How to Write an Analysis

Writing guide
Posted on July 5, 2022

Writing an analysis means a detailed consideration of a particular aspect of a document or text. The technique of asking yourself why this aspect works the way it works will help you write a good analysis. The first step is to collect information about this aspect that you will analyze. After laying out the main arguments, you will need to find evidence for them that will confirm them in the eyes of you and your readers. Next, you will combine all the points of your essay together and build a coherent text.

Search for Information

First, read your assignment carefully. This is important to do before you have formed an idea of what you will write next. But if you don’t have one, then it’s better to ask a couple of extra questions to understand what is expected of you. Topics you should ask about:

  • Should the analysis of your text answer a specific question, or should you focus all the information on the analysis of a particular aspect
  • How long should your analysis be, and what formatting rules do you need to apply to it?
  • Are there any specific rules for quoting your text required from your teacher?
  • What are the citation criteria of your teacher? Does he pay attention to the organization of the text, originality, or correct spelling and grammar)?

Most analysis assignments require focusing on a single document. Among the written documents that you may be asked to parse:

  • Book;
  • Poem;
  • Letter;
  • Article and more.

Authors have the freedom to choose a topic if they were not given a specific one. There are also tasks that focus on auditory and visual sources:

  • Movies;
  • Paintings;
  • Installations and more.

You need to get a clear outline of what you will analyze, and for this, you need to collect basic information about the aspect:

  • Document’s name;
  • The name of the person who created the selected document (depending on what type of document you have, you will announce the name of the director or author, performer, or photographer);
  • Indicate the type of document itself and its form (it can be “photo, digital”);
  • Date and place of creation of this document;
  • The history of the document and its context.

Read the resource of information several times and take notes on it. After all the basic information is collected, you can study the document in detail. If the purpose of your document is to answer a specific question or describe a specific aspect, then keep that in mind as you write down your thoughts or impressions of what you read. If the subject of your analysis is a commercial, then you can pay attention to the following points:

  • Who is the target audience for this advertisement;
  • What evidence did the advertiser use to convince his audience of his point of view;
  • What is the subject of advertising;
  • How images are shown in the video, which makes it attractive to watch;
  • How does the text on the video (if any) fit with the picture you see and does it reinforce the message of the ad?

To inspire you to write your analysis essay and find the most interesting topic, then look at the work of other writers and check them through:

10 Analysis Essay Topics on the Archeological Record
20 Analysis Essay Topics: What to Include in a Paper about Native American Literature
Literary Analysis: “African American Literature” – 20 Topics to Rely on

Highlight the most interesting questions that you would like answered during your analysis. The analysis document should have a definite clear direction, answering specific questions through which your readers understand the essence of the analysis, and not look at the generalized content. If you do not have a clear task, then you choose the aspect yourself. For example, if you’re writing about a commercial, then you might focus on “How does the visual affect a person’s desire to buy a product?”.

Group Information

Make a list of the main arguments after you have narrowed down the focus of your analysis to decide how you plan to answer the questions. Briefly written out arguments will form the main part of your analysis.

In any description of aspects, supplement them with evidence and examples that will confirm the arguments of your aspect. It will not be enough for you to simply provide your arguments, because you will not be able to simply convince your readers. This information should be drawn from the same document that you are parsing, but you can also use contextual information to provide additional support for the argument. It can be any external evidence.

Pro tip

When analyzing a text, you definitely need to correctly identify all the quotes that you use in your text. Enclose all direct quotes in quotation marks and add information about their location in the text (for example, page number). Check out the citation style guide, which is the standard for the aspect you’re analyzing.

Structure of the Analysis

Start writing your text with a short thesis sentence that will fit the topic. Most authors begin with a short and concise summary of the main points that readers will see in the course of the subsequent analysis. The thesis will help you stay focused on the main theme of your analysis while you plan further and sketch out the rest of your work.

In addition to the general guidelines and rules, you can see what experts advise when writing an analysis essay:

Character Analysis: How to Evaluate Specific Traits of a Literary Character?
Creating an Analysis Essay on Archeological Record
How to Write a Literary Analysis on Native American Literature

Please note that your instructor may have their own guidelines for what information you should include in your abstract. It often happens that the authors do not know exactly how to issue a thesis – this is an occasion to ask questions.

analysis schema

You need a schema in order to do the analysis properly. This means that you need to create a short outline based on your thesis and arguments. In your paper plan, arguments and proofs of them must be included.

