for
minority students who attend college)
The introduction will include your authors thesis, the original date and publication of the article
and intended audience. Then, you will introduce your own thesis which will evaluate the appeals
in the article
Example of a student-writers thesis statement evaluating the authors ideas: In Welcome,
Robot Overlords. Please Do Not Fire Us? Kevin Drum shows that the idea of industrial robots
is quickly becoming a reality, but he comes across as too optimistic, because Artificial
Intelligence (AI) might take longer than he is projecting before taking over human roles.
2) A Summary Paragraph with the Following Characteristics (150-250 words)
The summary follows the order of the article.
The summary is written in present tense.
The summary is a neutral overview of the original text.
A summary should contain all the major points of the original text.
If you quote anything from the original text, you need to put whatever you quote in quotation
marks (“”).
Three (3) Response Paragraphs in which you speak back to the article, by addressing three
of the authors ideas
3) What new insights has this text given me? (with the grain): Explore the implications of the
authors main points for your own daily life. Where do I agree with the author? (with the grain).
Consider expanding or amplifying the authors ideas. Build on the authors ideas by discussing
examples where you or your acquaintances have gone through similar experiences.
4) Where do I disagree with the author? (against the grain): Challenge the authors beliefs; if
applicable, challenge the practicality of the authors solution. What points has the author
overlooked or omitted? (against the grain).
5) What are the limitations or consequences of this text? (with or against the grain) Consider
what new ideas the author brings to his or her audience. Consider in what ways some readers
may be left out of the conversation, while other readers are included. Consider to what extent the
authors argument may be seen as predictable, given his or her professional background.
6) Conclusion Paragraph:
Aim for three (3) to four (4) sentences, as you summarize your main points, and restate your
Other Important Requirements
This essay should follow MLA style; it should be typed, numbered, double-spaced, have one inch margins, a title, and all relevant personal information on the top of the page.
Use 1,000-plus words in the essay. Please provide a word count at the end of your essay.
Your essay should contain at least six major paragraphs.
Give the formal citation for your article in MLA format, in the Works Cited section. See Purdue