Analytical essay writing ideas

Analytical essays are an old favourite for writing assignments and term papers, so it's likely you'll have to write a few during your time as a student. It's not hard to get the hang of it, but it's always possible to do a bit extra and make your essay stand out. Whoever marks your essay will be reading a whole pile of them, possibly all on the same topic, so it really helps if you can make yours unique; if you can make the marker sit up and pay attention you're really helping your chances of a good grade.

Of course so many analytical essays have been written that you'll have a hard time doing something that's never been done before, but doing something that hasn't been done very often should be enough. Let's look at a couple of ideas.

  • Try looking at the topic from a different angle. Even if you've been given a specific topic it's usually possible to do something a bit different with it. Say you've been tasked to analyse abstinence-only sex education. Most people are going to write about the religious justification for it or whether it works, but is there another way to approach it? Don't get ridiculous - exploring if abstinence means teenagers get less exercise might not be a good idea, for example - but what about looking at its possible effect on marriage? People now get married later than they did in the past, but would increased abstinence change that?
  • Explore different sources. Most people do all their research online now, and that works fine; there's plenty of information available on just about any subject. If you're analysing a historical event and you can find a book written at the time, though, that shows you've made an extra effort. It's amazing what can be found in libraries, too. If you're discussing a current political issue try to interview a couple of people with different viewpoints; this will add interest to your discussion. You can usually find someone at any political party office who'll be happy to talk to you.
  • When it comes to actually writing the essay, think about adding graphics. You may not be allowed to do this, but if you are a couple of relevant photographs or charts will add interest and make your essay stand out.

Creating an interesting essay just takes a bit of imagination. Make sure that whatever you do is within the guidelines, but as long as you keep to that you have a lot of freedom. Use it!