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Analytical Essay: Definition, Purpose and How to Write

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An analytical essay is a type of essay that requires the writer to analyze and interpret a piece of literature or a particular topic. The purpose of an analytical essay is to present a detailed analysis and evaluation of a particular subject or idea.

If you wish to learn how to write an analytical essay, you are at the right place! Before beginning any academic assignment, one needs an understanding of what it is all about. Knowing a task's purpose is the first step that helps build a specific strategy to follow.

We will help understand what an analytical essay assignment implies and explain how to write it and get a high grade. Get ready that your professor will be stunned by your results. Brace yourselves as we are about to begin!

What Is an Analytical Essay?

Talking about analytical essay definition, it is not as sophisticated as it might seem at first glance. An analytical essay is a paper that expects students to pose a claim after analyzing a particular source. It can be a book, an article, a specific situation, or a film.

Writing an analytical essay does not entail a simple summary of one chosen issue. The scope is somewhat broader. One's goal is to go deeper into selected source and see the author's ideas. Another point is to discover the reason why these arguments were presented. Once you do this, start analyzing how the content was created and why its author favored such an approach.  

Analytical Essay vs. Argumentative Essay

For sure, there is a distinctness between analytical essays and argumentative essay examples. You won't be using complicated persuasive techniques like in the latter. Instead, take your focus on making arguments evident and understandable for your readers. Show them that you can see the author's way of using various literary elements. Understand how they structure their ideas in logical order. The principle here is to scrutinize information you've analyzed and bring it on a plate to your reader.  

How to Write an Analytical Essay?

If you don't know how to write an analytical essay, completing one can be an issue. Successful analysis essay writing will require your comprehension of the basics and other steps that will make your paper flawless. But don't worry, we will help avoid headaches and sleepless nights. Our guide will describe the essentials and main elements of this type of work. Keep reading and find them out. Ultimately, you will ace your writing assignment and get a fantastic outcome!

What to Do Before You Start Writing an Analytical Essay?

Below we will outline some simple pre-writing steps that will help students meet the assignment's requirements. Completing the preparatory process is half the job done. If you succeed at doing all these steps right, writing the paper itself won't be your nightmare anymore.

Pre-writing steps

Understand the Objectives

Your first task is to check an analytical essay rubric. Usually, teachers give it along with the instructions. Make sure it's clear what you are expected to do and which approach you should take.

Writing an analytical essay doesn't require summarizing the source of analysis only. If you want to write the best paper, remember that you need:  

  • Personal opinion regarding the matter of analysis
  • Well-organized main idea
  • Awareness of conflicting arguments
  • Trustworthy and reliable sources.

Once you grasp the task's concept and choose the right direction, it will make your start towards a strong paper much more manageable. If academic writing isn't your thing, rely on our essay service for outstanding and efficient outcome.

Brainstorm for Ideas

Usually, teachers assign topics and give the requirements if this is a task received in class. But what if you don't have any clue on what to write about? Don't panic. You will handle it either way. Think of something simple and what you have enough expertise about. Search for a list of analytical essay topics online or use our topic generator. All these options can help find one rather convenient theme of choice.

Suppose you have already found a good topic for an analytical paper. If you feel that it's too broad, you can always narrow it down. Keep in mind that the more information about a specific topic is available, the more investigation you will need to carry out. And it is one of many reasons that can increase your writing time.

Now we are ready for brainstorming. Think of some theses about the chosen topic that come to mind and just write them down. This way, you won't keep all ideas in your head. Search for materials to back up your arguments with corresponding clues. Collect everything you can find and divide it into categories of primary and secondary sources. And you are good to go.  

Develop an Analytical Thesis Statement

The analytical essay thesis is a central reference point of an entire piece. Once your readers see the thesis statement, they should recognize what your paper will be about. It should also determine what exactly you will be analyzing. Also, make sure that the claim you make can be arguable. You shouldn't provide bare facts that everyone is aware of. Instead, take a stand and make an argument. Use facts and evidence retrieved from chosen sources and prove it.

The thesis statement for analytical essay must be precise and connected with the entire paper. Since it sets a direction for your reader from beginning, make sure that they will not lose your main point after the introduction.  

Create an Analytical Essay Outline

Now, as you have crafted a thesis statement, start creating an analytical paper outline. It is a great idea that will ease the tracking of information to include in your paper. A good plan will ensure your expression of thoughts clearly and logically. Of course, outlining the work is not always obligatory. But it is an excellent option that helps during your writing process. This way, you won't keep all data in your head and not forget about including something important later. It's a real blessing for both students and professional writers.

