Essay writing tips and advice from academic experts

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Important Qualities of Analytical Essays

In order to write a high quality analytical essay, there are some key characteristics you need to include and some important steps you need to take so that your essay is well informed and well written.

  • Be prepared: analytical essays require some research. Read through the material you are meant to analyze multiple times and take thorough notes. Go through your notes and the source material again to pick out the parts that are going to be most important for your analysis. Then (and this is really important) create an outline for your essay. Identify what you will talk about in each paragraph and list the relevant evidence and ideas that you need to include in each paragraph.
  • Define your thesis: Every good analytical essay (every good essay, for that matter) begins with a strong thesis. Your thesis statement is the backbone of your essay. It defines what you are going to talk about and how you are going to talk about it. Before you even begin writing an outline for your essay, you need to develop your thesis statement. Make sure that it is clear, logical, and, most importantly, expresses your own original thoughts.
  • Do strong analysis: It should be fairly obvious that a quality analytical essay will include strong analysis. But there are a surprising number of students out there who just don’t take the hint. So make sure that your analysis is supported by specific and relevant evidence taken from the source material. Furthermore, make sure that the analysis you are engaging in directly relates to your thesis and every insight you offer supports the original thesis statement you wrote at the beginning.
  • Anticipate the opposition: analysis (especially as it regards literature or art) is not an objective activity. How you interpret the evidence could be completely different than how another person might interpret that same evidence. Try to anticipate all possible interpretations and provide logical reasoning as to why your interpretation is valid and correct.
  • Don’t start narrating: It is a common mistake when writing an essay to get lost in the description or details. It is one thing to provide evidence and analysis. It is quite another to go on a long tangent vaguely relating to that evidence. This is where an outline can come in handy. If you find that you are going on too long about a specific point in your essay, return to your outline to see what you should be writing about next so that you can get your essay back on track.

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