Writing a Great Analytical Essay (Steps, Tips, & Examples)

author By Mary Boies

Analytical essay writing is a common assignment in college and university. You might have found yourself writing it.

Most students we have helped write analysis essays or outlines report fear, confusion, and frustration, especially if they do not know how to write an analytical essay. Sometimes it is because of the shallow explanation by the professor or lack of good examples to get inspiration from; that is where we come in.

Our essay writers have put together a comprehensive guide to take you through the analytical /analysis essay writing process so that you can analyze a movie, report, scientific research paper, book, novel, song, poem, speech, or event without fear or confusion.

What is an Analytical Essay?

An analytical essay is an academic writing task students are assigned to research, explore, and critically examine a topic, literary work, or any piece of information to provide interpretations backed by solid evidence and critical and logical reasoning.

Unlike a descriptive essay, an analytical essay entails robust analysis and evaluation, which gives readers a profound understanding. It does not contain personal opinions, nor does it have a summary of facts.

It equips the writer with strong analytical skills, a staple in good decision-making. Our custom writing experts have put together this systematic guide to help you learn how to write a solid analytical essay.

Types of Analytical Essays

In high school, college, or university, you will most likely encounter various essays that require an analytical approach and tone. Here are some common types of analytical essays:

Generally, analytical essays are evidence-based, meaning you must evaluate the topic, piece, or argument using supporting facts from scholarly sources. With knowledge of some of the most common types of analytical essays, let us take you through the structure or organization of such essays.

The Seven Steps for Writing an Analytical Essay from Scratch

With the structure done comes the steps of writing analytical essays if your aim is to get a top score in your class. Our top analytical essay writers, who know how to write such essays to perfection, have determined the seven steps you should undertake if you want to write an essay that leaves your professor yearning to read your next essays. We very well understand that the process can be daunting. However, when you have this stepwise guide, count yourself already among your class's top 10 best performers. The good thing is that we have simplified everything so you can ace your analytical essay within a few hours.

Step #1: Understand the Assignment

Like any other assignment, reading, understanding, and interpreting the instructions comes first. While reading the instructions, ensure that you understand the scope of the assignment, the number of words and sources, topic limitations, key terms, and the deadline. Plan your essay accordingly and complete it within or before the deadline to avoid a last-minute essay rush. The first step helps you set the course for your essay since you have clarity of its purpose and expectations from your professor.

Step #2: Choose a Suitable Analytical Essay Topic

In a few instances, a professor will assign a topic. If you are lucky enough to have a topic assigned, you can skip this step and move to the subsequent steps. However, college and university professors, teachers, and teaching assistants habitually let you select an interesting topic. They believe this improves your creativity, critical thinking, and logical reasoning.

Sometimes, you can write about the topic of choice without consulting; in other instances, you must email the professor or teacher for approval. Whichever the case, ensure you select a topic to write a perfect essay without delays or procrastination. It is best to opt for an analytical topic on current events because such topics have comprehensive and good scholarly coverage.

Choosing a perfect topic can make or break your analytical essay writing process. It differentiates a hard analytical essay and a straightforward essay that you will spend a few hours researching and writing. Conducting preliminary research and checking for enough examples and material to support the topic is imperative.

If you are to write an analytical essay on The Scarlet Letter, which exposes symbolism, you do not have to focus on all the symbolism presented in the story. Instead, choose one aspect of symbolism and explore it exhaustively. Choose a topic that allows you to analyze symbolism in the story. See the example provided in this blog for inspiration.

Step #3: Conduct an In-depth Research

With the topic ready, you must get into beast research mode to gather enough resources to support your analysis. In this step, you should strengthen your analytical essay to attract a good grade.

A good strategy here is to brainstorm ideas. Although you might not know the exact thesis statement to focus on, brainstorming will help you develop ideas even after choosing the topic. It helps you develop various perspectives for your topic.

