How to Write an Analytical Research Paper

A research paper is one of the most frequently assigned papers along with different types of essays. Research papers can be classified into types as well as essays. There are seven common types of research papers: analytical, argumentative, experimental, definition, problem-solution, cause and effect, and research reports.

how to write an analytical research paper

Each of these types has particular features and purposes. We have decided to provide you with an informative guide on how to write an analytical research paper. Therefore, we will give you exhaustive writing instructions, analyze general traits of this paper, and share a few helpful tips with you. Our well-educated writer has also created a great analytical research paper sample with comments. You can use it as an example for your own work.

What Is an Analytical Research Paper?

An analytical research paper is an academic piece of writing that is aimed at analyzing different points of view from multiple sources on a particular topic. In contrast to an argumentative research paper, you don’t have to persuade your readers that your personal point of view is correct and others are wrong. The main purpose of the analytical research paper is to present a few different opinions and to draw logical conclusions. Although your topic may be controversial and debatable, you don’t have to choose one side. You may evaluate the works of researchers on the chosen topic, but you should always remain objective.

Don’t confuse analytical and definition research papers. Definition papers don’t require deep analysis, as they simply gather and categorize data on a certain topic to inform readers. All information left unanalyzed may serve as an excellent framework for future analytical or argumentative papers.

As well as a problem-solution research paper, the analytical paper may include a few recommendations in the concluding section. However, the search for solutions is not the main goal of the analytical paper, and this function is optional.

analytical research

Analytical Research Paper: Special Features

We hope that you won’t confuse an analytical research paper with any other type of writing after our explanation. Now, let’s figure out what characteristics are necessary for a high-quality analytical research paper! You are welcome to use this list both to evaluate yours or other authors’ works.

1. Complex informative basis

Good sources are necessary for any research, especially for an analytical research paper. You have to gather the opinions on your topic from different perspectives. However, we don’t recommend you to use commercial websites and personal blogs as sources for your research paper. They are unreliable and frequently present unverified information.

2. Proper formatting style

As you know, there are different formatting styles: APA, MLA, Chicago, etc. Their guides specify the rules of citation, paper structure, the format of footnotes, and other formalities. You should always ask your instructor about proper formatting style as this factor may influence your grade.

3. An acute and interesting topic

The first characteristic works for all analytical research papers but doesn’t apply to historical ones. However, even research about ancient events should be interesting for your readers. No doubt, you are not creating your paper for the general public, so you are allowed to use terminology and complex words.

4. Logical structure

There is no universal template for an analytical research paper. Still, you should be logical and consistent: put an abstract at the beginning of your paper, an introduction before the research study, and conclusion at the end. Remember that readers should easily follow your thoughts without any difficulties. If your analytical research paper is rather long, compose a table of contents.

5. Critical interpretation of sources

You shouldn’t simply say that you agree or disagree with a particular author. Analyze his or her argumentation, and only after that will you have the opportunity to evaluate the conclusions objectively. Remain critical, realistic, and unbiased. Don’t allow external factors to influence your judgment.

6. No logical fallacies

Logical mistakes are common for those who begin their path in the world of science and research. Look at the topic from different angles in order to get a full picture. The more you know, the higher the chances that you will avoid fallacies. You may also find a list of logical mistakes on the internet and check your work.

7. A fresh perspective

Gathering others’ opinions is not your only goal. You should also present your own thoughts and offer a new point of view on the topic. Try to be original and creative, as nobody likes plagiarists. Even if your topic is not extremely unique, you can always find an aspect that hasn’t been covered by previous researchers yet.

8. A relevant thesis statement

Put your thesis statement in the introduction. Remember that it should reflect your research question and establish the structure of the whole paper. Surprisingly, we recommend you to compose your introduction along with the thesis statement second to last. This method will help you to create the most relevant introduction.

9. A formal writing style

No jargon, no colloquial language, no exclamation marks. You probably know all these “NOs.” Still, we will list a few things that you should avoid in your analytical research paper:

  • clichés
  • contractions
  • figures of speech and metaphors
  • ambiguous meanings
  • texting-style words
  • first-person narration
  • first and second person pronouns

10. Immaculate objectiveness

No preferences, no principles, no emotions. You have to become a perfect judge. Your logic should be unbiased and uncompromising. Objectiveness is the only way to create a truly useful and decent analytical research paper. Forget about your personal feelings and turn over control of the working process to your mind.
analytical research paper

Analytical Research Paper Outline: Proper Structure

The appropriate structure for an analytical research paper may vary. It depends on your topic and discipline. We highly recommend you to ask your instructor about the required sections, otherwise, you risk getting a low grade. However, the main sections remain the same. Let’s take a closer look at each part of the paper.

Title page. You may think that the only function of the title page is to identify the author and inform the reader about the topic of the paper. You are totally right. The title page is not a part of your analytical research paper which you should worry about. If you are able to compose a serious scientific paper, we are sure that you also can write your name, title of your work, date, and affiliation. When it comes to titling your work, don’t forget about keywords and conciseness.

