The Basic Analytical Paper
What it is and How to Construct One
Typically, an analytical paper presents an examination of an issue or problem or presents an opinion based on fact. The writer analyzes an issue, another piece of writing, an idea or a question by breaking the topic down into parts or areas that can be supported with various facts and that go together to convince the reader of the validity of the writer's opinion. Generally, three support areas are enough, although this will vary. The simplest analytical paper consists of approximately five paragraphs, as follows: I. Introduction, including a thesis statement that identifies both the point to be made and the general areas that support it. II. Details of first support area. III. Details of second support area. IV. Details of third support area. V. Conclusion, often including a summation of the main point or argument. It is essential for an analysis to have a point; that is, it must say something about which people can reasonably be expected to have differing opinions. A topic such as battery acid should not be consumed is not an appropriate one for analysis because, although you may be able to assemble three strong support areas to convince your reader that battery acid should indeed not be consumed, no reasonable reader would maintain that it should be. If, on the other hand, your point is that batteries should be made of non-toxic materials because battery acid enters the water table through landfills, an explanation of the harmful effects of battery acid is entirely justified, since some readers would no doubt maintain that there is not much risk or that such a change would result in a loss of jobs, or some other point of view. Some General Considerations Avoid the use of the second person (the pronoun you) in making your point. Although we do this all the time when speaking, it makes for a sloppy sounding argument in...