Analytical Paragraph

Analytical Paragraphs are at the heart of history essays and research papers and most other things you write to demonstrate that you can think and know what you’re talking about.  We usually learn how to construct them in junior high and high school, but practicing basic paragraph construction can help you through college and beyond.  There’s virtually no such thing as a well-paying job that doesn’t require being able to process information analytically.  You need to work out your brain the same way you would your body in a gym.  In our F2F classes, our daily CAPs will revolve around some version or another of the analytical paragraph.  A good bare-bones, starting outline for a persuasive, analytical paragraph should go as follows.

1. A Topic Sentence, or Thesis, that details the main point(s) of the paragraph.  In a stand-alone paragraph, you can just start with your conclusion as the first sentence.
2. Example Think of an example that helps support your thesis statement.
3. Explanation of Example What does this specific example mean?  Be specific.   Expand your example by providing additional important details.
4. How does the example prove your thesis?  Why is this example important?  How does it support the main claim of your thesis statement?
5. Conclusion Sentence Sum up the main argument of your paragraph in one sentence.
6. Never Lose Sight of the Question At Hand.  Stay relevant.  You should always be able to give your writing to a stranger and they should be able to tell you, without looking, what the question or exact topic was that you were addressing.

You could remember TEEP: Thesis, Example, Explanation, Prove
How does the example back up your thesis?

The following site gives a good example of an analytical paragraph — in this case involving Alexander the Great of Greece.  Here’s another helpful guide from Houston Community College.  For more on argumentation, see our Rear Defogger critical thinking site.