There are many different types of essays that students have to get to grips with while studying. Perhaps the most precise of these is the analytical essay. To get you started on the right foot, here’s everything you need to know about analytical writing.
While essay writing itself is something just about every student will be familiar with from middle school onwards, this becomes a little more complicated as they progress through the education system. Moving on to high school and university, students will begin to encounter various different types of essays. Each of these has its own set of guidelines and expectations, and in order to be able to write well, it’s important to understand the distinction.
Some of the most popular forms of essays that students are sure to encounter while at school include the persuasive essay, the argumentative essay, the classification essay, and the analytical essay. Here we will focus on getting to grips with everything you need to know about how to write an analytical essay.
Before we discuss how to write in this style, it’s important to understand exactly what we mean when we say analytical essay. This writing style differs from others in that it has an argument or stance that it is trying to demonstrate. Whereas a reflective essay’s job is to mull over a topic, and classification essays seek to categorize the components of a given subject, analytical essays must set about proving a given thesis.
One common mistake that students make when writing this type of essay is to try and summarize their essay topic. The point of an analytical essay is to dissect and prove a point, not to summarize its subject matter. Veering too far into summarization is something that should be avoided at all costs while writing analytical essays.
As the name quite rightly suggests, this form of assessment is an opportunity for students to provide an in-depth analysis of their topic. Topics that commonly are subjected to analysis include works of art, literature, historical events, politics, scientific research, or social phenomena. This style of writing is generally speaking most commonly found in academia but is also a common feature of journalism and blogging.
There are different approaches to writing in this style, with the two primary ones being:
Approached from the perspective of creating a statement, this form of essay sees the author come up with a point regarding a certain subject and set out to prove it through careful analysis. This differs from a response-based paper in that to write a responsive paper is to take a pre-existing argument or thesis and either analyze it, refute it, or back it up.
In order to write a strong analytical essay, there are several important steps involved. These steps can be broken down into:
As is the case with any writing assignment, the research phase is in many ways the most crucial. It’s impossible to create a strong analytical argument without fully understanding the scope of the subject at hand. For this reason, analytical research has to be thorough and comprehensive, and sources must be approached with a critical thinking eye.
As analysis requires critical thinking, it’s important to spend the research phase not merely gathering facts and information but assessing what implications this information has upon the topic at hand. Sources can then be arranged according to the implications they posit on the topic in order to help with the formulation of a thesis statement.
One of the most important aspects of the research phase is to keep careful tabs on the sources you use and the exact information they contain. Proper note-taking and organization of sources make for a smoother writing process further down the line. Keeping an organized collection of sources will also help prevent any misquotations or inaccurate citations, which can cause big problems when it comes to preserving academic integrity.
Thesis statement formulation
Every good analytical essay example high school students encounter will place emphasis on the formulation of a strong thesis statement. If your outline is the skeleton of your essay, then the thesis statement is the blood that flows through it. Your entire essay will be centered around analyzing the assertion made by your thesis statement, so it’s incredibly important to word it right. Having a good overview of your topic, thanks to the successful completing of the research phase, makes the formulation of a legitimate thesis statement far easier.
The hallmark of a good thesis statement is strong and precise wording. The more precise, the better, as a thesis statement is essentially a claim about the subject that the analysis of the essay will set about proving.
It's important to remember that a thesis includes both an observation and an opinion:
observation + opinion (the "why") = thesis
Seeing if your thesis creates a powerful antithesis is an excellent approach to determine how strong it is.
Creating a clear and effective analysis essay outline will make the writing portion of the assignment far easier. Outlining your essay requires having all your sources gathered together, your thesis statement ready, and slotting all of them in to fit the structure of an analytical essay. Further along in this guide, we will go through this structure step by step. A strong outline shows wherein the paper which sources will be used to back up each aspect of the claim made by your thesis statement, so it’s important to get it right.
After the previous crucial steps, then comes the time to actually put pen to paper. If the preparatory steps of the assignment are done carefully and correctly, the writing section itself is in fact rather easy. All that one needs to do is follow their outline and make sure that their argumentation consistently reflects the information in their sources and is in line with the claim made in their thesis statement. Students should also pay attention to formal features of their writing as they go along, such as tone, clarity, and grammatic accuracy.
As is the case with any writing assignment, proofreading is a crucial step that can simply not be skipped. Students should review their work several times for logical or mechanical errors and expect to make several revisions before the final draft is ready for submission. Using proofreading software can help to catch mistakes that are more easily found by looking at a text with fresh eyes.
Subjecting your paper to peer review is a powerful tool when it comes to ensuring academic integrity and the clarity of your writing. Your peers may be able to point out stylistic issues or point out sections of the paper that they found to be unclear. It’s important to remember that just because you know your topic inside out, the reader may not be so familiar and need extra explanation.
Just about every example of analytical essay writing will follow the same structure. This structure is recognizable from many other forms of essay writing, and each section performs different roles. This structure consists of:
Any good analytical essay introduction example should catch its readers’ attention with a strong hook. Once you have their attention, you need to introduce the topic you will be discussing, the approach you will be taking, and give a very brief introduction to some of the sources you will be exploring. With all this in place, the introduction should conclude with your thesis statement.
The body paragraphs are where the analysis of your various sources takes place in relation to your thesis statement. In this section, it is most important to carefully refer to your sources and never lose sight of your thesis statement.
In this section, you will sum up everything you have discussed throughout your essay and perform the final argumentation as to why all of your analyses can be synthesized in order to argue on the side of your thesis statement’s validity.
Following your essay’s conclusion, you must list all the sources you used throughout your essay to preserve academic integrity. A well-organized bibliography makes it easier to reference your sources throughout the entire writing process.
Now that we’ve gone through how to write an analytical essay, it helps to reflect upon the topics that they are best at tackling. Most commonly, an example of analytical essay writing can be recognized by the question it seeks to solve. These questions are almost always framed as questions of “why” or “how” a certain property or subject functions. As such, this style of writing is often used to address social processes, works of art, or historical events.
Especially at first, this style of essay writing may be somewhat complex for new writers. Luckily, there are plenty of online resources and essay guides such as this one available to help you get to grips with the concept.
👆Type of Essay
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Step By Step Guide + Examples
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Intro, Body, And Conclusion
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