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The Writing Center

Response-Critique/Evaluative-Critique: Explanation

To write this type of essay, pick one article and keep in mind that an article summary is still a necessary component of a response-critique essay.  Assume that your reader has not read your article!!

Determining Criteria:
After you’ve critically read the article, think about what basic ideas you used to judge the article. The global qualities by which you judged the article are the criteria that you will need to present in your essay.

Elements of the Critique Essay:
Your critique will be a fully developed essay, four pages long, (check with your instructor for required length) with an introduction, a clear thesis, several body paragraphs that outline the criteria for your judgment and support your thesis, a counterargument/rebuttal/concession section and a conclusion. Specifically, it should include the following:

  • A clear introduction to the article. Be sure that you clearly state the author’s name and the article title within the first paragraph of your critique.
  • A brief summary of the article.  Early in your critique, you should include a very brief summary (1-2 paragraphs) of the article being evaluated and any background information that the reader might need to understand the topic.  This summary should also include a statement about the author’s thesis, and clearly discuss the author’s purpose for writing.
  • (Part I) Response-Critique: A clear, evaluative thesis about your judgment of the article.  Clearly describe your position: Do you agree or disagree with what the author is arguing?  Suggestion: refer to your notes, handbook especially sections that address “Questions to Help Create a Thesis.”
  • (Part II) Evaluative-Critique: An evaluation based on relevant criteria.  Be sure to make clear the specific criteria you used to make that judgment (create your thesis). Suggestion: refer to your notes, especially sections that address “What’s Your Purpose?” Criteria are based upon elements of the original argument you agree or disagree with.

 Depending on whether you agree or disagree, your criteria should include 3-4 of the following:

    • Redefinition of the issue according to your understanding.
    • Argument for the value of a particular point/assumption in the author’s argument.
    • Argument against a particular point/assumption in the author’s argument.
    • Disproving the conclusions of the author’s argument.
    • Agreement with the author’s conclusions, but disagreement with how he/she arrived at them.
    • Extension of the author’s argument to include a broader set of ideas.
    • Suggestion that the author’s argument is too broad and needs a more specific emphasis.
  • Detailed support of each criterion.  This support should include:

    • Evidence such as personal testimony, examples, facts, allusions to history, news events
    • Quotes or paraphrases from the author’s text
  • A discussion of counterargument/rebuttal/concessions.  All argumentative essays need a counterargument, and the response-critique is no exception. In this essay, you could counter argue by including one or more criteria that go against your overall evaluation (agreement or disagreement); for instance, a response-critique that disagrees overall could include a paragraph about the effectiveness of the author’s examples, or that from his/her narrow framing of the issue, certain valid points are raised, in spite of the fact that you disagree with the author’s argument overall.
  • Proper MLA Citation. You should precisely follow the guidelines in your Little Brown Handbook text regarding MLA format and citation.

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