How to Decide on The Analysis Essay Topic

Analysis essays are a frequent choice of writing assignment, and it's likely that you'll have to do them quite regularly. As with any other type of essay the topic is very important. Of course with an analysis essay the topic may be specified for you, so you'll just have to work with what you're given, but frequently you'll have the freedom to choose one yourself. This can be a great help, but only if you go about it the right way.

If you're looking for an analysis paper topic the priority is to find something that you can write about with a good level of detail and understanding. Whatever one you pick should pass three tests:

  • It should be something you're interested in. This makes it much easier to be enthusiastic about the topic and you'll probably have done a lot of analysis yourself already.
  • You should be knowledgeable about it. The more you know, the more detail you can include in your discussions.
  • It must be relevant to the question. This one seems obvious, but a common mistake is to choose a topic that doesn't really relate to the theme of the essay you're supposed to be writing. That won't help your grades much.

Obviously this leaves a lot of possibilities. The choice of topic may be restricted; for example it might have to be about your favorite book. This still gives you a lot of freedom to find something you know and are interested in. Just beware of choices that might give the wrong impression; one example would be an essay exploring the theme of conflict in fiction, where the student suggested First Blood by David Morrell. The teacher agreed that the book explored this theme well, but warned that the marker would immediately think of Sylvester Stallone and form a bad impression before even beginning to read (yes, this is a real example…)

If the essay had to be about a specific book or other piece of writing, but you can choose the exact topic, start by making a list of all the themes you can identify within the work. Focus on the ones you find most interesting and note how much material there is for discussion. Common themes in books could include character development, conflict, relationships or portrayals of social issues like sexism. Any of these can make a good essay topic.