To brainstorm effectively, list every idea that comes to mind regardless of their order. You can focus on stylistic devices like imagery, repetition, onomatopoeia, metaphors, phrases, similes, themes, etc.; if you are writing a rhetorical analysis text, you can use logical appeals. This process can take the form of notes, mind maps, flow charts, or whatever you find comfortable. At this stage, do not discount any ideas; everything that comes to mind is perfect for research.

After brainstorming, you need to research as you sieve out ideas. Since every body paragraph must only focus on one idea, ensure that you prioritize the strong points. Research widely by reading Encyclopedia and Wikipedia for initial understanding. You can also use other non-scholarly sources to understand the topic. However, for robust analysis, ensure that you get scholarly sources (primary and secondary sources) to support your ideas in the essay.  Check for the quotes, phrases, and excerpts to help you support your analysis. Come up with claims, arguments, and counterarguments and research well to determine what stance fits the context of your analytical essay.

Step #4: Develop the Preliminary Thesis

With the research done, notes taken, and a perspective developed, you are now ready to develop an analytical thesis statement. The thesis statement is a sentence or two sentences long. It should summarize the claim you are making in the analytical paper. An analytical thesis should be specific rather than obvious. It should also be arguable and narrow enough to meet the scope requirements of your essay. A solid analytical thesis is also straightforward and precise. Unless otherwise required, avoid the thesis summarizing the points discussed in the essay.

An excellent example of an analytical thesis is "Nathaniel Hawthorne uses the symbols of the scarlet letter, the scaffold, and the Pearl, which contribute to the novel's themes of sin, guilt, and redemption." The thesis statement is compelling enough as it states the link between symbolism and themes in the novel.

Step #5: Outline the Essay

Now that you have the thesis statement, you have a clear direction for your essay. A good outline is handy in structuring the essay, making the writing process faster and more seamless.

Some teachers might require that you write a good 5-paragraph essay with an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a concluding paragraph. Most teachers, especially English and Literature teachers, prefer longer essays exploring in-depth topics.

It is best to structure your essay accordingly. You can make a formal analytical essay outline if it is part of the submission requirements. Otherwise, an informal outline that maps out how to arrange ideas will suffice.  Ensure every paragraph has an outstanding topic sentence, supporting facts, and a concluding sentence. You can use the PEEL approach to develop the paragraphs.

Step #6: Write the First Draft

It is now time for you to organize everything into a perfect analytical essay. There is no rule on how to write the first draft. The goal is to have an essay that meets the requirements.

For faster writing, stick to your outline. You can leave the introduction for later and begin working on the body paragraphs because you know the thesis statement anyway. Ensure that every body paragraph has a topic sentence, an analysis (supported by examples from scholarly sources that are well cited through in-text citations), a connection to the thesis statement, transition words, and concluding sentences. Use the PEEL paragraph format (Point, example, explanation, and link). If you use quotes or paraphrase ideas, integrate in-text citations in APA, Chicago, or MLA style.

The introduction of your essay should have an attention-getter, background information, and a thesis statement. Do not make it dramatic by beginning with a rhetorical question or anecdote. Instead, make it engaging to the reader.

Finally, the conclusion should remind the readers about your ideas and how you supported them in the essay. Ensure you carefully restate the thesis statement, summarize the ideas, and give closing remarks.

Step #7: Revise, Edit, and Proofread

Your essay's errors, omissions, and mistakes can lead to a poor grade. Therefore, you must proofread, edit, and polish your essay well. Ensure that you have a suitable essay format, enough body paragraphs and that you meet the word count.

You can read your paper aloud to find places that sound awkward and make the necessary tweaks. Check the spelling and word choice to ensure that everything is as you would like it to be.

Read the essay as though you are a teacher, and if possible, have someone else look at it and use their feedback to improve it.

Sample Analytical Essays

Below are some sample essays where the writers have gone through the three critical steps: critical reading, note-taking, and critical writing. Note the tone, structure, and organization; that is how an excellent analytical essay should look.

