How to Write an Analysis Essay: A Step-by-Step Guide

June 8, 2024

how to write an analytical essay

Are you struggling to write a comprehensive analytical essay and need a handy guide to help you get the assignment right? Or maybe it’s your first time to get this kind of an assignment from your instructor and you’re looking for a lead that can point you in the right direction? Then this guide is for you.

We show you, step by step, how you can write a high quality, in-depth, well-researched, objective analytical essay that will capture the attention of your instructor at a first glance.

Before we get to the steps to writing a convincing analytical essay, let’s first look at what an analytical essay is. 

What is an Analytical Essay? 

In analytical essay writing, students need to come up with an argument and then analyze it in-depth using relevant, supporting claims. Because the essay goes beyond the surface-level, students need to pay attention to the key arguments/points of the issue.

If your instructor has asked you to analyze a piece of writing, for example, you’ll need to examine the style of the author’s writing and determine why they chose to write the content the way they did. Your focus here is on the primary theme of the author’s work, including how they use literary devices and how they construct and support their arguments to enhance their message.

This kind of writing is different from argumentative essay writing and persuasive essay writing in the sense that instead of converting readers to support your side of the issue, your goal is to present enough analysis and examples that strengthen your argument, making the argument clear to the readers. 

How to Write an Analytical Essay Step-by-Step 

Follow these steps to write a comprehensive analytical essay based on the topic issued by your instructor:

Step 1: Pick a Topic for Your Analytical Essay 

This is the most critical step to writing an analytical essay, and it can be the difference between an issue that’s easy to research and one that takes you hours to find unique points to evaluate.

The right approach is to create a checklist of a number of analysis essay topics that you feel would make for a good analytical essay. Then, do some research on each topic on the checklist to see which one has sufficient data to support your analysis.

If the topic is too narrow, it will be hard to find enough to write, too broad and it may be difficult to cover everything in the essay. So find a balance by choosing a topic that will enable you to come up with a tighter and convincing essay without feeling too overwhelmed by the assignment. 

Step 2: Thesis Statement 

Now that you’ve researched your topic and have a rough idea of what your analytical essay will be about, it’s time to write a thesis statement. It should be thorough and precise, able to give your reader a clear picture on the topic.

More often than not, a thesis statement is the overall framework of your work. By reading the thesis statement, a reader should be able to understand what the whole essay revolves around.

Plus, as you write the essay, each section should closely relate to your thesis statement.

Step 3: Research Your Topic 

What makes a good analytical essay different from a boring piece of paper is the amount of research that goes into it.

So spare enough time for this step and dig up as much information as you possibly can.

A good rule of thumb is to list all ideas that you can find provided they’re within the topic of your analytical essay. Further, research each idea to see what you can find, then add at least three or four of the most powerful ideas to your essay.

Avoid weaker points, mostly because they don’t relate to the thesis statement. But if you have a strong feeling that they can help, include them sparingly in some paragraphs. 

Step 4: Create an Outline for Your Analytical Essay

Now that you’ve done in-depth topic research and collected the most important points for the essay, it’s time to take all that information and put it all together in the right template.

This is the step where you create a universally acceptable outline for the analytical essay.

Often, an analytical essay template is divided into three parts, the introduction, the body, and the conclusion. Although many analytical essays tend to have three paragraphs in the body section of the outline, some academics suggest that you can have up to five paragraphs if your essay is a bit longer.

We recommend keeping the outline to the acceptable standard, though. So try as much as possible to include only the most important points in the body section and leave the fillers out. 

analytical essay template outline

Step 5: Provide Evidence to Support Your Analysis 

Having a list of your main points isn’t enough for an analytical essay. The paper has to include enough evidence to back up you’re argument.

Depending on the topic of your analytical essay, you can collect evidence from the primary source or secondary sources such as experiments, surveys, and quotes from authoritative journal articles.

You don’t have to overthink this part of the assignment. More often than not, your instructor will tell you the type of sources to include in the essay.

Make sure you add good evidence to the essay to make your argument more convincing. As you cite sources in your essay, don’t forget to indicate where you found them, and also explain how they relate to and support your claim. 

Some Handy Tips to Help You Write an Engaging Analytical Essay 

Up until this point, we’ve shown you how to write an analytical essay that your instructor will approve on their first review.

However, there are a few things you need to understand in order to write a more engaging essay. These are as follows:

1. Give Your Essay an Engaging and Interesting Title 

The title of your analytical essay should draw the attention of the reader at a first glance. Make it unique, engaging, and enticing.

If it helps to add curiosity to this section of the paper, don’t hesitate to do it. Also, your title needs to give the reader an idea of what the essay is about, but make sure it’s short and precise. 

2. Hook Your Reader in the Introduction 

If your analytical essay fails to capture your instructor’s attention in the introduction, chances are they’ll find the rest of the paragraphs boring to read.

Remember, the intro section is where you provide a roadmap for your essay. So use a hooking statement that piques their interest from the very first sentence.

More often than not, a good introduction in an analysis essay:

  • Introduces the topic to the reader
  • State the focus or purpose of the analysis
  • Highlights the thesis, which is the overall summary of the issues you’ll include in the essay (based on your research in Step 3 above)
  • Present the scope (or outline) of the essay 

In general, try as much as possible to grab the attention of your instructor from the very beginning. If you’re able to draw them in from the very first sentence, they’ll develop an interest in reading the rest of the essay and award you the marks that you deserve.

Below is a video tutorial that can help you write better introduction for your analytical essay: 

3. Observe the Following Rules When Writing the Body

The body section of your analysis essay needs to be as interesting as the introduction. This is where you show your research, writing, and presentation skills, and you have to be as precise as possible when doing so.

  • You can include only one argument per paragraph, even if the argument relates to several issues.
  • Make your arguments reasonable, regardless of the issue in question
  • Use an unbiased tone, especially when you’re expressing your personal opinion 

Some analytical essays may provide you opposing views. And if that’s the case, you need to make sure the body section reflect arguments that are strong enough to counter those views while proving your analysis.

Also Read

Do You Need Help With Your Analytical Essay Assignment? 

Sometimes you have so many assignments to complete that writing an analytical essay and completing it on time becomes somewhat difficult. If that’s the case, seeking professional academic writing help is more or less a viable option.

At Help for Assessment, we can help you get your assignment completed in the shortest time possible. So you can worry less about meeting your instructor’s deadline and earn good grades at the end of the day. Check our essay writing service here for more details. 

Don’t worry if you’re on a tight budget. At Help for Assessment, we have the most comprehensive pricing plan that favors all clients, including those who are on a very tight budget. In fact, you get a 25% discount automatically applied to your first order. 

About the author 

Antony W is a professional writer and coach at Help for Assessment. He spends countless hours every day researching and writing great content filled with expert advice on how to write engaging essays, research papers, and assignments.

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