An analysis essay is a document that presents a critical assessment of a text, concept, behavior, or other entity in a thorough and academic way. As its name suggests, an analysis essay is intended to analyze using a variety of critical thinking skills and approaches. Unlike many other types of assignments that include the views of the author, and particularly unlike persuasive essays, which attempt to convince the reader of the merits of a particular issue or idea, analysis essays examine a topic in an almost scientific way, seeking to uncover the way the object of analysis operates and acts.
Indeed, analysis essays are a favorite assignment of many teachers because they require critical assessment, sharp attention to detail, and keen insight. All three of these qualities must figure prominently in an effective analysis article.
First, an analysis essay must put forth a thesis statement somewhere in the first 1/4 of the text. A thesis is a sentence or two that states WHAT a report is about—the point or argument—and HOW that point or argument is going to be explained and defended. In an analysis paper, the WHAT of the article is typically the object of analysis, and the HOW is the way in which the writer is going to analyze that object. For instance, an analysis essay on campaign advertisements during an election might look at television commercials, political mailings, and newspaper advertisements to make a point about the ways the advertisements manipulate language to bend the truth about candidates. In this analysis essay, the thesis would be as follows: "In the recent election, campaign advertisements of both political parties manipulated language to bend the truth and suggest damaging claims about opposition candidates. An examination of television commercials, political mailings, and newspaper advertisements in the months leading to the election reveals increasingly incendiary accusations directed at both candidates presented through the effective "spin" of political jargon."
In this essay, the writer would critically examine the language used in various types of campaign advertising to make her claim that the advertisements used specific wording to manipulate the truth. This essay might compare advertisement claims to the sources from which they were drawn in order to determine the accuracy of the statements and whether they were taken out of context. For each example the author used, she would examine each aspect of the campaign wording and explain how it was manipulating reality. Through this careful, detailed analysis, she would be able to defend her ultimate point, which is that "in the recent election, campaign advertisements of both political parties manipulated language to bend the truth and suggest damaging claims about opposition candidates."
Analysis essays can be understood as examinations of different cultural and artistic phenomena. The object of analysis is being placed under a microscope, and the job of the writer is to report what her or she sees. The conclusion of an analysis report should point to the findings of the analysis, and suggest what those findings indicate about the topic being studied.
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