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, even though you’ll use different mediums.  You need to work out your brain the same way you would your body in a gym.  We’ll use analytical paragraphs for various assignments across the different course formats, including ONL and F2F.  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 a point or example that helps support your thesis statement.
3. Explanation of Example What does this specific example mean?  Be specific.
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/prompt was that you were addressing.

You could remember TEEP: Thesis, Example, Explanation, Prove

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.