Start writing an introductory paragraph that will contain basic background information about the document being analyzed, as well as a thesis and a thematic proposal. This is not the place where you will summarize the whole document in detail, but you want your readers to have enough information to get a general idea of the topic.

Note! Group all the main arguments you plan to make in one or two sentences and don’t forget to include the name of the person whose paper you are reviewing.

To expand on your main arguments, you will use the space of the body of your text. Regarding the plan, you need to concretize and detail your main arguments. Depending on how difficult the task was for your analysis, you will determine the size of the main part and the number of paragraphs in it. But each of the paragraphs should contain more than two sentences, which expand and support the thematic sentence that should be at the beginning in order to summarize the essence of this part of the text. Also, add specific illustrative examples.

There should be smooth transitions between each paragraph and argument, which you will make using the phrases “Additionally”, “In addition”, “For example”, “Similarly”, “Unlike …” and the like. You will choose the best way to organize your arguments based on your specific topic and the points you are trying to get across.
Emily Richardson

In the end, it’s time to write the output that displays the summary of your analysis. Here you should summarize all the ideas and main arguments that you put forward throughout the analysis. But don’t just copy your thesis, but write 1-2 sentences where you discuss the rest of the work that can be done using your analysis. Or try to find a way to tie the beginning of your essay to the conclusion.

Final Finishing Your Analysis

There is no room for personal opinion in analysis because it is a work that is based on clear arguments with evidence. Don’t give free rein to your judgmental opinion or personal reaction to a document.

For example, if you’re talking about the same commercial, don’t describe it as “interesting” or “boring.” Instead, add information about what the author of the commercial wanted to say, what was his/her main idea.

Read your text several times and make sure that it really makes sense and that it has logic. Make sure there are smooth transitions between your paragraphs and that the order of your ideas will be clear to readers.

Look over the text for a moment of weakness where you could add clarification and detail. It’s really easy to miss details when writing your analysis, which will make your arguments clearer and more understandable. Read through your draft and find those places where information is lacking. Such a point might be a missed additional example to support one of your main arguments.

Remove all unnecessary elements from your essay. Before doing this, check it for the presence of extraneous or tangential details that do not help your essay keep a firm direction in your analysis. If you have sentences or passages in the text that have little or nothing to do with the topic of the aspect of the essay, then remove them immediately.

It can be difficult for you to decide and remove from the text what you thought about for a long time or what you had a hard time finding. But you must think that by getting rid of the excess, your analysis will become stronger and clearer.

Ultimately subtract everything to find and correct any errors. When you notice organizational problems, review your analysis carefully. Pay attention to problems with spelling, punctuation, and grammar before the reviewer does. At the same time, check the design of the quotes.

Note! It is a good idea to give your essay to others, such as colleagues, relatives or writing service, for review. They may notice those errors that did not catch your eye. It will be more efficient to read the work aloud since when reading in mind, our brain tends to automatically correct all typos and other spelling or grammatical minor errors.

How to Write a Critical Analysis

When you start writing a critical analysis, there are two equally important components to keep in mind and follow:

  • The process of reading is the careful proofreading of a document, viewing it, or otherwise studying it.
  • The process of writing is an organized activity.

analysis components

To write a good critical analysis, you need to familiarize yourself with the tips that will make the writing process effective:

  1. Proofread all information as carefully as possible, as you will need to show your readers the point of view of the author of the original document and what techniques he/she used. In order to successfully do this, you need to make sure that you really understand the essence.
  2. Decide on the thesis statement that you indicate at the beginning of the essay. It should consist of a statement about the point of view of the author of the original document and the style of his/her writing. You are giving a point of view that can be supported by evidence from sources. Your main goal, which you must remember, is the analysis of someone else’s work, and the thesis is the basis around which you build the entire text of your essay.
  3. Your introductory paragraph should be one that will grab your reader’s attention right away. Therefore, you should be especially careful at this stage. Add a hook to the introductory paragraph, which can be in the form of a rhetorical question or an interesting intriguing statement. A description of the material that you are analyzing should also be presented here. This may be the name of the author and the title of his/her work, as well as additional basic information. The introduction ends with a thesis statement that serves as a guide for your essay.
  4. Organize the body of your essay carefully. This part after the introduction should be divided into paragraphs that cover a certain point of the whole topic. But at the same time, they should all serve the same purpose – supporting your thesis. The purpose can also be to disseminate background information with a deepening in detail and opposing points of view. You adjust the number of main paragraphs depending on the complexity of your topic.
  5. Add a topic sentence to each main paragraph that they will begin with. This is a summary of the paragraph that follows, and with the help of it, you connect them with the main thesis.
  6. Add as many trustworthy facts as you can. Your main body should be a mixture of analysis and good content. You won’t be able to convince your readers of something unless you have hard evidence. Take textual evidence from the original document and add it to the highlights of your work. You can use footnotes if necessary.
  7. Summarize your analysis in the final paragraph. This is where you show your readers whether you are aiming for a high score or you want to give your audience a pleasant reading experience. Summarize your arguments and don’t try to supplement them with new evidence. This is the final part, so you just remind readers of the most important points and add phrases to think about.
  8. After writing a draft, do a few checks. But first, you should postpone work for a few hours, or if the schedule allows, then for a couple of days. So you refresh your look and come back with new inspiration. Challenge yourself with a variety of questions: Was enough evidence presented to back up your claims? Is your personal opinion missing from the analysis? Are the sentences simply written and are the grammar and spelling correct?
  9. Design the final version of your work based on introspection and text editing in the last step.

After completing all of these recommendations, you can consider that your critical analysis is ready to be sent for review. Feel free to show your work to colleagues, family, or friends for a fresh look.

How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis

Rhetorical analysis is a set of effective speech and writing that teaches you to evaluate texts, speeches, and arguments in terms of persuading an audience. Next, you will be introduced to some of the key concepts that are present in this area. Explaining the effect that an author has on his/her audience through the essay or any other work is the goal of rhetorical analysis. Also, with its help, you can evaluate how successful this effect is and what tricks and appeals were used to achieve this goal.

Since rhetoric itself is the science of how authors can influence their audience with words, rhetorical analysis is where they do popular science work to create the desired effect – it can be entertainment, information, appreciation, or persuasion. They divide the analysis into parts, but all of them together should be an effective tool to achieve the goal. Of the recommended arguments, these are visual (videos, pictures, cartoons) or oral (speeches).

In your analysis essay, the appeal is the main aspect by which the author will convince his/her audience. In rhetoric, the classical Aristotelian ones are usually present:

  • Logos or in other words logical appeal is expressed in the use of arguments for persuasion. In academic writing, this is usually the dominant approach, where you build your arguments on reasoning and evidence.
  • Ethos is also explained as an ethical call, which implies that the author will show himself/herself as an authority on the subject of discussion. From life examples: if the author writes about a technical subject, then he/she can show himself/herself to the audience as an expert with a certain qualification; if the analysis of the essay is written about creativity, then the author can describe his/her paintings.
  • Pathos is also known as a pathos appeal, and it should evoke emotions in the audience. In analysis, it can be a hook or a powerful statement to evoke some kind of emotional response from the audience.

These three elements are considered an integral part of rhetorical analysis, and the author achieves the most effective result when he/she combines all three.

Text and Context

A rhetorical analysis can be done not only for some piece of literary work but for any text fragment that you undertook to analyze. For example, you can take the subject of analysis and someone’s speech and advertising, and a satirical image. In such a case, you will focus not only on the language moment but also on the visual or sound moment.

The context of the analysis is everything that surrounds your text: the author and character of the text, the audience of the author, and the place and time of the creation of the original document. Your established view of the context can help you create a rhetorical analysis. The rhetorical analysis differs from the standard argumentative essay in that it is not only about taking a position on arguments but about how they were constructed.


Comparative to any other analysis, rhetorical analysis has no difference and begins with writing an introduction, which states which document will be discussed. You provide additional short background information about it and a thesis statement.


In the body, you do your analysis. In the main part, you deal specifically with the text. Usually, this part is divided into three, but it all depends on the complexity of the topic. Each of them is devoted to a separate element of rhetorical analysis and each of them contributes to the argumentation of the thesis that you wrote at the beginning.

You end the rhetorical analysis with a final thought on the main argument and show how you have developed it throughout the analysis. You can also use it to try to connect all the main text and analysis with more global issues.

The conclusion of rhetorical analysis concludes the essay by restating the main argument and showing how it has been developed in the course of your analysis. He may also try to relate the text and your analysis to broader issues.

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