An analytical essay is structured like other three-part essays, having an introduction, body, and conclusion. Let's look at the three examples.

Example 1: Social Media and Instant Gratification Among Youths: Unveiling the Impact

Social media platforms have revolutionized communication, connecting, and consuming information. However, the rise of social media has also brought about concerns regarding its impact on the youth, particularly in relation to instant gratification. There is no doubt that social media creates a culture of instant gratification among the youth leading to various consequences, especially for those that do not have self-control.

Social media platforms have fostered a culture of instant gratification among youths. The constant availability of likes, comments, and shares provides immediate validation and a sense of accomplishment. Features such as instant messaging and disappearing stories satisfy the desire for instant responses and attention. This culture of instant gratification can lead to impatience, a lack of perseverance, and a distorted perception of self-worth.

The pursuit of instant gratification on social media can have detrimental psychological effects on youths. The dopamine rush experienced through receiving notifications, likes, or followers creates a reward-seeking behavior. As a result, youths may become dependent on the instant validation provided by social media, leading to decreased self-esteem and a constant need for external affirmation. Moreover, comparing one's life with carefully curated highlight reels on social media can contribute to feelings of inadequacy and anxiety.

The instant gratification culture promoted by social media can also affect youths' social relationships. Online interactions may substitute genuine face-to-face connections, resulting in superficial relationships and a lack of depth. The pursuit of instant validation can prioritize quantity over quality, leading to a focus on accumulating virtual friends rather than nurturing meaningful connections. Additionally, the constant need for instant responses can hinder patience and active listening skills, undermining effective communication and empathy.

The culture of instant gratification perpetuated by social media can significantly influence youths' educational pursuits and overall productivity. Constant access to social media platforms can lead to distraction, reduced focus, and procrastination. The ease of accessing the information on demand can create a reliance on surface-level knowledge rather than fostering critical thinking and deep analysis. This can hinder academic growth and critical skills development, ultimately affecting long-term success.

Incontrovertible evidence analyzed above suggests that the influence of social media on instant gratification among youths is undeniable. While social media platforms offer immense opportunities for connectivity and information sharing, they also present challenges in fostering a culture that values immediate satisfaction over sustained efforts. It is crucial to raise awareness about this culture's potential psychological, social, and educational implications and encourage youths to seek a balanced approach to their digital lives. By promoting self-awareness, mindfulness, and moderation in social media usage, we can empower youths to make informed choices and cultivate healthier relationships with technology, paving the way for a more fulfilling and sustainable future.

Example 2: Symbolism in "The Scarlet Letter": Unveiling Hidden Meanings

Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel, "The Scarlet Letter," is a timeless piece that delves into the complexities of human nature and societal conventions. Through effective symbolism, Hawthorne weaves a rich tapestry of hidden meanings, adding depth and insight to the narrative. Nathaniel Hawthorne uses the symbols of the scarlet letter, the scaffold, and the Pearl, which contribute to the novel's themes of sin, guilt, and redemption.

The scarlet letter "A," worn by Hester Prynne, is the novel's central symbol. It represents not only Hester's sin of adultery but also her strength and resilience. The scarlet letter embodies the conflicting concepts of shame and defiance. As the story progresses, the meaning of the letter evolves, reflecting Hester's transformation from a social outcast to a respected community member. Through this symbol, Hawthorne explores the complexities of sin, public judgment, and personal growth.

The scaffold is a recurring symbol throughout the novel, serving as a physical and metaphorical platform for public humiliation and self-reflection. It is a place where characters confront their sins and face the consequences of their actions. The scaffold symbolizes the intersection of society's judgment and the characters' internal struggles. Each character's experience on the scaffold—Hester's initial public shaming, Dimmesdale's secret torment, and the final reconciliation—highlights the theme of guilt, redemption, and the power of confession.

