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How to Choose the Right Topics for Analysis Essays

Analysis Essays

Your instructor has assigned an analysis essay, but what exactly is an analysis essay?  An analysis essay is one that analyzes the main subject.  For example, you could write an analysis essay on a box of tissue papers. Of course, you do not have to choose an actual thing, you can decide to write about a question posed about life in general, or even concepts in books or poems.

Tangible Thing Analyses

Perhaps, the easiest to analyze is a tangible item, a physical thing that you can feel, taste, see, etc.  Even the thesis is fairly easy, especially if you use each sense as the main point.  The thing to remember about tangible items is that you may need to have access to the item in order to analyze it.  By picking an item that you cannot easily get to, whether it be at the bottom of the ocean or in a lock box inside your mom's closet, you run the risk of being low on enough facts to support each of your main points.  A few easy to get items are as follows:

  • A #2 pencil
  • A DVD player

Life Questions

Generally, the life questions are "why" questions.  "Why is it that cats land on their feet every time they fall?"  "Why do people experience feelings?"  Not all life questions are "why" questions, though.  Here are some examples using the other question words:

  • How do you know when you are in love?
  • When will the human race begin its natural decline?
  • Where is Waldo?

Concept Analyses

Concepts are a little harder to analyze because each one can be experienced differently from one person to another.  It is your job, when choosing a subject like this, to explain to the reader why it is that you feel this way about a certain concept and get them to understand how you came to feel this way.  Generally, when analyzing a concept, you will choose one from a book or painting or other form of art. Some concept ideas are:

  • Exploring the meaning of money in "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Understanding the concept of love in any number of poems by Shakespeare
  • Figuring out the devastation Tomas Del-Amo is portraying in his painting "Exterminating Angel"

Choosing the Right Topic

Now that you have a good understanding of the different kind of analysis essays, you wonder which kind to choose, and then which topic is right for you.  In order to decide which type of essay is beneficial, you may want to take a look at the material you are studying in your class.  Is it abstract material, like in a philosophy class?  Or is it a more concrete subject, like science?  Naturally, some subjects may fall into more than one category.  In this case, you can choose to try each type of essay to see which is easier for you.  In the end, choosing a type of analysis essay will help you make the right choice for a topic.


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