Critical Perspectives on
Palestine Studies I
History and Politics
How to write a critical essay?
• ● Choose a topic
• ● Organise and plan
• ● Academic style
• ● Literature review / theoretical framework
• ● Original argument
Choose a topic
• ● Not too big, not too small.
• ● Justify your choice (with the framework and literature review)
• ● Be aware of your limits (wordcount, sources, positionality…)
Organise and plan
• ● Start early, for example today
• ● Shorten the length whenever possible
• ● Signposting and deliver what is promised in the introduction
• ● Correct proportions of text: (10% – 80% – 10%)
• ● Correct proportions of paragraphs
• ● Disciplinary and theoretical framework
• ● Referencing and quoting: rephrase whenever you can
• ● Accurate vocabulary: if needed, define your terms
• ● Proofread, proofread, proofread!
• ● Edit your bibliography
• ● Avoid colloquialisms, introduce acronyms, etc…
Literature Review / Theoretical Framework
• ● Include relevant published research and analyse:
• ● Academic context: when/who/why/what for… was this published?
• ● Impact of publication: why is this text important?
• ● Discourse: how are the publications interacting with each other?
• ● Identify an opening: how is my text fitting in the conversation?
• ● Do NOT cite Wikipedia!
• ● Newspapers and magazines are NOT academic literature.
• ● Gather primary material
o ● Justify the selection
o ● Explain its obtention (if sourced personally)
o ● Discuss the ETHICS of using this material
o ● Analyse critically (limits and problems)
o ● Extract conclusions
• ● Develop your argument coherently, step by step!
• ● Each discipline has its own aims
Primary or secondary material?
• ● Primary: Anything that is immediate, first-hand accounts of a given topic. Ex: personal interviews or memoirs, newspapers, NGO reports, published statistical data, films, fiction literature…
• ● Secondary: anything that provides second-hand information, reviews or analyses a primary material. Ex: handbooks, academic literature, biographies, essays, encyclopedias…
Blurring lines between 1st and 2nd sources:
• ● Published handbooks on Bronze Age are secondary sources on Bronze Age, but first sources on discourses and narrations about Bronze Age
• ● NGO publication may include raw data (primary) next to analysis (secondary)
• ● Critical essays:
o ○ Further or counter-argue someone else’s argument
o ○ Review someone’s work under new research/data
• ● Methodological originality:
o ○ Change the disciplinary optics for a data set
o ○ Bring two/more authors together to build a framework
• ● New sources:
o ○ Obtain new raw data (unlikely)
o ○ Translate raw data
Type of service: Academic paper writing
Type of assignment: Critical Essay
Number of sources: 5
Academic level: Undergraduate
Paper format: Harvard
Line spacing: Double
Language style: UK English