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Stages of Writing Analytical Essays

Whereas synthesis or dissertation essays are written in support of an argument on a particular topic by the author, an analytical essay is an essay that is written to help the reader gain better understanding of the topic. Often, the writer of an analytical essay will have to write from an objective point of view and temporarily put his or her personal biases aside. While this does not mean that the writer cannot express a stance on the topic, it does mean that the author should focus more on analyzing and breaking down the topic with a strong focus on facts and evidence rather than opinion.

  • Know the Topic
  • Whether are permitted to come up with the topic on your own or are assigned on in class, you need to know what you’re about to write about. Do plenty of research or carefully read your assigned sources and begin to organize them in your thoughts as you plan out your thesis statement.

  • Outline
  • As with any other essay, it’s usually a good idea (though not always required) to write out an outline in preparation for your essay. An outline is essentially a written guideline as to how you will write the essay; you may not follow the guidelines exactly, but you still have a word on paper idea of how you will organize the paper. All-in-all, writing an outline typically makes the writing process of your essay easier.

  • Introductory Paragraph
  • In your introduction, write about the background of your topic as you lead into the thesis statement. While your primary goal with the introduction is to introduce the reader to the topic, this is also where you want to grab their attention to make sure their thoughts are on the essay and not wandering elsewhere.

    Just like synthesis or dissertation essays, writing an analytical essay will require you to come up with a thesis statement. Just like other essays, the thesis will be no more than one or two sentences, is typically the last part of your introductory paragraph, and does clearly state your claim for the paper. The only real difference is that whereas a synthesis essay would require you to write a more opinion and argumentative thesis, an analytical essay will require you to write a more fact-based thesis statement based on what you found in your research.

  • Supporting Paragraphs
  • You supporting paragraphs are where you bring up facts and evidence to support your thesis. Break down and analyze each fact or evidence to show why it clearly supports the thesis. This is key to writing an analytical essay. Your breaking down of the topic should sound reasonable and logical. Don’t forget to cite your sources and to put in an in-text citation when necessary.

  • Conclusion
  • Your conclusion is the last paragraph of the essay where you will restate the argument you made in the introduction (though not merrily re-writing the thesis statement verbatim) and connect it to the analyzing you performed in the supporting paragraphs. Lastly, don’t forget to proofread your essay for possible spelling and grammar mistakes.

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