Difference between Description and Critical Analysis

The following list might help you stay on track with your analytic essay. [This list is based on one widely attributed to Moon as cited in Cottrell 1999, although I could track down neither of these.]

Descriptive writing Critical/analytical writing
Merely states what happened Identifies the significance of what happened
States what something is like Evaluates its strengths and weaknesses
Gives the story so far Weighs one piece of information against another
States the order in which things happened Makes reasoned judgments
Says how to do something Argues a case according to evidence
Explains what a theory says Shows why something is relevant or suitable
Explains how something works Indicates why something will work (best)
Notes the method used Indicates whether something is appropriate or suitable
Says when something occurred Identifies why the timing is important
States the different components Weighs up the importance of component parts
States options Gives reason for the selection of each option
Merely lists details Evaluates the relative significance of details
Lists information in any order Structures information in order (e.g., of importance)
Describes the links between items Shows the relevance of links between pieces of information
Merely provides information Draws conclusions from that information