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How to Write an Analytical Essay
Writing an analytical essay is a good test of several things. You need to demonstrate the ability to analyze and order information, as well as the actual writing. The broad range of skills involved makes these essays a worrying prospect for many people, so anything that makes the process easier is going to be very welcome. Here is the simplest way to go about it.
First, choose your topic. You might have been assigned a topic, but if not you have a great chance to pick one that you're interested in and know a lot about. Also think about how interesting your topic will be to other people; if it's likely to be boring it might be better to choose something else, because you don't want to bore whoever is marking your essay.
Next, work up a good outline. This will make it much easier to organise your research and write the final essay. Making a detailed outline might seem like doing a lot of the work twice, but in fact it'll make the whole process quicker and easier. Your outline should cover all four sections of your essay - introduction, thesis, body and conclusion.
Do your research. Use multiple sources wherever you can, both to get more information and to check that facts you find in one source really are facts and not just someone's oddball opinion. Referring to several sources also impresses markers and can improve your grade.
Assemble all the information you've found and decide what's relevant to your thesis. Note it all in your outline, and rank your discussion points in order of importance. You should always discuss the most important ones first, because this makes your analysis look strong right from the start.
Decide what your conclusion is (if you haven't already) and check that the discussion points and evidence you've put together support it.
Go back and write the outline of your introduction. Yes, do this last; it includes a brief statement of your conclusion, which you probably don't know when you begin.
Finally, write your essay. This should be the easiest part of the whole process, because most of the work has already been done; all you have to do now is write it up in a presentable way.
You'll still have to do quite a bit of work to produce a good analytical essay, but now you know exactly how to go about it. Follow this guide and your essay will be well structured and supported by good references.