• Critical writing uses more than one source in developing an argument;
  • Critical writing evaluates and analyses the information from different sources;
  • Critical writing is writing which evaluates and analyses more than one source in order to develop an argument.
  • Critical Writing is Academic and uses academic vocabulary and syntax. Use this tool!
Your writing will contain evidence from other writers. Evaluating this evidence means identifying the strengths and weaknesses of this evidence by using your critical reading skills to comsider whether a source is reliable, relevant, up-to-date, and accurate. Analysing means giving reasons why the conclusions of these different writers should be accepted or treated with caution. Once you have evaluated and analysed different sources, you should have a clear line of reasoning which leads up to your conclusions, based on the evidence.


  • describe – give the background to your research, explain your methods, summarise an event, etc.
  • evaluate – are the arguments supported by more than one source? Are the sources properly referenced? Are there any statements without evidence (= unsubstantiated)? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the arguments and evidence from other writers? Are the sources all reliable, relevant, and up-to-date?
  • analyse – why should the conclusions of other writers may be accepted or treated with caution?
  • conclude – what are the conclusions, based on the evidence?


Cottrell, S. (2013). The Study Skills Handbook (4th ed.), Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan

Learning Development, University of Leicester (2009) What is critical writing. Available at: http://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/ld/resources/writing/writing-resources/critical-writing (Access date: 8/12/14).

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