Define Critical Practice in Essay Writing and Explain the Differences between a Critical Style and a Descriptive Style of Essay Writing
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The word critical is defined as “involving skillful judgment as to truth, merit, etc… a critical analysis/
of or pertaining to critics or criticism: critical essays.” (Dictionary, 2013).
The word practice is defined as “repeated performance or systematic exercise for the purpose of acquiring skill or proficiency: Practice makes perfect.” (Dictionary, 2013)
Combining these words together they relate to essay writing because a skill needs to be practised. By practising essay questions, the skill becomes more refined
What is descriptive writing
Descriptive style writing is factual with no analysis or evaluation (University of Leicester, 2009, University of Sydney, 2012). Novels and books are examples of where descriptive writing is more commonly used since it helps to set the scene of what the storyline is.
What is critical style writing
Critical style writing is to use both positive and negative analysis and to evaluate a piece of work whilst using your own interpretation of the reading to come to a summary of that research (Essay Info, 2010, University of Sydney, 2012, University of Leicester, 2009). For example, explaining research and then contributing a different interpretation of that research (University of Sydney, 2012). The analysis requires the person to ask questions about what they have just read like why is this important? (Creme, P. Lea, M.R 2003. Pg83-84). This is because this style of writing involves being able to think about what you have just read and questioning it. Evaluating the work involves giving reasons for your judgement (Creme, P. Lea, M.R 2003. Pg83-84). Without an evaluation, the person is not backing up the analysis and there would be no personal opinion on that matter.
The differences between both styles of writing compare/contrast
Descriptive and critical style writing have similarities, although not many, such as
They both appear together in a scientific report, for example description style writing would be shown through the method to collect the information and critical would be used in the discussion section.
Also, it includes the use of descriptive writing which is progressed with analysing and evaluating the text from the source of work.
(Essay Info 2010).
However, in contrast descriptive style writing gives the information whereas critical style writing draws a conclusion from the writing.
Both these styles of writing form a part of an argument, although descriptive isn’t the actual argument, it is more the background for the argument (University of Leicester, 2009). As there is no discussion involved because it is just stating the facts. Whereas critical writing is the discussion in which ideas are transformed into a balanced argument. Also, the person’s own argument needs to be contributed.
Within essays descriptive writing shows us the links of the research. Yet, critical writing shows us the relevance of these links.
Why it’s better to be critical.
Using the critical style in an essay will achieve more marks than being descriptive (Haycock, C. 2013). The table is set out showing highest mark available to the lowest with descriptive.
To achieve these higher marks the work must have a high understanding of the topic discussed, written more in depth and by explaining why that reason has been chosen and justifying it. Plus, the information needs to be presented in a way that has gone further than just simply stating it which is descriptive style writing, like a method in a science report. Although, it is possible that those who have limited knowledge are more than likely going to accept the argument from the author than to challenge it due to not having a full understanding
To be critical in essays helps to develop critical thinking and reading (Wilson, M. 2009, Payne and Whittaker 2006. Pg88). Reading through different texts will enhance the reader’s learning by being able to challenge, and question than just accepting the conclusion. This will help to broaden the understanding of new topics for the individual.
Being critical in an essay therefore is the more effective choice as
In conclusion, this essay has revealed that using critical style writing is more effective to use than descriptive style writing. As it allows the person to try and gain the higher marks in an essay. It also enhances the person’s learning through critical reading/thinking by asking questions about documents they have just read.
Creme, P. Lea, M.R (2003). Writing at University. 2nd ed. Maidenhead: Open University Press. 83-84.
Dictionary. (2013). Critical. [Online] Available: http://dictionary.reference.com/. Last accessed 16th November 2013.
Essay Info. (2010). Critical Essay. [Online] Available:
Haycock, C. (2013). 102FIS Academic Skills Module guide. 2013. [Online lecture] Module Academic skills Available:
Payne, E. Whittaker, L. (2006). Developing Essential Study Skills. 2nd ed. London: Pearson Education. 88.
University of Leicester. (2009). What is critical Writing. [Online] Available:
University of Sydney. (2012). What is the difference between descriptive, analytical, persuasive and critical writing?. [Online] Available:
University of Surrey. (n.d). What is critical Writing. [Online] Available:
Wilson, M. (2009). Critical Writing. [Online] Available: >http://www.sussex.ac.uk/s3/?id=122<. Last accessed: 10th November 2013