Below are the expectations for my critical analysis. Uploaded is the outline for my critical analysis that I would you to use as the topic and methods etc.
Please use APA format when applicable.
This resource has been created by the Department of Political Science and Writing Center at the University of Washington and has been adapted for our course. For the original source please see J.L. Beyer, “Critically Analyzing an Academic Article or Book”
A critical analysis paper asks the writer to make an argument about a particular book, essay, movie,
etc. The goal is two fold: one, identify and explain the argument/perspective that the author is making, and two, provide your own argument/perspective about that argument/perspective. One of the key directions of these assignments is often to avoid/minimize summary – you are not writing a book report, but evaluating the author’s argument/scholarly perspective.
Potential points of criticism
Sometimes it can seem intimidating to “criticize” a book or article written by experts and experienced policymakers. However, part of this exercise is to expose the fact that even though these
authors are highly qualified, they are still advancing an argument/ scholarly perspective–their aim is to persuade you that their argument/ scholarly perspective has degrees of truth, not to just present facts. Once you recognize that these authors are making arguments, you can analyze whether or not you find their argument/ scholarly perspective compelling. Following are some possible questions you could ask to evaluate arguments:
• Practice questions – How does facilitation work in organizations? How does a leadership coach create “adaptive space?” How does leadership development exist in community organizing/power models? What assumptions exist in dominant dialogue and deliberation process models?
• Theoretical questions – How does the author understand engagement? What is their
theoretical background? How would this influence their view of the situation? If the author is a clear proponent of Western, liberal forms of democracy, how will this influence
his/her study of authoritarian states?
• Definitional questions – Are all the concepts in the text clear? Does the author define a concept
vaguely to allow it to travel across different situations? If a concept can relate two seemingly
different situations, is the concept meaningful? Can we really compare the existing communist government in China to the communist government in the former Soviet Union?
• Evidence questions:
Does the author’s evidence support their argument? Do they have enough specific
evidence to prove the more general point? Does the revolutionary government in Venezuela reflect a more general trend to the left in all of Latin America? Does the author underemphasize or ignore evidence that is contrary to their argument? Is an argument compelling if it ignores an obvious exception – Can we really say that democracies are inherently peaceful given the 2003 Iraq invasion? Is the evidence credible? Can you identify a bias in the evidence? Was the study done by a political action committee, and environmental NGO, or a nonpartisan research group? How might a group affiliation or funding influence the outcome
• Implication/Policy relevance questions – What are the implications of this argument? Are
those implications positive or negative? How has the author dealt with this issue? What does engagement process seek to achieve?
• Other approaches:
Is the author’s argument consistent throughout the book? Or, does the conclusion seem to
offer a different argument than they presented in the introduction? Does the author’s background have important implications for their argument? Do the specific language choices of the author betray a certain ideology or bias, or frame the argument in a certain way?
1 Adopted from J.L. Beyer, “Critically Analyzing an Academic Article or Book”
Political Science/LSJ/JSIS Writing Center
Gowen 105; Phone: 616-3354
One Way to Structure a Critical Analysis Paper
Most critical analysis papers begin with a short summary of the work and then dive in to the
argument. Writing an outline (and following it) is crucial to remain focused on your argument and avoid
summary or irrelevant descriiption. The following is a sample outline for a critical analysis paper:
a) Identify the work/s/ideas/concepts/practice being critiqued
b) Present thesis – argument about the theory/practice
c) Preview your argument – what are the steps you will take to make the case for your idea/analysis
2) Short summary of the work
a) Does not need to be comprehensive – present only what the reader needs to know to understand your argument/perspective
b) Your argument/perspective will likely involve a number of sub-arguments/perspectives –mini-theses you use to interrogate your argument/perspective. For example, if your thesis was that the author’s presumption that the world will soon face a “clash of civilizations” is flawed because he inadequately specifies his key concept, civilizations, you might interrogate this by:
i. Noting competing definitions of civilizations
ii. Identifying how his examples do not meet the example of civilizations
iii. Argue that civilization is so broad and non-specific that it is not useful
3) This should be the bulk of the paper – The goal of a PhD-level scholarship is to develop your capacity to offer an argument/perspective about theory and practice, not a summary.
a) Reflect on how you offered your argument/perspective.
b) Point out the importance of your argument/perspective
c) Note potential avenues for additional research or analysis