How to Write an Analysis Essay: The Ultimate Study Guide

How to Write an Analysis Essay: The Ultimate Study Guide

Have an analytical essay to write? We get it. We’ve been there. Fortunately, we are here for you, with some insights into writing a successful analytical paper. Keep reading this article.

Analytical Essay Definition

An analytical essay is a writing assignment. Your goal here is to introduce and discuss a claim as well as to deliver a detailed review of a given topic.

You can write analysis essays on topics from different fields. These include such topics as politics, economics, art, philosophy, music, literature, etc. Analytical assignments are a substantial part of any academic work. That is why university and college students often have to compose such papers. An outstanding analytical essay intends to explain and contextualize any topic—both the author and the reader benefit from it. In order to get a clearer picture of what this type of work should look like, check out some examples in our free essays collection.

Types of Analytical Essay

There are different types of analytical essays. It is important to find out what kind of essay you will write to use the correct structure.

📌 Cause and effect analytical essay. Also known as reason and result essay, this type of work discusses the purpose of something, which then enables us to analyze it while studying its effect on other things.
📌 Comparison and contrast analysis. This essay type examines two subjects to highlight their subtle similarities or differences through contrasting, comparison, or both processes at once.
📌 Classification. This type provides classification of things with common similarities into groups or categories to better learn their nature and carry out the analysis.
📌 Process essay. Such works talk about the way of doing something in order to give some sort of guidance or directions to readers.
📌 Definition. These essays comprise research to define an idea, concept, or term and provide evidence to support it. They also contain explanation through examples.

We use all these types of analytical essays while writing different kinds of analyses. The most common variants of analysis are literary analysis, painting analysis, and analysis of speech.

Find their detailed descriptions down below!

What is a Literary Analysis

While writing a literary analysis essay, you don’t always have to study a work of literature in its entirety. Sometimes you need to describe only a particular character or one aspect of the work. When studying various literary work elements, you are likely to understand the whole piece better. This process makes literary analysis one of the most exciting types of papers.

There are two main ways of composing the work – from the style perspective and from the literature piece elements perspective.

If you want to concentrate on the style, you can consider following criteria:

  • Structure and organization
  • Point of view
  • Diction
  • Word choice
  • Tone
  • Imagery
  • Figurative language

In case of choosing to look into the elements of the work, you need to describe these aspects:

  • Plot
  • Characters
  • Conflict
  • Setting
  • Narrator
  • Themes

It is also possible to analyze all these elements considering different analytical essays: cause and effect, comparison and contrast, classification, process, and definition papers.

It would be a mistake to think that an analysis of literary work is just a summary of a piece of writing. On the contrary, it is rather a debate about the work that conveys a writer’s interpretation of the work.

How to Write Painting Analysis

Analyzing a painting is never easy. If you aren’t sure where to start, remember that you don’t need to be a painter or an expert in the field. Start your writing by answering some of these questions:

🤔 When was the painting made?
🤔 How big/small is it?
🤔 What kind of painting is it? It could be a portrait, a landscape, or still life.
🤔 How does the artist use colors and shapes?
🤔 What is your idea of the mood of the picture?
🤔 Is there a story behind the image?
🤔 Do you know who the artist is?
🤔 Did the artist use any symbols in the painting?
🤔 How would you describe the brushwork? Is the paint thick or thin?

Some more tips on how to analyze a work of art:

  1. “Description of a painting” does not mean “analysis of a painting,” so do not dive into too much detail. Going beyond stating the obvious, a student can demonstrate a more profound understanding of the piece of art.
  2. Try to avoid such judgmental expressions as “I like this” or “I don’t like this.” Remember to support your opinion with evidence or justification.
  3. Talk about several visual elements. Make sure you discuss different visual aspects of the artwork. Do not limit your analysis to talking only about colors or patterns. Try to show the painting from different perspectives.

Speech Analysis: Overview

While writing a speech analysis, you need to answer two questions. The first question you need to discuss here is WHAT the speaker says. Analyze their speech according to the standard procedure of text analysis, conversation analysis, and dialogue analysis.

