How to Write an Analysis Paper
Analysis is one of the major approaches to the exploring of anything. Another one, and it’s absolutely contrasting, is synthesis. So, analysis is a method that means separating a notion which needs to be explored into many smaller parts and carefully studying each of them so that they could be finally gathered together and give a comprehensive vision of a subject.
Probably every student sooner or later gets a task to write an analysis paper. Usually, its form is essay. The questions this essay should reply are like “Why” and “How”. Not “what”, as for narrative essay, for instance. It means that analytical essay must reveal some issue and explain why and how it happened, what the reasons and the consequences are.
Mostly the topics for the analysis paper are related to some pieces of art like movies and books: a student has to analyze the author’s core ideas, characters, the plot twists. But it is not a rule: sometimes a job is to explore some social processes, or events, or even notion. The only recommendation is to choose a quite narrow topic so that you could really look at it like through a microscope: see all the details, and how they are connected. Otherwise, it will be complicated to focus and to reveal the topic in-depth.
What to start with: structure and outline
Nothing new: a structure for an analytical paper is the same as for any other. It is common due to its simplicity and logic: the first part is introduction, the second – body, and the third – conclusion. But the main question is still: what to fill them with?
An outline is a splendid assistant in performing this task. First decide, what aspect or particular side of a book, movie or notion you are going to consider. For instance, if you are about to write about “Captain Fantastic” movie, it would be reasonable to analyze such topics within the movie as “The struggle between individuality and system”, “The transformation of family relations”, “The way of the main character” etc. The idea is to focus on one aspect and to expand it to an essay.
After you have defined a topic, it’s time to move to the outline. Divide it into 3 main parts, and fill each one with your notes and quotations according to the selected line. Generally, the outline should include:
* Introduction, including: a hook, or, in other words, a sentence that draws attention. Something unusual, striking, that urges the readers to proceed; expression of the main thesis you are going to defend or to expose; transition to the next paragraph belonging to the body. And it’s not a simple task – to create logical and natural transitions, helping to keep the reader’s attention and interest.
* Body. Divide it into several paragraphs or subsections, depending on the whole volume of the text. Each should start with some thesis or core thought, or leading question. Then you have to find strong evidence for your idea: quotations from a book or movie, or some specialists who are savvy in your subject, details and facts. If you are analyzing some transformation of a social group, each paragraph can disclose the process from the point of view of different characters. If the topic is related to some phenomenon, try to look at it from various angles. And again, don’t forget about qualitative, logical transitions.
* Conclusion, as usual, is totally dedicated to the summing up: repeat the core idea in other words, give several the strongest arguments, and the best masterstroke will to give hints of how to develop this topic further, or how to explore it deeper owing to other related subjects.
Fine finish is as important as fine start
You created an accurate outline and wrote the essay. But it is only half of job, or maybe two-thirds. Here are the compulsory things to be done after finishing writing:
* Proofread. First silently, then aloud: while reading mutely you will notice mistakes and typos, and while reading aloud you will estimate the rhythm, logic, beauty of speech.
* Check the quotations. If you use them, double-check if they are cited correctly.
* Give it to any person you trust. Sometimes things that seem absolutely clear to you (since they are your ideas and are obvious for you) need additional explanation for other people. The reasons are different world vision, education, lifestyle and so on. For example, if you use a term “unschooling” (returning to the Captain Fantastic), it will be evident for those who are in the know, and odd for others.
* Check the title page (if it was required), and the formatting. When it goes on the academic writing, the content and the form are equally significant.
What if you are in haste, and feel time pressure? What if you desperately lack inspiration? What if the topic offered to you is absolutely boring and utterly far from the field of your interests? And what if the only thing you can think about is ”Anybody, write my essay now, please!”?
First advice is: don’t panic. Everyone stumbles upon such issue at least once during the studying. Maybe you just need to talk about another topic with your teacher or give yourself more rest, or at least appeal to services that can consult you or even write the paper for you. It is not a good constant solution but a great assistance in the hard times.
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