Interpretation of a work
Interpretation is the explanation of the
meaning of something
In a thesis/dissertation/research study:
The summary and evaluation of a work for
its application in a study
Two Levels of Action
1. Pointing out the main ideas or elements
of a work
2. Interpreting them in a supported way as
they relate to a specific situation
In other words…
A mere description is not critical analysis
Why Performing Critical Analysis Is
Different from Describing?
They have different goals and
in fact a description is the
input of critical analysis
Adapted from Cottrell, S. (2003). The study skills handbook .
Some of their differences are:
Description Critical Analysis
States what happened Identifies its significance
States what something is like Evaluates strengths and weaknesses
Lists details Evaluates relative significance of details
States the order in which things happened Makes reasoned judgment
Says how to do something Argues a case according to the evidence
Explains what a theory says Shows why something is relevant or suitable
Notes the method used Identify whether is appropriate or useful
Says when something occurred Identify why timing is important
States the different components Weighs up their importance
States options Give reasons for selecting options
Actions Associated to Critical Analysis
Identify Make Show
Critical analysis implies that you:
Provide the following elements:
• Main ideas or findings of the work
• Reasons why it is important
• What it fails to address (if applicable)
• How it links to your own situation
• Similar and different points of view on
main ideas or conclusions
Why Do You Have to Do That?
To convince people of the relevance and validity of
In the academic world, critical analysis is a
tool necessary to support or challenge a
study and its findings and, therefore, give
it a place within the corresponding field of
You need two basic elements to work with:
• Input: the work or situation you work with
• Courses of actions: sets of points to pay
attention to or questions to ask
In this webinar, we are focusing on how
to perform critical analysis in daily life
situations (including academic ones)
In the next webinar, we will discuss
critical analysis in theses/dissertations
Courses of Actions to Do Critical
• Points to pay attention to
• Questions to ask
Points to Pay Attention to
• The main ideas of the work or situation
• The goal
• The thesis (premise) that the author of the work or the
people involved in the situation support
• Who is involved, what happens, where, when, how, and
• The achievement of the goal
• What you like or do not like and why
Questions to Ask
• What are the main ideas or elements of the work or situation?
• What is the established goal?
• What is the premise (thesis) that is exposed in the work or situation?
• What happens?
• Where does it happen?
• Who is involved?
• Why does it happen?
• Was the established goal achieve? Why? Why not?
• How consistent is the work or situation? Why?
• What do you like? What do you dislike?
• What is your opinion about the work or situation?
• Why do you think so?
• What alternative actions would you propose? Why?
Different ways of approaching
critical analysis. Same goal.
Choose the one that best fits your
own cognitive and learning style
1. What critical analysis means
2. How it differs from description
3. What you are expected to do
4. Why you should do critical analysis
5. Examples of courses of action to perform it
Now You Know
Reflect upon what has been said,
decide to make critical analysis part of
your personal and professional life,
Practice, practice, practice,......
Exercise to Practice
In the next slide, you will find a template to guide
you when performing critical analysis using daily
You are invited to the second webinar about critical
analysis where you can share your experience
doing it. In that webinar, we will discuss how
critical analysis can be done when writing theses/
dissertations/ research reports
Adapted from Rankin & Wolfe (n.d). Critical analysis template.
Introduction • Title, author, date of publication
• Main ideas
• Author’s thesis
• Your thesis and main ideas about the work
The film “…”, created and directed by…, is excellent because ...
The article “...” by … is basically a bad copy of ... because...
Summary • State the main ideas of the work
• State elements like what happens, where, when, how, who is involved, and why
• Summarize the author’s point of view
• Discuss the structure and/or style of the work
Use the following prompts to guide your work:
This article is about… The main character…
The author thinks… The setting is…
The main ideas presented are… The central thesis is…
The reasons behind the main character’s actions are…
The author concludes…
Analysis • State what you like or not
• Support your point of view and illustrate it using specific examples from the work
• Evaluate the achievement of the established goal
• Analyze the work stating if it is: focused, clear, original, informative, well-written,
consistent in the use of terms and lines of thought, interesting, appropriate for the
audience, well researched, etc.
Conclusion • Restate your thesis by means of paraphrasing the one presented in the introduction
• Do the same with your own ideas.
• Propose an alternative course of action (if applicable)
• Make a call to action like: You must watch this film because… / Don’t buy this book
Choose a book/ article/ film/and write down a piece of critical analysis completing
the following information:
Cottrell, S. (2003). The study skills handbook (2nd ed). New York,
NY: Palgrave Macmillan.
Hitchens, C. (2001). Letters to a young contrarian. New York, NY:
Rankin, K. & Wolfe, S. (n.d.). Critical analysis template. Thompson
Rivers University. Writing Centre. Retrieved from
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