Improve Your Writing: Analytical Essay Outline

Improve Your Writing: Analytical Essay Outline
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Many students face the same problem: They stare at their screen for hours, trying to understand how they should start writing an analytical essay. The most difficult question is, should you write an introduction first or get right to the main part? The truth is, both options may be more difficult than you think.

Fortunately, you can simplify such a task significantly by preparing an outline — a blueprint for the future essay that will help you create a proper structure and stick with it while writing.

If you got stuck, don’t worry. College Writers are here to help you write an outline that will make it easier for you to write the final draft.

Analytical Essay: What Is It?

First, you should figure out what an analytical essay is. Perhaps, you’ve heard that analytical essays are aimed to analyze a certain text. Is such a definition helpful? Perhaps, it would be easier to understand your task if you first define what an analytical essay isn’t. After that, you’ll clearly understand what you should write.

An analytical essay isn’t a summary. If your essay retells and summarizes some book or article, it’s not a real analytical essay — it’s just a summary. To understand whether you provide analysis or a summary, look how you support your arguments throughout the entire essay. You shouldn’t just describe what happened. Instead, you should describe any events in relation to the main point of your paper.

Analytical essays are more focused than summaries. For example, if you need to analyze a book, your essay may focus on how this book was written. This would be more important for you than the actual events described in this book. You may write about metaphors that add more meaning to the book and shed light on the circumstances the author was dealing with. You should use details to create a more general picture.

How to Create Your Analytical Essay Outline

There are many approaches to organizing the structure of an analytical essay. However, no matter what approach you choose, your essay should always have three crucial sections:

  • Introduction
  • Body
  • Conclusion

An introduction includes a hook, a thesis statement, and a quick explanation of how you are going to prove your thesis. A body may include several paragraphs, where every paragraph is focused on a certain claim and provides evidence that supports this claim.

Now let’s consider all the sections of the essay in more detail.

Introduction of Your Essay Outline

The main purpose of your introduction is to make your reader want to read more. Your audience should be interested in what you’re going to say. To grab the attention, you should start with the hook.

1. The hook is the first part of the introduction. It should be unusual or very interesting. For example, you can ask your audience a rhetorical question, or provide striking statistics. You can also begin your introduction by making a controversial statement. The main thing is not to be too controversial and to make your hook related to the rest of your content.

2. Now that you have a hook, it’s time to present your thesis statement. When your audience is hooked and interested, you can get to the point. Present your opinion in a clear, logical, and concise way.

3. You should also support your thesis. However, there’s no need to provide arguments and evidence in the introduction. Instead, explain how you’re going to prove your thesis further. The whole essay should be directly related to your thesis statement.

Body of Your Essay Outline

The body is the main part of your paper where you can get creative and provide all the important information. You can also try various variants of the structure for the body section. However, we suggest that you start every paragraph with a topic sentence, and then provide your claims supported by evidence.

Depending on the required length of your essay, you may have three or more paragraphs in the body. For example, the traditional 5-paragraph essay should include three paragraphs of the body section, with a claim and supportive evidence in each paragraph. However, analytical essays offer you a certain freedom. For instance, you can make one claim and support it with several pieces of evidence, or vice versa.

1. Write a strong topic sentence. Every topic sentence in the outline of your analytical essay should explain to your readers, what the paragraph is about.

2. Every claim presented in the paragraph should be focused on a certain aspect of the issue described in the topic sentence.

3. Support your claims with evidence from the text. You can paraphrase the book or use direct quotes. The main thing is not to make claims without backing them up.

4. Keep your evidence related to the topic sentence. Your audience should clearly understand why you decided to provide this evidence. Your essay should be logical, and this is also a reason why you should use transitions between your paragraphs and sentences focused on different aspects of your topic. Transitions make your essay easy to read and help your readers understand how exactly different thoughts are connected to each other.


When the main section of your essay is ready, it’s time to summarize everything you’ve said before and draw conclusions. The conclusion of the essay should restate your thesis statement but not repeat it word-for-word from the introduction. You should also leave your readers with something to think about. For example, connect your thesis statement to what happens in the real world, or wrap your essay up using a good quote from the book.

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