Once you have critically read and answered as many questions as you can about the document (you cannot consider all of them with every piece), you need to begin to craft an analytical essay. Writing, like critical reading, is a multi-sided operation. You will need to consider multiple factors in crafting your essay.
a. Write several drafts. You want to hand in a paper with a clear and consistent beginning, middle, and end. However, even the most experienced writers cannot sit down and write a clear and consistent piece from beginning to end. As you write, you will develop and refine your own ideas and argument. This is a good thing. After completing your first draft, revise your introduction and possibly even middle so that it is alignment with your conclusion.
b. A useful technique might be to take your first drafts conclusion and re-write it as an introduction and then write a new and more forceful, definitive conclusion.
c. Use an appropriate title. A title should reveal the central purpose of your paper. A title can help you begin the writing process and help you focus and be consistent. If you cant come up with a title it may be an indication that your ideas are confused or inadequate.
d. Use quotations carefully. Quotations certainly bolster the impact of your argument, but overuse can weaken it. An insightful quotation lends considerable weight to the effectiveness of your argument, however, too much quoting may look like you are padding your essay or do not fully understand the document. Avoid quoting a secondary source as a conclusion or critical point in your argument. Use your own words to fashion your own argument and conclusion. When you do quote, it is a good rule to identify the original author.
e. Keep citations. When you quote or paraphrase ideas, arguments or specific references that are not your own, you must cite the source. It is not necessary to cite common knowledge.
Exact wording from a source. When you use a direct quote from a source, use quotation marks or set the quote apart from the rest of the body of the text. Direct quotations should be used judiciously.
Paraphrasing from a source. In this instance, you are using your own words to convey the meaning of another. There is no need to use quotation marks but you must still use a footnote, endnote, or other approved citation method (check with your professor to be sure) to indicate where the information came.
f. When citing sources, you must be consistent in form. You must use the appropriate citation format. This assignment requires you to follow American Psychological Association (APA) style for reference and citations.
g. Eliminate mechanical errors. Spelling and grammatical errors distract the reader from the argument you are trying to make. Mistakes in spelling, punctuation, and grammar create the impression that you do not care. Remember that your computer is no substitute for proofreading your work. Ultimately, you are responsible for the finished product. If it is full of careless errors and silly mistakes, you can expect a poor grade. (For a list of common errors to avoid and pet peeves, see Pet Peeves)