Portrait of a happy female student

So your assignment is writing an analytical essay? And now you’re asking yourself, “What do I do? How do I start? Will I ever be happy again?” The answers are don’t panic, follow these simple guidelines about how to write an analysis paper, and yes (when your essay is done).

There are many styles of writing papers and types of analytical writing, so perfecting a strategy will help you throughout your education.

But first:

If you’re totally unsure of where to begin, consider watch a video on the process of writing this type of essay.


But why are these essays so difficult to write?

Look, analytical essays can be one of the trickiest challenges for even professional writers for two reasons:

First, these essays require you to explore a topic by letting the experts argue about the subject. Arguments should be provided by the people who know the most about your subject — the experts!

Second, you must present these expert arguments without arguing about the subject from your own perspective. In other words, this type of essay is all about objectivity. By being objective, you help the reader understand the topic, which allows them to come up with their own conclusions.

This next tip may sound crazy, but…


What makes an analytical essay great

Actually, the most persuasive essays are written to sound totally objective!

That’s right:

Oddly, by not directly stating your opinion on a topic, you can more easily convince the reader of your own opinion!

One quick and easy tip to seem like a more objective writer:

Avoid first-person pronouns like the plague. If you can banish “I” and “me” from your essay vocabulary, your analysis will instantly be elevated by the expert opinions you present. Even though they forbidden by the rules of writing, the person grading your essay might hate first person pronouns, so don’t use them!


But don’t worry:

We’ll dig further into other super important tips throughout this blog post, so don’t skip ahead, especially if you’re unsure how to write your essay!


How are analytical papers different from other types of essays?

Remember, analytical essays are just one of many types of essays. Even though most types of essays share the same basic rules, it’s still helpful to figure out how each type is unique.

To keep things simple, roughly speaking, there are two types of research papers: argumentative and analytical.

Argumentative research papers try to accomplish exactly what their name suggests — they try to persuade the reader by making an argument about some particular issue.

In contrast, analytical research papers do something a little bit different — they explain a complicated subject, presenting all sides of an issue as objectively as possible (if you skipped ahead, refer back to the last section for more thoughts on the importance of objectivity).

In an argumentative research paper you are the main authority. You compile facts and perhaps some arguments from experts in the field, but at the end of the day, you weigh in on the subject with facts and logic. So the point of an argumentative essay is to argue what you think is true.

Compare this to an analytical paper:

A strong analytical research paper presents the expert opinions specifically and only! In other words, your analysis paper (regardless of the research paper type or styles of writing papers you like to use) does shape the analysis by deciding which expert opinions to include, but you do not try to invalidate one expert opinion or another — that is the job of other experts.


Consider another way:

In an analytical essay, you should never write something like, “Kant was wrong about the basis of human perception.” However, you absolutely should write something like “Schopenhauer believed that Kant was wrong about the basis of human perception.”

And doesn’t that sound much more impressive? In both versions, your essay essentially made the same point, but in the second version, you let famous 19th century German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer tackle the ideas of famous 18th century German philosopher Immanuel Kant. And don’t you think that sounds like a much fairer debate? (After all, you’re not a famous 21st century German philosopher, yet.)


Whether you are writing an intricate discourse analysis on metaphysis or composing an essay on the all-time best baseball teams, an analysis paper, like all types of analytical writing, is all about objectivity, even more than other different types of research papers.

By now you’ve probably realized that both analytical and argumentative reports share a lot of similarities. In fact, most research paper types have a lot in common. And that’s why the number one flaw in most essays is a lack of structure.


The basics: starting your essay structure right

Your analytical essay is only as strong as its structure.

Think about this:

How seriously would you consider a friend who called you in the middle of night with a jumble of thoughts? One moment he is talking about the ending of some movie, and the next minute he is figuring out which movie to see. Then your friend starts filling in the plot of that movie in a random order and explain what he had for dinner. Honestly, you would think that your friend had lost his mind.

By placing your thoughts into a logical and structured order, you can avoid what has happened to your dysfunctional friend (and your analysis will be stronger).

So focus on this:

Every essay, including analytical papers or any other written discourse, has three standard parts:


  • An introduction, which introduces your essay and
  • A body that presents the facts, arguments, and insights of your essay. This section is the majority of an essay by far. (In the case of your analytical research paper, this should be where all the interesting stuff happens.)
  • A conclusion that sums up your essay.

(This format can be used for all styles of writing papers!)

Writers often consider an introduction and conclusion like the slices of bread in a sandwich for two reasons. First, the introduction and conclusion should never be the majority of your essay! (The best sandwiches are not mostly bread.) Second, the introduction and conclusion should resemble each other. (Imagine a sandwich with mismatched slices of bread; this would be another pathetic sandwich.)

In case you missed it:

The introduction and conclusion should be very, very similar. The introduction should state the main purpose of your analysis paper, while the conclusion should remind the reader of the main purpose.

This structure works for essays and all research paper types, so it is best to make a habit of using and developing a writing process for this structure. (On a related note, seek out reliable online writing resources that include writing sample and then bookmark the best ones.)


