Critical analysis of a literary research paper

When the average person hears the words “research paper”, they think of scientific projects or long psychological surveys. However, research is performed and written about in the literary world, too. The methods, however, are a bit distinct.

Literary research involves closely reading an analyzing a text in the humanities, and locating an entirely novel and interesting perspective on the work. To bolster one’s critical perspective, a literary researcher amasses information using primary sources from the author, such as journals and letters, as well as historical records and critical analyses from other experts. Using a combination of original research and archival documents, as well as logical analysis, the literary researcher writes a detailed paper exploring a new topic and answering new questions about the work.

How Do You Critically Analyze a Literary Research Paper?

Do not hold a literary research paper to the same standards as a work of scientific inquiry. When it comes to analyzing an existing text, there is no “proving” or “disproving” a specific interpretation. In fact, it is often incorrect to assume that there is any one, singular correct way of viewing a work of literature.

It does not matter, necessarily, what the explicit intentions of the author happened to be, or what was going on in the author’s life or what his or her inspirations were. As long as a writer can make a well-reasoned and articulated case for their perspective, they have been successful. You should not criticize a literary research paper based on whether you agree or disagree with the perspectives expressed; instead, you should evaluate the strength of the case it makes and the merits of the research conducted.

What Makes a Good Literary Research Paper?

An especially accomplished piece of literary research presents a totally new and previously unknown question or interpretation. In the world of literary research, it is actually considered plagiarism to express an interpretation that someone else has already discovered and advocated for. It is vitally important, therefore, that the author’s position is new and builds upon existing writing.

In addition, a good literary research paper is expertly written and cites a multitude of primary, secondary, archival, and critical sources. The reference list for the average literary research paper is over a hundred entries long, often much longer. The author should deftly weave their research findings into the rich tapestry of words and analysis they have written. The reader should be both entertained and edified.