Top Tips on Writing Analytical Essays

The following is the recommended structure for an analytic essay:

  • Introduction paragraph
  • A few body paragraphs
  • A conclusion paragraph

The Introduction Paragraph

It is advisable to make your introduction paragraph as compelling and eye-catching as possible. As a further goal, you should provide your readers with important information regarding your chosen topic. Where appropriate or possible, your essay should present some interesting reasons or motives in respect of why you are writing this essay or you should provide a few interesting quotations, insights or reflections. The first sentences should present relevant background information as a way of setting the scene for a detailed explanation and analysis. You should try to avoid writing from the first person or the second person viewpoint e.g. “I” or “you.” And remember to add a central thesis statement. This is generally the last sentence of the introductory paragraph or placed near the end of it. A good introductory paragraph essentially sets out a type of roadmap that establishes the objectives and concepts of an analytical essay.

The Paragraphs for the Main Body

It is critical in an analytical essay that the paragraphs that comprise the main body are solid and persuasively-written. It is usual to divide an essay’s body into specific topics or sub-topics, with each one focusing on a specific element of your argument or analysis. In this section, you should demonstrate how effectively you can reason a particular point and use the evidence available to you to optimum effect to support any claims or assertions you make. The following shows how each body paragraph should be developed or constructed:    

  • Start by writing a topic sentence i.e. the paragraph’s main sentence: An analytical essay can be based on any topic or subject since this writing style is not limited to any particular field.
  • A detailed analysis of some part of the chosen topic.
  • Strong evidence or proof from a specific text in support of the central thesis statement and follow-on analysis.

Topic sentences give readers a clear idea as to what will be covered in the remainder of any given paragraph. After this, the writer should present supporting evidence to back up the main argument or point of that paragraph. Additionally, it needs to be borne in mind that each claim or point should connect to the central thesis statement.

The Conclusion Paragraph  

As a way of bringing your analytical essay to a smooth conclusion, you should reassess and recap on the most important information from the previous parts with a view to reaching a well-considered opinion. All key points from your analysis need to be included. One of the key aims of a conclusion paragraph is to re-emphasize the clear and logical information or evidence you have already presented and to draw attention to any gaps in your information. Your concluding paragraph should remind readers how you built your arguments and supported them. This generally involves referring to how your various arguments or claims relate to other literature on the subject or topic and how the argument you made can or should change the perspective of the reader.  

Annotated Bibliography

An annotated bibliography is a list of any citations and/or references a writer takes from books and various other places. In most cases, a bibliography is created separately from an essay and usually placed at the end. The list should include every reference used along with a short description or explanation – i.e. an annotation - of the source. These lists are a way of showing readers that the sources cited are high-quality and accurate. This type of bibliography differs from the standard type, which is generally just a list of references without any description or explanation about the source.  

Formats and Styles of an Annotated Bibliography

There are several styles of formatting that can be used in an annotated bibliography, but the more common styles are:  

  • APA (The American Psychological Association) – usually used for subjects related to the social sciences.
  • MLA (The Modern Language Association) – usually used for subjects related to the humanities.
  • CSE (Council of Science Editors) – usually used for science-related subjects.
  • Chicago or Turabian style
  • AP (Associated Press)