Advice for High School Students on How to Write the Analysis Essay

Use your analysis to drive the content of your essay.
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In high school, teachers expect their students to write in more sophisticated styles to show higher order thinking skills. A critical thinking skill they especially emphasize is analysis. Writing a high school analysis essay involves including correct essay elements and supporting your analysis with evidence. For a strong analysis essay, utilize the steps in the writing process.

1 Analysis

Your goal with analysis is to take a topic apart and explain how it works. You do this by separating the topic into small parts and arranging them according to their relationship. You show your critical thinking skills by identifying the components and their relationship to each other. One of the most common analyses high school teachers ask for is a literary analysis. For this essay, you break the writing down according to literary elements like figurative language or structure. You then explain the relationship between the form of the work and its content; for instance, you explain how a metaphor represents the author's theme.

2 Essay Elements

Regardless of the class for which you write the analysis essay, you must include certain essay elements. The three main parts of the essay are the introduction, body and conclusion. Your introduction includes your thesis statement, or one sentence asserting your analysis of the topic. Also include an attention-grabber at the beginning of the introduction as well as necessary background information. You support your analysis of the topic in the body of the essay, with one point per paragraph and a minimum of three points total. In the conclusion you restate your thesis in a different way and conclude with final thoughts, usually an idea that sheds new light on your analysis.

3 Evidence

Support your analysis with evidence, whether textual, logical, statistical or anecdotal. For a scientific or sociological analysis, include statistics to help support your idea. Likewise, anecdotal evidence, or telling a pointed story, is appropriate for a psychological or historical analysis. Support a literary analysis by summarizing, paraphrasing or even using direct quotations from the text. Any type of analysis essay, though, benefits from logical support. Try using the logical sequence syllogism in which you put forth unarguable premises and the conclusions drawn from them. Aristotle offers the most famous example: "All men are mortal. Socrates is a man. Therefore, Socrates is mortal."

4 Writing Process

You may be tempted to type up your analysis and hit print. However, notable studies conducted by researchers and educators have identified six steps to proficient writing. The first consists of pre-writing, such as brainstorming and organizing your ideas. Next comes the initial drafting. If you stop here, you are only a third of the way through the process. Try sharing your work first to get feedback; at the very least, let the essay sit for a day or two so you come back to it with fresh eyes. After getting feedback, revise the essay for content and errors. Finally, hit print and enjoy having published a finished, crafted piece of writing.

Nadia Archuleta has a B.A. in English writing. She spent five years working abroad and has traveled extensively. She has worked as an English as a Foreign/Second Language teacher for 12 years.