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Critique Paper Cheat Sheet by

English for Academic and Professional Purposes

Art Critique

oral or written discussion strategy used to describe, analyze, interpret and evaluate works of art
Doing art criticism is like playing a detective. You must assume that the artist has a secret message hidden inside the work. Your job is to solve the mystery and find the message

Thesis Statement

A thesis statement is the main idea or main point of an inform­ational text. It serves as a roadmap of the text you are reading. Simply, the thesis statement provides direction or purpose to the text (can be explicit or implicit)

Guide Questions for a Strong Thesis Statement

What is your topic?
What is your stance of claim?
What is your rationale (basis) for this stance?
What acknow­led­gement will you make to qualify your stance and consider opposi­tion?
Qualif­ication + Stance + Rationale = THESIS

Use of Counte­rar­gument

A counte­rar­gument involves acknow­ledging standp­oints that go against your argument and then re-aff­irming your argument. It is a standard move used in academic texts because it shows readers that you are capable of unders­tanding and respecting multiple sides of an argument.

Have a Thorough Unders­tanding of the Work

Study the work under discussion
Make notes on key parts of the work.
Develop an unders­tanding of the main argument or purpose being expressed in the work
Consider how the work relates to a broader issue or context (e.g societal, political, racial).

Four-steps System Method

describe the work without using value words such as “beaut­iful” or “ugly”
What do I see?
describe how the work is organized as a complete compos­ition
How is the work organized?
describe how the work makes you think or feel
What is the artist trying to say?
present your opinion work’s success or failure
What do I think of the work?
or Major Areas of Art Criticism (adapted from Holland Central School District)

Critique Paper

A critique is a type of academic text that involves evaluating and analyzing a specific piece of work. It provides a critical assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the work being reviewed, offering insights and sugges­tions for improv­ement (Booth, W.C. Colomb, G. C., & Williams, J. M., 2009).

What works do we critique?

Creative works
novels, exhibits, films, images
monogr­aphs, journal articles, reviews
news reports, feature articles

Why do we write critiques?

a knowledge of the work’s subject or related works
an unders­tanding of the work’s purpose, intended audience, develo­pment of argument, structure of evidence or creative style
a recogn­ition of the strengths and weaknesses of the work

Writing Vocabulary

Analytical Verbs
Different verbs have different meanings or suggest different relati­onships between authors, readers, characters and ideas.
words we use in between sentences to join them
allow us to be more precise about the relati­onships between statements
Audience Positi­oning
When discussing audience, you can also use the words 'reader' or 'viewer'

Theories in Judging Art

It is when people think that art should imitate what we see in real world.
It is when people feel that art uses the principles of design and the elements of art.
It is when people believe that art must speak to the viewer through their emotions.

Key Elements for a Strong Thesis Statement

It is not a fact
A fact is irrefu­table. Writing a fact as a thesis makes no argument.
It is not a question
A question does not express one's claim or comment about a topic.
It is not an announ­cement
avoid saying what you will discuss in the text
It is not too broad
Avoid making vague and confusing thesis statements by making a specific and focused thesis
It is a complete sentence
A phrase does not convey complete ideas or thoughts. Stating the thesis in a complete sentence makes it easier for the reader to understand the main idea of the text.
It requires support
Facts, surveys, reports, etc. should be used as proof or pieces of evidence to support your claim/­opinion on the topic to make it persuasive
It takes a stand
The thesis should clearly show your claim about a subjec­t/topic
It is arguable
The thesis should be contes­table, debatable, or argume­nta­tive. It should never be a factual statement.

Parts of a Critique Paper

Introduce the work and author
Define main argument or purpose
Explain context of the work being evaluated
Construct a concluding sentence with signposts
Summary (shorter than the critical evalua­tion)
Critical Evaluation
Conclusion (brief paragraph)
overall evaluation of the work
short recall of the key reasons why this evaluation was formed
in some circum­sta­nces, recomm­end­ations for improv­ement of the work may be provided
it is important to take note that new ideas or concepts related to the work should no longer be introduced or discussed in this section
Reference List
humss/­abm/tvl : american psycho­logical associ­ation (APA)
stem : council of science editors (cse)


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