Top tips for better analysis papers

You’ve made it this far, so either you still don’t know how to write an analysis paper or you have found so many useful tidbits that you cannot stop reading. These last few essay tips are as good as gold.

  1. Write, rewrite, and rewrite some more.
    You’re not Hemmingway. You’re not Shakespeare. Heck, even Hemmingway wasn’t Shakespeare, or vice versa. Look, the point is that your writing will never be perfect on the first try. By writing down your thoughts first and then editing your thoughts repeatedly, you can get pretty darn close to these masters. Remember that the best writers have a strong revision process.
  2. Get feedback early and often.
    Are you afraid your essay is missing something important, but you’re not sure what? Then ask a friend to read your rough draft. Even professional writers rely on their friends and family to make sure that their writing is on the mark. Similarly, read your friends’ writing; your brightest friends’ essays may provide the best analytical samples, and they can even explain them to you.
  3. Never, ever, ever plagiarize!


In an analytical research paper, it is more important than ever to correctly attribute all ideas to their originators, but it is even more important to always cite quotes correctly.

  1. Be concise.
    Many authors live by this rule. MacArthur Foundation “genius” award-winning writer Colson Whitehead lists “Never use three words when one will do” as Rule 4 in his brilliant How to Write. Similarly, sci-fi writer Kurt Vonnegut’s first rule of writing is often paraphrased as, “Don’t waste the reader’s time.” (And for very obvious reasons, there is no need to elaborate on this point, which is a great rule for all written discourse.)

Now put these tips to work in your essay!

If you get stuck of or if you’re in over your head on your assignment, don’t forget the professional writing services offered by Custom Writing. You can get research and writing help from a top-notch team of writing experts (with PhDs, MBAs, and other advanced degrees) that offer first-class assistance on every subject imaginable.

Comments (29)

  • Lucky Posted:

    thanks a lot ! it was unambiguous and compact

    • Julia Reed Posted:

      Glad you liked it, Lucky!

  • sharon Posted:

    thanks, very helpful.

    • Julia Reed Posted:

      Thanks for your feedback, Sharon!

  • Murty Posted:

    thanx really did help + nice tips

    • Julia Reed Posted:

      Murty, I’m happy you found it useful!

  • Jay lover Posted:

    I had an analytical essay due this helped a heap so thank-you so much!!!!! 😀 I lost my whole school assignment when my computer crashed so i had to find a website to help and there was this one so thankyo you saved my Butt!!!!!

    • Julia Reed Posted:

      Thanks a lot, Jay! This is the kind of feedback we’re looking for: the knowledge of the fact that our articles are helping people is already rewarding! 🙂 Good luck with your other papers and we hope that your computer will never crash again:)

  • Caroline White Posted:

    Thanks for this great post. I needed help for my essay and this post was a salvation for me. Thanks again.

    • Julia Reed Posted:

      Glad our post helped you, Caroline! And thanks for the feedback.

  • Wendi Posted:

    Hello! Just wanna thank you for for this amazing post! I followed the tips from this post and wrote a good analytical essay. Thanks u!

    • Julia Reed Posted:

      Thanks Wendi! It’s really nice to hear about your success! Keep going!

  • Hafa Posted:

    The guidelines seem useful. I’ll try to write my analytical essay. If I have any problems, I will use your custom writing service)

  • Brittany Posted:

    Thank you very much. I learned so much from this.

    • Jo mama Posted:

      no it dosn’t jo mama says so

      • Julia Reed Posted:

        Hi Jo Mama, we are sorry to hear that. We highly appreciate your feedback and we would be really grateful if you could say what exactly you were looking for but did not find in this post. We could write a new post specially for you.

    • Julia Reed Posted:

      Great to hear that our articles are making a difference:)

  • Jo mama Posted:

    This did not help one bit.

    • Julia Reed Posted:

      Thank you for leaving your comments, Jo Mama. If this post doesn’t help, you may want to check out our free essay samples or other posts on this blog (you can search site using the window on the menu bar). Please, let us know if we can help you in any way.

  • Sirajuddin Posted:

    Brief but well explained tips for writting an essay.Thanks

  • Chasteen Posted:

    These are very good tips, but I needed something more on the Grammer side of the essay. For example, Can it be in first person? Can you use I?

    • Julia Reed Posted:

      You should better avoid using the first person and the pronoun “I”. Try to be as objective as you can in analytical writing.

  • esoryam patney Posted:

    quite a wonderdul jov done it has been so helpful in ma studies

  • omar Posted:

    excellent article

  • stevejonson Posted:

    thanks very excellent article..

  • royyother Posted:

    Thank you for this article. Good Stuff! I really enjoyed reading. I will be visiting often and telling my friends about this Hope to read more good articles.It appears never dazzled… So excellent … It’s a treasure for me to reading your blog..

    • Julia Reed Posted:

      Thanks for such a warm feedback! Keep an eye on our blog to read more useful stuff 🙂

  • Florence Posted:

    I guess finding useful, reliable inaormftion on the internet isn’t hopeless after all.

    • Julia Reed Posted:

      We are happy to hear that, Florence!

      Hope you come back again.