Writing a Critical Response Essay

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Writing a Critical Response Essay
A critique/critical response is an analysis of and a commentary on another piece of writing. A critical response essay (or review) has two missions: to summarize a source’s main idea and to respond to the source’s main ideas with reactions based on one’s own opinion/beliefs.  

1. Summarizing  
  The first step to writing is to read actively and thoughtfully, seeking answers to the following     questions:
a. What are the main points, ideas, or arguments of the article? b. What is the primary purpose of the article/text? (inform, entertain, persuade?) c. Who is the target audience?
d. What evidence/support does the author give to support his stand/ viewpoint?  
 
2. Analyzing (interpretation and evaluation)
To help generate content for the analysis, consider the following questions: a. Does the work achieve its purpose? Fully or only partially? b. Is any of the evidence provided by the author weak or insufficient? In what way? c. OR is the evidence/support particularly effective or strong? Why? d. Does the author provide complete and accurate information? e. Was there any area where the author offered too much or too little information? f. Does the author provide information that is relevant to the issue?  

g. Can I provide further explanation (based on my own experience, prior knowledge, and opinions) to clarify or support any of the main points, ideas, arguments put forward by the author? This is your our own response to the argument.  You may agree or disagree with the author’s views, and this is the part of the critical response essay where you make your own views on the issue clear.  Your own arguments must be well-supported.  You must give compelling reasons for your agreement or disagreement with the author.
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