How to Write a Critique
The critique is a rigorous critical reading of a passage. As such, it picks up where the objective summary leaves off. In fact, a critique often includes a brief summary so that its readers will be able to quickly grasp the main ideas and proofs of the passage under examination. Critiques come in all shapes and sizes, but a good way to get used to writing critically is to plan your earliest critiques along the following lines.
First, read the passage thoroughly. Make plenty of notes, ask lots of questions, and highlight or underline anything you may wish to quote in your paper. Spend some time on this step. It is impossibly to adequately critique something if you don't fully understand it.
Next, write a summary. Identify the author's main point (thesis) and list the types of proofs he or she employs to persuade the reader to believe or accept the thesis.
For example, does the author use historical anecdotes, quote noted authorities, provide statistical evidence, or appeal to a reader's sense of patriotism or generosity? These are all common types of proofs used in persuasive writing. You should also try to figure out why the author is writing, and to whom. Remember that the purpose of a paper and its intended audience can affect the way the paper is written.
Now, set your own agreement or disagreement with the author aside for a moment and investigate the validity of his or her argument.