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Analytical paper: What is it and how to write it

Jul 10, 2013 - Posted to  Writing in General
There are many different types of papers which will be assigned to you throughout your academic journey. Each assignment will be made for a specific reason. The professor assigns to his students things that will demonstrate their skills and proficiency and command of the material that he, or she, has presented throughout the course. Adhering to the guidelines of the specific task that has been assigned is an important component to the assignment itself. It shows not only that you understand the material that was presented, but also that you can follow directions as assigned by the teacher.
If you are assigned an analytical paper for a course, there is a specific way to write it. An analytical paper is a way for the professor to see that you not only know how to present the material in an objective way, but that you are able to present it an informal and professional way.

What is an analytical paper?

An analytical paper is a paper is a formal paper that you may be asked to write. It is a paper that demands that you take a subject and that you break it apart into sections, analyzing each section, to come to an overall conclusion. An analytical paper is most often an objective one, but if you are asked to state your opinion, it can also be a subjective one. The cornerstone of an analytical paper is to form a thesis statement, use the body of the paper to prove your analytical analysis of the subject, and then use the conclusion to tie the argument and assessment together into a cohesive whole. It is a way of structuring a paper with a thesis statement, proof and conclusion.

What is the structure of an analytical paper?

Every paper that you will be assigned in college, or in an academic setting, will consist of a specific construct. For an analytical paper, you will need to have three separate parts, each clearly defined, and constructed. The three parts that must be present in an analytical paper are:
  • Introduction
  • Body
  • Conclusion
The format of an analytical paper is very similar to other papers that you will be assigned, but the purpose is more specific and different. An analytical paper is about taking any subject, dissecting it, and breaking it down into separate segments to analyze.

The introduction

The introduction is one of the most important component to any analytical paper. It is the section of the paper where you will devise and state the thesis statement. The thesis statement is the statement that will set the guidelines for the entirety of the paper. It signals the reader not only what the paper is about, but what you will be presenting, as well as the argument you will be forming. If you don't make the thesis statement direct, the validity of the paper, as well as the reason for writing it, will be unclear.
The introduction is the part of the paper where you have to engage the reader to make them want to read more. When forming the introduction you should:
  • State the intention of the paper with the thesis statement
  • Keep it engaging and entertaining
  • Convince the reader that it is important enough to read
  • Be concise about what the paper is about
  • Don't give too much factual information, that will be contained within the body of the paper
  • Keep it short and clear. and concise


The body of the paper is where you will be breaking down the information to present to the reader. It is the part of the paper where you will present your proof, or the explanation of your thesis statement. In an analytical paper it is the section of the paper where you will dissect the whole of your subject and break it down into sections for analyzation. You should first present your point, lend credence to it with proof, and then conclude the individual piece. The body of the paper will mostly contain at least 2-3 points in support of your thesis statement.


The conclusion is the part of the paper where you will reiterate the different points presented throughout the paper and then tie it together cohesively into one valid point. The best way to do so is to restate the thesis statement, then to go through the main points, tying them into one another, and then conclude with the holistic nature of your argument. The conclusion is merely a summary of the things that you presented in the body of your paper, along with the restatement of the thesis. The conclusion is not a place to add more evidence, proof, or to bring in additional points not presented in the body.
The most important part of an analytical paper is to be poignant. An analytical paper is really an analysis of any subject that you have chosen. It is important when choosing your thesis statement therefore to correctly outline, and be clear about what it is you are trying to convey to the reader. As much as the introduction will set the outline and the tone of the paper, the conclusion is the part that will tie it all together. They work symbiotically to form a paper that is sound and valid.

In conclusion

An analytical paper is a paper where you will take a subject, break it down into segments to analyze according to the thesis statement you have chosen, and then will tie in the points you have presented in the conclusion of your paper. The cornerstone of your analytical paper will be both the thesis statement and the conclusion. Although the entire paper is important, forming your argument, and proving your thesis statement will determine how valid your paper is overall. In the end, you are trying to convince the reader that you understand and have a command of the subject you have chosen. Make sure by proofreading your paper once written, that you have done so effectively.
By Martha Buckly. Martha is a good writer with relevant practice. She prefers sharing her skills and knowledge and helping students overcome academic writing difficulties.
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