Critical Analysis Papers

Writing Tips [Prof. James Prior, NYU University]

• Include a thesis statement in your introductory paragraph.
• The paper should consist of the reasoned defense of some claim.
• A good paper is modest and makes a small point; but it makes that point clearly and straightforwardly, and it offers good reasons in support of it.
• Make the structure of your paper obvious. It would be helpful if you submitted an outline, but it’s not required.
• Be concise, but explain yourself fully.

Some Possible Writing Strategies [Paper needs to do evaluative work.]

• Criticize an argument; or show that certain arguments for the thesis are no good.
• Defend the argument or thesis against someone else’s criticism.
• Offer reasons to believe the thesis.
• Offer counterexamples to the thesis.

• Think of the CAP as a persuasive/argumentative paper. Imagine that you are trying to persuade an intelligent, but uninformed reader of your conclusion.
• Your paper has to do substantive work, not merely regurgitate an author’s main points.

Requirements of the Paper

• Papers should either be in Microsoft Word format (.doc) or Rich Text format (.rtf).
• Four-to-six pages, double-spaced, Times New Roman font, 12 point, one-inch margins.
• MLA or Chicago system of citation.
• Include a cover page that contains the title of the paper, your name, my name, the date, and the class (e.g., BUSI 2301.702).
• You may use as many sources as you wish, but you must cite either our textbook.
• Possible outside sources include books, journal articles, magazines, databases, Websites, videos, dictionaries, encyclopedias, and almanacs. When possible, try to cite from recent sources.
• Make sure you evaluate your online sources for trustworthiness and credibility.

Sample Footnotes (For those following the Chicago Manual of Style)

Michael Shermer, The Science of Good and Evil: Why People Cheat, Gossip,
Care, Share, and Follow the Golden Rule (New York: Times Books, 2004), pp. 25-26.

Nadrian C. Seeman, “Nanotechnology and the Double Helix,” Scientific American
290 (June 2004): 64-75.

Philip B. Kurland and Ralph Lerner, eds., The Founders’ Constitution (Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, 2000), chap. 9, doc. 3,

Shermer, Good and Evil, 25.

Seeman, “Nanotechnology,” 64.