Abstract. Every guide usually claims an abstract to be an optional section of your analytical research paper. However, it plays such an important role that it would be a huge mistake to ignore this section. An abstract is like a nice dress for a girl: it attracts and intrigues. You should present the whole work in 150-200 words, so readers will be able to decide if they need to spend some time to read your paper. No doubt, your abstract must be perfect! Write it last, when your paper will be prepared. In such a way, an abstract will reflect all main aspects of your work: thesis statement, sources, findings, and conclusions.

Introduction. The introductory part has three main functions. First of all, you provide your readers with background information related to your topic. You shouldn’t start with the story about Adam and Eve, but make sure that your readers will be informed. Next, state the problem clearly and concisely. Your problem statement establishes the goals and structure of your paper, so be attentive and accurate. Finally, describe the previous studies related to your topic. Mention how they correlate with your methods and what aspects of the chosen theme they cover.

Literature review. As we mentioned above, an analytical research paper requires a good informative basis consisting of relevant, authoritative, and reliable sources. In this section, you should provide your readers with the findings on your topic made by previous researchers. Cite all sources properly in order to avoid plagiarism. A literature review proves that your analytical research paper is not baseless and that readers should take it seriously.

Research design. This section has no strict structure, as its content depends on the work that you have done to create your paper. Mention all aspects of the working process: problem statement, objectives, sources of data, data collection, methods, etc. The purpose of the research design is to explain to readers how exactly you have gathered information to get your results.

Conclusion. The concluding part of your analytical research paper can be presented as a whole or can be divided into subsections: summary, discussion, and recommendations. The choice depends on you, but we highly recommend you to pick the second option. When you divide the text into a few subsections, you facilitate the reading process a lot. In the summary, you display all your findings and observations in a brief and understandable manner. Consider the use of diagrams, charts, and tables. The discussion section demonstrates how the results of your work are relevant to previous researches on this topic and their importance for further investigations. In your recommendations, give some instructions for the researchers who want to continue your study.

writing an analytical research paper

Steps to Write an Analytical Research Paper

Surprisingly, the writing stage is not the only thing you need to do to get a perfect analytical research paper. Let’s figure out what steps might be important to start your work and to bring your paper to perfection at the end.

1. Choose a topic

Sometimes, fortune smiles on students, and they get an opportunity of free choice. That doesn’t happen every day, but you should always be ready to face this occurrence. The chosen topic should satisfy three criteria: it should be interesting, narrow, and acute. Check out our list of amazing analytical research paper topics!

2. Specify all details

Nobody will accuse you of extreme curiosity if you ask your instructor for additional attention to your questions. Specify all unclear aspects. Pay special attention to the formatting style and requirements related to word limit and structure.

3. Find reliable sources

A complex informative basis is the key to a high-quality analytical research paper. Make sure that your sources are reliable and modern. Personal blogs and ancient manuscripts are not allowed!

4. Make notes

Memory is not perfect. Even geniuses have to make notes from time to time. Moreover, it is hard to memorize all the sources that you use during your working process. If you don’t mention all studies that serve as a basis for your paper, you will be accused as a plagiarist. That would not look good on your resume.

5. Brainstorm ideas

Drink a cup of tea and eat your favorite sweets. You have to be inspired and relaxed. Your brain should be full of energy to generate a few creative ideas. New approaches, unusual methods, interesting details – all these things will increase the value of your analytical research paper.

6. Make an outline

Planning is the root of everything. A good outline will let you structure your disjointed thoughts and ideas and imagine a future structure of your paper. Try to make a list of all sections and mention key phrases and words that you are planning to include in the text. You may also draw a pyramid, circle, or any other figure that helps you to create a starting point for your work.

7. Write the first draft

Don’t expect to get a perfect draft in the first try. Some writers edit their novels for years! We know that you don’t have years to accomplish your assignment. However, try to do your best.

8. Edit your paper

This step may seem boring. Actually, it is rather boring to read and reread your own paper over and over again. Actually, we recommend you to have some rest when your analytical research paper will be finished. Your brain will be able to focus on spelling and formatting only after a good nap.

9. Proofread the text

If you are sure that the main parts of your paper can not be better, then it is the right moment to focus on smaller details: spelling, wording, and punctuation. Even the most insignificant mistakes will spoil the overall impression. Be accurate and attentive!

10. Get feedback

A fresh perspective never hurts. Apply to your peers, colleagues, roommates, parents, distant cousins, or imaginary friends. In short, apply to anybody who is able to read your paper and say a few words about its quality.

Analytical Research Paper: Example Analyzed

The best way to learn more about writing an analytical research paper is to read good examples provided by experienced authors. Luckily for you, we have one great sample right here. Moreover, we have asked our writer to leave some comments on her analytical research paper. In such a manner, you will be informed about the functions of each section in this analytical research paper example. Don’t hesitate to use our text as a template for your own work. Please, don’t commit plagiarism, as you can be accused of academic dishonesty.

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analytical research paper outline

what is analytical research

what is an analytical research paper

We are 100% sure that you now know enough about how to write an analytical research paper. At least, we have done everything possible to teach you. Now, it is up to you. We strongly believe in your talents and writing skills. After reading this article attentively, you can firmly say: “I know everything to write my research paper without stress!” You have no chances to compose a bad analytical research paper!