How to Write an Analytical Essay

How to Write an Analytical Essay: Tips and Guidelines on Successful Academic Writing

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What Is an Analytical Essay?

The general analytical essay definition that an analytical paper is the one that analyzes the text may not actually be so helpful. We suggest an explanation that pinpoints to what an analytical essay is not.

First, an analytical essay does not refer to the topic summary. You might provide a paragraph summarizing the topic in brief but you should not center your essay on mere summation. Summary may be provided just as background information to set the scene to the topic of analysis or highlight its significance. Therefore, if you have to provide a literary analysis essay of the book, make sure that it is not a simple narration or description of events. In such paper, you have to identify topics, motifs, symbols, etc. and provide a critical analysis of why they are used in the literary work and what purpose they serve.

If you are unsure of whether you are providing a proper analysis or if you cannot distinguish between summation and critical analysis, look for supporting evidence in your paper. Are you simply restating what happened in the book or are you trying to find reasons why and convey your own specific idea?

Analytical Essay Format

First, keep in mind that an analytical paper has a narrower focus than a descriptive or narrative paper (or a report). When you analyze, you concentrate on “how and why.” For example, if the focus of your analysis is a book or a poem, you provide a critical review of how the literary work was written, by what events it was influenced, how specific themes are presented and conveyed, why the author uses specific structures or figures of speech, etc. In other words, a critical analysis essay requires a writer to look closer at smaller parts of the literary work in order to get the clear picture of the whole unit.

Analytical Essay Structure: Rules and Principles

It is important to prepare an analytical essay outline in order to adhere to all rules and requirements of analytical essay structure. First and foremost, you should indicate the exact paper sections you plan to include. The core sections that are a must for an analytical paper are the same as for any other essay (whether it is an argumentative essay or a persuasive essay): introduction, the main body, and conclusion.

How to Write a Proper Analytical Essay Introduction Paragraph

When writing an introductory paragraph, remember that its core aim is to make readers interested in what you are writing. So, you should begin with an attention-grabber (or a hook), which appeals to the audience and pinpoints to some interesting fact about the paper, a thesis statement, which is normally written at the end of the introductory paragraph, and one-two sentences that convey the way how exactly you will prove your thesis.

  1. The Hook

The attention-grabbing opening sentence(s) should be surprising and interesting, and they also should encourage the reader for further reading. As such, you could start with a rhetorical question or a controversial statement. If you start with some controversial statement, make sure that it will refer to the further material that you present in the body paragraphs.

  1. The Analytical Thesis Statement

Next, write a terrific thesis statement. Preferably, you should provide an argumentative thesis for it to seem strong and clear. When writing a thesis, get to the central point of your paper and try to convey the main idea clearly and concisely for your target audience to understand what you will explore and analyze.

  1. Back-up Statement for the Thesis

Provide a sentence or two, where you specifically highlight how you will prove your claim. In particular, you may also want to mention how exactly you intend to analyze the topic, in what aspects, and so on.

Development of the Main Body in the Analytical Research Paper

In an analyze paper, the main body is where you express your creativity and may even experiment with formatting. According to the general formatting rules, on average, there are three body paragraphs in a critical essay. Still, depending on the paper length, you can include as many body paragraphs as you want. For example, if you have a whole thesis paper to prepare, than there will definitely be more body paragraphs, or rather sections. If you have to write a 500-word essay or a brief analytical report, then you will not have much space for developing long paragraphs. The main thing to consider when developing body paragraphs is that you need to provide support for the thesis and further elaborate on the ideas put forward in the thesis statement.

When you devise an outline for your analytical response essay, keep in mind that it is better to create an extended outline with all analytical sentences and strong topic sentences. Preferable create a writing template where you provide detailed opening sentences for each paragraph and a list of three supporting evidences with examples below. This is a great tip how to start an analysis paper – with a properly designed outline.

How to Make a Good Analysis

  1. Provide strong and clear topic sentences. Each of the opening sentences should convey a clear message what the paragraph is about and what it will be devoted to.
  2. Put forward your claim. Actually, this claim should delve deeper into a specific aspect of the idea expressed in the topic sentence. To put it simple, the idea expressed in the thesis might cover a few aspects, so the claim you put forward afterwards should focus on one of them.
  3. Provide supporting evidence, ample examples, and illustrations to back up the argument you have made. This part is important as you cannot just make some claims without supporting them. Use quotes or specific examples, refer to one’s words, etc. in order to add more evidence to the paper.
  4. Double-check whether the evidence you have provided is related to the topic sentence. It should be clear why the evidence is used. The central analytical question should be answered after the ample evidence is provided. If you do not provide the evidence that is linked to the ideas expressed in the topic sentence, then your paper will turn into a mere analytical summary. This supporting evidence is not required to be included in the outline but it should be definitely present in the final draft. To properly introduce the supporting facts, make sure to use proper transitions that would ensure logical flow of ideas and coherence.

How to Conclude an Analytical Essay

Wrap up your essay after you have carefully developed the main essay idea. Restate the main ideas but make sure you do not repeat them in exactly the same words or phrases.

How to Write a Visual Analysis Analytical Paper?

The general structure is the same as in an ordinary analytical essay but in this type of writing you appeal more to visuals and their importance. Take into close consideration that an analytical paper is not a summary. So, before working on any subtype of an analytical paper, make sure you know the answer to the question, “What is analytical writing?” When you know the general notions of analysis paper, you will easily cope with other writing assignments that require critical thinking.

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