The second important question is HOW the speaker expresses the ideas. Sometimes you need to analyze it to read between the lines and get the speaker’s view better. Important messages in speeches are often sent through appearance and behavior.

When analyzing a speech, try to consider the following questions:

🔎 Who is giving a speech?
🔎 What does the speaker look like? 
🔎 How are they dressed? 
🔎 What is the speaker’s behavior?
🔎 Does the speaker use gestures?
🔎 What is their voice like?  

Some more tips on how to analyze a speech:

  • A good piece of advice is to analyze the speaker and the audience they are talking to. You can describe their background and education, the atmosphere of the meeting, the general mood of the audience.
  • It is also possible to talk about the meeting itself. Maybe it is a conference or a TV show, a workshop or a big plenary. All these details are crucial because they influence the speaker directly.

How to Write an Analytical Essay: Step by Step

Writing an analytical essay can be tricky. You need to consider many aspects if you want your work to sound competent. We’ve prepared a list of 5 key steps that will help you create the best analytical essay possible.

5 Steps to a Perfect.

5 Key Steps to a Perfect Analytical Essay

1. Pick a good topic

Before talking about any topic, it is helpful to study it from the ground up. When you become a real expert on the subject, you realize that analysis is relatively simple.

Check websites of trustworthy institutions to see if they have works on similar issues, or just google published papers on related topics. They can help you structure your work better.

They can also give you inspiration about the ideas you might discuss in your work.

2. Produce an analytical thesis statement

A thesis statement is the foundation of your work. It can be expressed in one sentence and supported by the most important arguments.

A working thesis statement gives the readers a general idea of the structure of your paper. It also provides them with the central point of your work and the main arguments supporting the idea. Aside from that, it declares a position about the subject that needs discussing and proving.

Here is an example of a good thesis statement:

“Worldwide nature preserving measures should concentrate on saving endangered species. It would allow many rare kinds of animals to live and breed in a safe environment.”

3. Do your research

Before writing an essay, it is vital to study the topic thoroughly. Do not skip this step, as it is essential to demonstrate that you have learned the topic and are ready to present your results, supported by arguments. So, get ready! Read relevant studies, do experiments, collect statistics – everything counts!

4. Set a realistic goal

When choosing a goal for your research, stay realistic. Try to make your goal as precise as possible. In this case, it will be easy for you to achieve your aim and to demonstrate your results at their best. It is also easier to find arguments for and against your thesis statement if your goal is precise and narrow.

5. Create an analysis essay outline

Any written assignment needs thorough planning, and analytical essays need it too. Before you write, make a well-structured outline of your work, including every paragraph’s essential points.

An analysis essay consists of an introduction, several main body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Let’s investigate this part in more detail.

Analysis Essay Outline

There are many ways to structure an analytical assignment. Which format is best depending on the type of essay and the main goals of the writing task? We have prepared three different kinds of outlines for you.

3 Types of Analytical Essay Outline.

The first type of structure is perfect when you need to state the central position in the text and defend it. Concentrate on the position you take, but don’t forget to mention alternative perspectives as well. In this type of work, you do not need to explain why the alternative ways are wrong. Show the readers that they exist.

The second type is good for when you not only want to defend your position. You also aim to explain why the other perspectives are wrong. In this case, you need to think carefully about arguments for your position. You will also need arguments against the different opinions.

And the third type is a perfect fit if you aim to demonstrate a wide range of several issues.For each of them, you have the central position and defending arguments. This type of essay tends to be the longest, as it covers several issues. It also includes alternative positions on all the problems. The thing is – there is no need to prove the alternative ideas wrong. You should only defend your main statement. 

Analytical Essay Introduction: Examples

The purpose of the introduction of your essay is to make the readers focus. To keep the attention, you need to include a hook in the introduction. The hook can look like a rhetorical or provocative question, a quotation, or a bold statement. 

