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How to write a literature criticism essay: using the previously gained knowledge

By now you all must know how to write a literature review. What some of you may still not know is how to critically analyze a pre-written literature review. This article will help you understand the basics of a thorough Literature analysis.

What you’ll need for your analysis:


  • The piece of literature you’re analyzing, of course.
  • Some sticky notes if you’re in a habit to jot down every thought of yours.
  • Highlighters of at least three different colors.
  • Patience! This might take a while.

How to do a critical analysis:

Gear up! This is going to be a lengthy ride and will require your undivided attention. Follow these steps:

  1. Start off by reading the paper that’s been assigned to you. It might take several readings before you actually grasp the true essence of the paper. So you’ll need to be really focused and motivated.

  2. Look for recurring ideas, prominent themes and words; highlight them as you go through. Take notes if you have to. Read between the lines and try to identify hidden messages in the literature.

  3. Read each and every section of the paper. Don’t be afraid to consult supporting text if you feel dubious of some facts or claims. Note them down as you move along. Use as many highlighters and colored pens as you want. This is to facilitate your own thought and writing process.

  4. Now, make an outline of how you want to layout your critical analysis. Unlike normal essays you don’t have to follow the typical pattern. Just go with what suits your argument the best.

  5. Remember you can come across 3 distinct scenarios while analyzing:

    • You can either agree with the whole paper.
    • Or you can completely disagree with it,
    • Or you could midways, agree with some points while disagree with the rest.

    Either way you shouldn’t be afraid to voice your opinion. You being excessively critical will only make your analysis much more readable.

  6. Start writing your analysis. Start off with what you like about the paper. And then slowly move to the negative critique (if any).

  7. Be sure to comment on the language, the structure and organization of the paper, the credibility of the references being used, the referencing style and bibliography format.

  8. Compile your analysis and proofread before submission.