Academic paper study guidelines: how to write an analysis essay
Writing an analysis essay may seem like chore, especially for new college students that are unused to university level work. However, by following a few simple steps, it needn’t be difficult at all. The most important thing is to simply take it one step at a time.
- Choose a basic topic
- Do preliminary research
- Write a thesis statement
- Research the thesis statement in depth
- Create an outline
- Write a rough draft
- Proofread and edit
Before trying to come up with a thesis statement, decide on a general topic that will be good for analysis. This could be a work of literature, a historical event, or anything else related to one’s field.
It may seem strange to research before choosing a thesis but it will save time in the long run. Preliminary research, in this sense, means reading background material on the topic. Skim encyclopedia entries on the topic, read up on it online, and so forth. Make a list of questions you have about the topic as they come to you.
Next, consider the questions you came up with and decide which are the most interesting to try and answer. Once you’ve chosen one, decide your position on the answer, and write it out. This “answer” to the question is your thesis statement. Ensure that it’s defensible—that is, that you can come up with material from the source of your topic or through research that will support your argument. It should be debatable, also—the answer shouldn’t “go without saying.”
Now that you have a thesis statement, get back to researching, this time with a tighter focus in mind. Find sources that back up your thesis as well as those that refute it. Also, find sources for background information you need to flesh out your analysis. Take notes throughout, and be sure to note which source each piece of information comes from.
Using the notes you’ve taken, write an outline of the essay. Include an introduction, body paragraphs, and a concluding paragraph. Every body paragraph should have a different main idea which supports your thesis.
Using your outline, write a rough draft. Start with the body of the essay first, as the introduction and conclusion will mainly be summaries of the body in combination with your thesis restated.
Once the rough draft is done, proofread and edit the paper and turn in your final draft.