Remember to keep descriptive statements to a minimum — there is no need to provide large amounts of background or historical information. Make sure you move from description to analysis and evaluation. Give your interpretation of the facts, and explain the significance, consequences and implications of the statements you have made.
See our advice on structuring a paragraph for more information on how to attach analysis and evaluation to each point you make. They are taken from: Cottrell, S. The Study Skills Handbook. London: Palgrave. To write critically you will need to not only describe what happened, but also identify the significance of what happened.
Descriptive writing will explain what the theory says. To write critically you need to go further and show why that theory is relevant. Rather than simply noting the method used, which is the descriptive approach, a critical writer will show how appropriate that method was.
This was because it was considered a more effective way to measure likely performance in the actual role as the majority of the job would involve similar tasks, with little interaction with customers and therefore less requirement for highly developed communication skills.
You can apply our critical thinking model to your own work; use our Judging your own work PDF questions to help you decide if your writing is critical. These questions will take you through the description-analysis-evaluation stages. Take a look at further examples of descriptive writing vs. Skip to main content University links. Staff intranet. Type to search. All content. Academic writing Types of academic writing Planning your writing Structuring written work Grammar, spelling and vocabulary Editing and proofreading Evidence, plagiarism and referencing Resources and support.
Types of academic writing. For example, in an empirical thesis: you will use critical writing in the literature review to show where there is a gap or opportunity in the existing research the methods section will be mostly descriptive to summarise the methods used to collect and analyse information the results section will be mostly descriptive and analytical as you report on the data you collected the discussion section is more analytical, as you relate your findings back to your research questions, and also persuasive, as you propose your interpretations of the findings.
Descriptive The simplest type of academic writing is descriptive. To make your writing more analytical: spend plenty of time planning. Brainstorm the facts and ideas, and try different ways of grouping them, according to patterns, parts, similarities and differences. You could use colour-coding, flow charts, tree diagrams or tables. For example, advantages and disadvantages. Persuasive In most academic writing, you are required to go at least one step further than analytical writing, to persuasive writing.
To help reach your own point of view on the facts or ideas: read some other researchers' points of view on the topic. Who do you feel is the most convincing? Where is the evidence strongest? What are the real-life implications of each one? Which ones are likely to be most useful or beneficial? Which ones have some problems?
Do you agree with their point of view? To develop your argument: list the different reasons for your point of view think about the different types and sources of evidence which you can use to support your point of view consider different ways that your point of view is similar to, and different from, the points of view of other researchers look for various ways to break your point of view into parts.
For example, cost effectiveness, environmental sustainability, scope of real-world application. To present your argument, make sure: your text develops a coherent argument where all the individual claims work together to support your overall point of view your reasoning for each claim is clear to the reader your assumptions are valid you have evidence for every claim you make you use evidence that is convincing and directly relevant.
Critical Critical writing is common for research, postgraduate and advanced undergraduate writing. You need to: accurately summarise all or part of the work. This could include identifying the main interpretations, assumptions or methodology.
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The Study Skills Handbook. London: Palgrave. To write critically you will need to not only describe what happened, but also identify the significance of what happened. Descriptive writing will explain what the theory says. To write critically you need to go further and show why that theory is relevant. Rather than simply noting the method used, which is the descriptive approach, a critical writer will show how appropriate that method was.
This was because it was considered a more effective way to measure likely performance in the actual role as the majority of the job would involve similar tasks, with little interaction with customers and therefore less requirement for highly developed communication skills. You can apply our critical thinking model to your own work; use our Judging your own work PDF questions to help you decide if your writing is critical.
These questions will take you through the description-analysis-evaluation stages. Take a look at further examples of descriptive writing vs. Skip to main content University links. Close quicklinks. Library Study and research support Academic skills Critical thinking. Show all contents Contents. Your tutors want to know what you think Your writing needs to show your interpretation of the evidence and source material, how you have used that information to demonstrate your understanding, and your subsequent position on the topic.
Use evidence to strengthen your position Always keep your reader in mind and try to anticipate the questions they would ask — refer back to the Critical thinking questions PDF to help you with this. Using language to demonstrate your critical thinking Further reading and support.
What is Critical Writing? May describe where this takes place, who is involved when it occurs. Provides background information to you discussion of the essay question. Background description usually comes before critical analysis so that the reader can understand the topic you are critically engaging with.
Critical writing Critical writing requires you to apply analysis and evaluation to the descriptions you have provided. Critical writing allows you to: Apply an idea or theory to a different situations. For example: 'Smith's theory on teamwork is effective in the workplace because it allows a diverse group of people with different skills to work effectively'. Justify why a process or policy exists. For example: 'It was necessary for the nurse to check the patient's handover notes because For example: 'By adopting a Freirian approach, we could view the student as a collaborator in our teaching and learning'.
Or: 'if we had followed the NMC guidelines we could have made the patient feel calm and relaxed during the consultation'. Or, why does this idea not work? For example: 'Although Smith's theory on teamwork is useful for large teams, there are challenges in applying this theory to teams who work remotely'. How the idea links to other ideas in the field synthesis. For example: 'the user experience of parks can be greatly enhanced by examining Donnelly's customer service model used in retail.
For example: 'although this approach was successful in supporting the local community, Smith's model does not accommodate the needs of a modern global economy'. For example: 'Therefore, May's delivery model should be discontinued as it has created significant issues for both customers and staff Ransom, '. Creates new perspectives or arguments based on knowledge. For example: 'to create strong and efficient buildings, we will look to the designs provided by nature. The designs of the Sydney Opera house are based on the segments of an orange Cook, '.
Example paragraph Take a look at this paragraph: According to research by the Food Standards Agency , there may be a link between late nights and childhood obesity in children. This paragraph consists of three sentences. What role do you think each sentence is playing? Critical statement: However, this research focuses only on the area of sleep and does not consider many of the other factors associated with late nights, such as what children eating when they stay up late.
Judgment : Compared to other known factors influencing childhood obesity, there is insufficient evidence about the effect of late nights for this to be taken very seriously by policymakers, though this may change with further research. Following paragraph structure It is good academic practice to follow a three-sentence structure where you can provide description, analysis and evaluation.
Using language to demonstrate your critical thinking When writing your critical and evaluation statement, think carefully about the point you are trying to make, and use the corresponding language to highlight this to the reader. An alternative argument… Are you highlighting a weakness in a theory? One major drawback of this approach… To view further guidance on critical writing phrases, we recommend visiting the University of Manchester's Academic Phrasebank.
Further reading and support At the University of Suffolk, there are books based at the Ipswich library that can help you to write critically. Assignment Toolkit Researcher's Toolkit. Recommend resources. Linking words and phrases.