Studying any social or political science, you will inevitably come across the idea of a critical analysis, a critical approach, critical thinking, a critical awareness, or simply critique. Indeed, the title of this website is a play on it. But while the concept of critical seems to be omnipresent in the social sciences, there is not always much of an explanation of what it actually means. This blogpost attempts such an explanation, and makes suggestions for how to integrate critical-related skills into your essay writing practice. I suggest two components for this, a common-sense-plus element, and a social-science-proper component.