Help for Your Analytical Research Paper

A big requirement in some college classes, and definitely in postgraduate classes, is the analytical research paper.  When first assigned, some students think it is similar to the papers they did in high school; but it’s not.

What it is

The analytical paper requires you to thoroughly explore a topic to answer a question posed by the teacher. Though you are free to choose your answer, you must support it with evidence found from your readings.

Because it is more difficult than a book report or a reaction essay, view the following tips to help you with your paper.

1. Study the question well

A big error some students make is to quickly skim through the question and begin their paper.  Unfortunately, if you made a mistake understanding it, your paper will be incorrect.

Study the keywords in the question given which will tell you what you need to do.  They will also inform you of your paper’s boundaries.

2. Make an outline

Outlining today is a lost art.  Many students prefer to simply compose everything while typing.  However, if you are NOT good at writing, you may find that your paper is headed in the wrong direction.

A brief outline will include the main elements and serve as a guide as you write.  The outline doesn’t have to be perfect.  You can make adjustments as you read more.  So do try to make an outline as it really helps.

3. Find credible sources

Since an analytical paper is not an opinion paper, the arguments and counterarguments you present must be supported by credible sources (journals, published books, and newspaper articles). These should be properly cited.

4. Capture your reader’s attention

How you begin often sets the tone for your paper. Find a witty or inspiring quote, an exciting fact, or a puzzling question to excite your reader in the introduction.

5. Present the other side

A strong analysis always requires presenting the counterarguments to your position.  Without them, your essay becomes one-sided and weak as it may seem that your research was lacking or you are afraid of the strengths of the counterarguments.

The other side, however, should not take up the same amount of space as your support.  Defend your point and bring up the opposition, but refute them with logic and facts.  That is how you can prove your position (thesis statement) is correct.

6. Conclude strongly

The conclusion sums up what occurs in the body, strengthening your answer to the problem.  Do not repeat everything you said earlier (as the reader will get bored) and don’t introduce anything new (as the reader will get confused).

Similar to how the paper began, it helps if you have a powerful statement to end your paper. This further cements your position and helps the reader remember your point.


As a possible assignment in many of your classes in college or postgraduate studies, the analytical research paper is something that must be mastered.  Review again the pointers above to ensure an easier time when writing your paper.

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