Analytical Essay: How-To, Structure, Examples, Topics

Posted: May 31, 2017 - to Guide
Content how to write an analytical essay

Analytical essays are some of the most common essays assigned at college. You may have even written one before, without even knowing it. Here's how to write a great essay, without the hassle.

What is an analytical essay?

An analytical essay is quite simply an essay where you analyse a topic. They're most commonly used for analysing media, such as books or films. However, they can be used to analyse almost any topic. You're asked to come up with your own thesis, and support your case with research.

Structure

  • Introduction: Introduce your topic. What is it, how long has it been around? How is it relevant to your course?
  • Thesis statement: This is where you state your intentions for the essay. What have you found through analysing this topic?
  • Main body: This will always differ, depending on what you're analysing. However, you'll always need to structure each paragraph the same way:
    1. Topic sentence
    2. Evidence to support your statement
    3. Detail on your statement
    Each section should flow into the next, to make the essay feel cohesive.
  • Conclusion: this is where you'll draw all your points together, and restate your thesis. What in your essay proved it?

Steps for writing

  • If you've been given some media to analyse, make sure you take it in. Sit and make notes that you can refer back to later.
  • Now, do some wider reading so you can start analysing your subject. Keep these notes so you can use the evidence in text.
  • Write an essay outline. This essay will be your road map for the essay. Use the structure above, and fill in the points you want to make.
  • Write your essay. Taking your outline, start writing and fill in the gaps with your research and insights. Remember to back up any important points you make with evidence.
  • Proofread and edit. Make sure you don't skip this step. If you do, you could lose marks off an otherwise good essay.

Topics

As mentioned before, an analytical essay can be written about almost any topic. You'll be given a topic that sounds rather vague, and it will be your job to look at it from every angle, and form an informed opinion. For example, you could be asked to write about college football, or anti drugs campaigns.

Examples of an analytical essay

Here are some examples of what an analytical essay could be about:

  • Homelessness in your city
  • Obesity in society
  • Body size and modelling
  • Changing gender roles

You can practice writing essays on these topics yourself. What's your opinion on them? Start researching and come up with a thesis that you can write around. You'll see that it's a lot easier to write an analytical essay than you first thought.

This guide should help you write the best essay possible. Just follow this advice, and you'll be getting excellent grades before you know it. 

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