There are different ways to create an outline for analytical essay. But most of the time, students can follow a standard five paragraph essay outline. This one includes an introduction, main body (with 3 paragraphs), and a conclusion. You may see an analytical essay outline example on this picture below:  

Analytical essay outline

Analytical Essay Structure

Let's talk about structure of an analytical essay in more detail. Keep in mind that your thesis statement should have a bond with each paragraph. Therefore carefully plan about things to incorporate in each section.

Analytical Essay Introduction

If you are wondering how to start an analytical essay, let's say that its opening paragraph has three common elements. Those are:

  1. Hook for essay
  2. Background information
  3. Thesis statement

Begin writing an introduction with a hook. It's a catchy statement that can be in the form of an amazing fact, statistics, or an anecdote. You may also use a question or a quote by a famous person. However, these techniques are often overused. So it's better to avoid using those unless there is no other option.

Next, provide some background information about your topic. It can be some general data that will help draw a broader picture of your subject. Let it be like a trampoline for your argument.

As a final touch, introduce your thesis statement. Ensure that it represents your main argument, is clear, and directly relates to the topic of choice. It shouldn't sound general. On the contrary, narrow it down based on the chosen area of concern.  

Body Paragraphs in Analytical Paper

While writing an analytical paper, it's best to start body paragraphs with good topic sentences. This way, you let your readers know what information they should expect further in the text. Ensure that your thesis traces back to each section you write.

After you set up the central idea of a paragraph:  

  1. Provide its reasoning by making an assertion.
  2. Use previously collected materials to justify your issue and show why it matters.
  3. Close a body paragraph with concluding your findings and making a transition to the next part.

If you decide to make your main body more than 3 paragraphs long, repeat the same procedure as above until you are out of ideas.

Analytical Essay Conclusion

Once you finish the introduction and paper body parts, a question appears: "How to conclude an analytical essay?". The answer is simple. Avoid introducing any new points in the end. Try to remind your audience about how you backed up your arguments. Rephrase the thesis statement and provide a summary of your central ideas. The conclusion alone should let your reader know what they could find out after going through the essay. The best way to end a closing paragraph is to leave your audience thinking. Make a connection of your topic to broader issues along with a couple of deducing thoughts.

For more inspiration, take any diagnostic essay example. It will help you with creativity and show your strong writing skills.

Bottom Line

We hope that this open guide has cleared things up and provided detailed instructions on how to write an analytical essay. As you see, there is nothing complicated if you know the basic rules. And the more different assignments you complete, the easier it will be to get acquainted with other academic tasks. Analysis paper is also helpful in terms of newly acquired skills. It allows students to see their strengths and weaknesses in analytical thinking which is requred to complete different assignments, including character analysis or DBQ essay. Keep in mind that there is always room for improvement.

Can't write your analytical essay?

If you believe that you cannot meet the assignment's deadline due to other important activities, consider asking our writing service for help. Our professional writers will be glad to assist you with writing an analysis essay and other academic tasks. Premium quality and on-time delivery are guaranteed!  

Article posted on:Apr 27, 2022
Article updated on:May 12, 2023


Leave your comment here:
6/20/2022 7:54 AM
Hi, I have a problem with my writing. I don't know how to write in an official, academic manner. My vocabulary is fine, I just don't know how to build sentences that will sound more academic. Maybe you can tell me what academic words to use in an analytical essay?
6/22/2022 7:03 PM
Hi Stan,

Writing academic texts is indeed a bit more complicated than usual. But here are some tips that may help you write an excellent analytical essay in an academic manner:

1. Use formal vocabulary. Try to avoid slang, informal words, and phrases.
2. Use strong transition words. Transitions will help connect different parts of an essay into a single, cohesive piece of writing.
3. Pick strong verbs. Avoid using phrasal verbs (verbs that require a preposition) since they sound weaker in the text.
4. Avoid and eliminate any unnecessary words or phrases, including words that repeat what has already been said.

Follow these simple tips, and your analytical essay will sound more academic. Good luck!
6/22/2022 7:12 PM
Thank you for your answer! I tried to follow your way and my analytical essay writing looks much better. Thanks!
7/4/2022 5:26 PM
Hi! I have a problem with my analytical essay. I have a lack of ideas and can't come up with any ideas that will impress my teacher. What good analytical essay topics can you recommend?
7/4/2022 6:29 PM
Hi Britney,

You've come to the right place. We can help you with that. Here is the list of good analytical essay topics you may like:

1. Does the size of a body affect a person's quality of life?
2. Negative effects of modern technology.
3. Why are gender roles changing?
4. How can inequality be avoided?
5. Are personality and upbringing related?
6. Reasons for religious intolerances.
7. Bullying in schools.
8. What are the best ways to improve the standard of education?

Hope these topics will be useful! Good luck with your writing!