How to Write a Formal Written Critique

Formal written critques offer differing viewpoints of pieces of work.

A critique is a detailed analysis or assessment of a piece of work. Written critiques are common in the assessment of art work or literature, although they are frequently used in the analysis of political theory or philosophy. Formal written critiques outline the thesis or purpose for the piece of work and evaluate the author on his effectiveness in matching the purpose. Formal written critiques are important because they provide an alternate viewpoint for others to consider.

Complete a short summary that identifies the author's purpose for his essay or written work. Beginning your critique with a a summary of the work being assessed provides a reference for the arguments you present in your critique.

State your overall opinion of the work, briefly listing general reasons for your opinions. You will offer more specific details within the critique itself.

Assess the author's work in terms of content, style, organization and correctness. Answer the following questions: How well does the content fit the purpose for the piece? Does the style fit the audience? Does the organization allow for the information to flow together? Did the author use proper grammar, spelling and punctuation? Offer specific examples from the work to support your arguments.

Offer suggestions for how the author could improve his work. If the author were to do the piece again, what would you have him do differently?

Wrap up the critique by restating the author's purpose for the written piece and your overall assessment of the work.

Danny Waldo started writing professionally in 2011, covering topics in education and sports. His writing has appeared on various websites, including Waldo holds a Bachelor of Science in education from Montana State University-Bozeman and a Master of Science in education from Walden University.