A good intro also mentions the issue you will talk about. Besides, it states the position you are taking and background information on the topic. It is usually situated at the end of the introductory paragraph.

Some examples of good introductions:

✅ “The symbolism in JD Salinger’s Franny and Zooey” keeps the feeling of melancholia and uncertainty throughout the entire novel.”
✅ “Although there are many reasons for the 2nd World War, it is nationalism that formed hatred and provoked the War’s start.”
✅ “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal.” Animal Farm is full of ironic and provocative phrases, which invite the reader to continue exploring the story.
✅ In Animal Farm, the author uses irony types to show totalitarianism and to manifest its inability to make every member of society equal.

Analysis Essay Body: Paragraph Format + Examples

The main body is a part of an essay with the aim to show readers the main idea development. Here, you need to add some evidence to support your thesis. Usually, there are three paragraphs. It depends on how broad the thesis statement is. Writers typically look for the evidence in different resources. It can be in the form of a summary, a quotation, or a paraphrase.

Here is an example of how to start a body paragraph:

“In the article, the author describes a particular scenario of doing house chores with her husband. She is paving the way for the following discussion of…”

Remember to include topic sentences in each paragraph! The main idea of the paragraph should be there. It also should be connected to your work’s central position. It is crucially important to support every claim in the thesis statement with proof. Try to include arguments supported by research and strong evidence. That is the reason to have a narrow thesis statement. The broader your thesis is – the more paragraphs the main body will contain.

For example:

“At first look, the plot of the story seems direct. It tells a story of… The central question of the story is looking for meaning in life. For instance: “Never have I had such a strong fish nor one who acted so strangely. Perhaps he is too wise to jump…”. This passage shows the readers the simple structure of …”

StudyCorgi Writing Tips.

How to Write a Killer Сonclusion

The goal of the conclusion is to give your paper a sense of completeness. It is vital to mention your point again in conclusion. Do not talk about any new topics or ideas. The goal here is to discuss the thesis differently.

You also need to make conclusions about the central issues of the paper. A conclusion reminds the reader of how you proved your argument. It also leaves some space for an open discussion.

Besides, it is vital to comment on your point from a broader perspective to show the reader the significance of your analysis.

Here are the four steps to a killer conclusion:

👣 Remind your topic
👣 Restate your thesis and main arguments
👣 Do not include any new facts or data
👣 Show a broader perspective of the research


We hope now you understand that writing an analytical essay is not that tricky. Just follow our advice, build a good structure, and don’t forget about your research.  

Analytical essays can help students to develop their writing skills. It also teaches them critical thinking as well as analyzing extensive amounts of information.

If you have any thoughts on the topic or this article helped you with your assignment, leave your comments below. We will be happy to answer!


❓ How to Write an Analysis Essay?

To write an analysis essay, you need to study your topic thoroughly and conduct a research. After that, it is a good idea to think about the structure of your essay. Decide on the position, that you are going to defend. Besides, think about the opposite arguments and the evidence for the support of your central point.

❓ How to Write an Analytical Thesis?

The Thesis Statement is the root of your assignment. It needs to be further discussed and supported by evidence while writing. Before writing the main body and discussing quotes, make sure that your statement is clear and debatable. Do not forget to make your thesis statement persuasive. In this case, the audience will see your perspective and believe what you are saying.

❓ What Are the Characteristics of an Effective Introduction?

The goal of the introduction of your essay is to keep the readers’ focus. To bring this attention to your topic, you need to start with a hook. The hook can be in the form of a rhetorical or provocative question, a quotation, or a bold statement. A good introduction also includes the question you will discuss. Apart from that, it states the position you are taking and background information on the topic. It is usually placed at the end of the introductory paragraph.

❓ Can I Use a Quote in My Conclusion?

It is better to use a quotation in the introduction or the essay body. But if the quote can logically finish your analysis, then use it! Just make sure that your quotation does not include any new ideas or information. The reason is that the aim of the conclusion is to restate your thesis statement and your topic.

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