How to Write an Analytical Essay: Best Tips for Success
An analytical essay gives you a chance to share your insights about a specific topic, literature, event, or another subject. This type of essay is widely used in academic programs, so each student has to face it more than once during his studies.
So, you were assigned to write an analytical essay, but how to do it right? We’ve got you covered! This article will be your step-by-step instruction on how to write an analytical essay that will impress your professor and help you get an A!
What Is an Analytical Essay?
“To analyze” something means to study it methodically and in detail, typically for the purpose of explaining, contextualizing, or interpreting it. Respectively, an analytical essay is a type of writing used to thoroughly study a particular subject and explain it to a reader.
The subject of an analytical essay can be almost anything from art, piece of literature, or music to historical events, philosophy, politics, and so on.
Analytical essays have one main purpose. These papers strive to explain and contextualize a topic to help readers make sense of it. The purpose of this essay type is what makes it rather hard to write. The thing is that in order to make a subject matter clear to someone you must be well-versed in it yourself. That’s why this type of work requires in-depth research.
Analytical Essay: Pre-Writing Stage
Writing an analytical essay is not always easy. Mostly because it requires making a substantive analysis of a topic. But, even if you don’t know how to do it yet, we are here to help you get on the right track!
Before you can get to writing your paper, you need to take several preparatory steps. In this part of our guide, we’ll look at each step in the pre-writing process in detail.
Choose a Good Analytical Essay Topic
Unless you were provided with a specific topic, the first step you should take to prepare for writing an analytical essay is brainstorming. Analytical essays are good in terms of freedom. As we already said, the topic can be about almost anything - a piece of art, event, phenomenon, book, etc.
Here are a few tips to help you choose a good topic for an analytical essay:
Make sure it gives you the scope for research and analysis.
Think of the subject you understand well yourself so that you could interpret it well.
Choose a topic that is interesting to you.
Make sure your topic isn’t too broad or, on the contrary, too narrow.
After your topic is defined, you can start researching it. Keep in mind that analytical essays rely a lot on research and analysis. Therefore, you have to approach this step seriously.
To make the most of your research, we recommend breaking it down into several stages:
Stage 1: do primary research to study the subject matter and ensure that you get it right.
Stage 2: carry on your research, this time focusing more on identifying the main points for your essay.
Stage 3: when you have your main points in mind, search for facts and evidence to support your ideas.
To make your research as effective as possible, don’t procrastinate and start in advance. And, be sure to assess all information you find critically. To create a great analytical essay, you should rely only on valid resources that provide accurate data.
Analytical Essay Outline
The next step after researching the topic is making an outline. Many students neglect the importance of this step, but, if you really want to know how to write an analytical essay worth the highest grade, we encourage you not to skip this stage. An outline is needed to organize your thoughts and ideas and create a proper structure for your future essay.
There are three main parts that have to be in your analytical essay - an introduction, main body, and conclusion. Like most other essays, it is better to structure an analytical essay following a 5-paragraph essay structure.
Below you can find a sample outline for an analytical essay:
- Hook (a statement, fact, quote, or question that grabs the reader’s attention)
- A thesis statement that explains your point of view on the topic
- Explanation of how you will be proving your thesis
2. Main Body
Paragraph 1: Topic sentence, central point, evidence, a transition to the next paragraph
Paragraph 2: Topic sentence, central point, evidence, a transition to the next paragraph
Paragraph 3: Topic sentence, central point, evidence, a transition to the next paragraph
Summary of the main ideas
Restatement of the thesis statement
The logical conclusion that leaves the reader with a sense of closure
Writing an Analytical Essay
Once you make all preparatory steps, you can jump to the writing stage. To help you, we’ve prepared a step-by-step guide on how to write an analytical essay with ease:
1. Write Your Analytical Essay Introduction
An introduction is the first paragraph in your analytical essay that should consist of a hook, thesis statement, and some explanation on how you will prove your thesis.
This part of an essay is highly important. The purpose of the introduction is to introduce the topic. But, it also strives to grab readers’ attention and make them want to read the whole thing. For this purpose, you should start your intro with an eye-catching hook.
As you can get from its name, a hook should literally “hook” your readers to keep reading. This element should be placed at the beginning of your introduction. A hook can be pretty much anything. You can use a shocking statement, joke, statistics, fact, or even a rhetorical question. As long as it hooks the readers, it is good enough.
After the hook should follow a clear thesis statement. Basically, a thesis statement should represent your stance on the topic. It has to be specific, easy-to-understand, and strong.
Finally, after your hook and thesis statement, you should add a few sentences on how you are going to support your idea (thesis statement).
2. Write Body Paragraphs
The main body of your analytical essay should consist of at least 3 paragraphs. Every paragraph should represent a single central idea supported by evidence. The main reason why each paragraph should only present one point is to make your essay clear, logical, and easy to read.
Each of your body paragraphs should include the following elements:
A topic sentence that opens the paragraph and states the main idea.
Supporting material that backs your idea.
Transition to the next paragraph to make your essay smooth and consistent.
3. Make a Logical Conclusion
Finally, the last paragraph of your essay is a conclusion. Just like an introduction, this is a very important part. A conclusion leaves a lasting impression on the reader. Therefore, it has to be logical, clear, and give a sense of completeness to your paper.
In this paragraph, you need to include a brief overview of all the main points and ideas. But, remember not to provide any new facts or information in the conclusion. After the summary, restate your thesis and finish the paragraph with a logical concluding statement that ties everything together.
4. Proofreading and Editing
When you finish writing, don’t forget about proofreading and editing. Do never skip these steps if you want to get a high grade for your paper.
To proofread your analytical essay you can use specialized tools like Grammarly. Such tools will make the process faster and easier. But, don’t neglect manual check. Be sure to read your essay several times to identify and fix all errors.
More Tips for Writing a Brilliant Analytical Essay
With the help of this guide, you should be able to create a top-level analytical essay. To make the process even simpler, here are a few more tips to keep in mind:
Carefully study the assignment guidelines (if it was provided) to ensure that you understand what is expected from you.
Always keep in mind the purpose of an analytical essay.
Choose the topic wisely.
Ensure proper formatting and structure of your analytical essay.
Don’t hesitate to look for some analytical essay examples to understand how it should look like.
Keep your essay straight-to-the-point and concise. But, at the same time, ensure that you disclose the topic fully.
Feel free to use quotes from external sources to support your claims but only include them if they add real value to your essay. If you want to quote a whole passage, only do so if you feel like it will lose its effectiveness if you paraphrase it.
Don’t forget to document all sources you use. Later, this will help you cite them.
Follow these tips and our instructions, and you will create a great analytical essay that will bring you the desired high grade!