Pearl, Hester's daughter, is a symbol of both innocence and the consequences of sin. She is a living embodiment of the scarlet letter, a constant reminder of Hester's transgression. Pearl's wild and unpredictable nature mirrors the passionate spirit of her parents' forbidden love. She represents the complexities of identity, the clash between societal norms and personal desires, and the potential for good and evil within human nature.

"The Scarlet Letter" is a masterpiece that explores the human condition and the moral dilemmas its characters face. Through effective symbolism, Hawthorne breathes life into his narrative, inviting readers to contemplate the deeper meanings behind the scarlet letter, the scaffold, and Pearl. These symbols illuminate the themes of sin, guilt, and redemption, highlighting the enduring relevance of the novel. By delving into the layers of symbolism, readers gain a deeper understanding of the complex web of human emotions and societal expectations woven throughout Hawthorne's timeless work.

Example 3: Does Technology Make Us Lazy?

In the modern era, technology has become an integral part of our daily lives, revolutionizing how we work, communicate, and engage with the world. However, concerns have been raised about the potential negative impact of technology, with some arguing that it makes us lazy. Undoubtedly, technology has enhanced life processes and events, making humans lazy and efficient in almost equal measures considering the positive and negative effects of technology on our motivation, physical activity, and cognitive abilities.

One argument suggesting that technology makes us lazy is the rise of automation and the reduction in physical effort required for various tasks. Tasks once performed manually can now be accomplished by pushing a button or using intelligent devices. For instance, household chores, transportation, and even basic calculations can be delegated to technology. While this may save time and effort, it raises concerns about the decline in physical activity and the potential impact on our overall health and well-being.

On the other hand, technology has undeniably increased convenience and efficiency in various aspects of our lives. We can access a wealth of information and readily available resources through smartphones, laptops, and other digital tools. This ease of access has streamlined many processes, allowing us to accomplish tasks more efficiently. However, it is crucial to recognize that efficiency does not necessarily equate to laziness. Technology empowers us to be more productive and frees time for other pursuits.

While technology has the potential to enhance productivity, it also presents challenges that can contribute to laziness. The constant bombardment of information, notifications, and digital distractions can hinder our ability to focus and concentrate on tasks. Technology often encourages multitasking, which can lead to reduced efficiency and lower quality outputs. Furthermore, the reliance on technology for problem-solving and decision-making can erode critical thinking skills and creativity, potentially making us dependent on automated solutions rather than engaging in thoughtful analysis.

Despite the concerns raised, technology can also serve as empowering tools for personal growth and learning. Online platforms provide access to educational resources, online courses, and skill development opportunities. Virtual collaboration and communication tools enable us to connect with experts and peers worldwide, fostering knowledge sharing and intellectual stimulation. Moreover, technology offers tools for self-improvement, such as fitness apps, language learning platforms, and productivity software, which can motivate and inspire individuals to pursue their goals actively.

The relationship between technology and laziness is complex and multifaceted. While it is true that technology has the potential to contribute to laziness through automation, reduced physical effort, and cognitive challenges, it is essential to recognize the positive aspects as well. Technology can empower us, increase efficiency, and provide opportunities for personal growth and learning. Ultimately, the impact of technology on laziness depends on how we engage with and utilize these tools. Our responsibility is to strike a balance, leveraging technology to enhance productivity, creativity, and overall well-being, while actively managing its potential drawbacks.

As We Come to the End! …

Our English writing experts have taken you through the steps for writing an excellent analytical essay. Remember, it is not a summary. Besides, you should declare the purpose of your essay through your thesis statement. You should also back up all the claims within your essay with evidence. And when all is done, ensure to edit, proofread, and polish your essay.

If this is too much work for you or you do not have the time, we can help. Our custom paper writers can help you with the following:

Therefore, as you read the analytical examples above for inspiration; know you can get help writing an excellent essay. Get further inspiration by reading our different writing guides.

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