Analysis Essay Topics: 10 Ideas That Will Help You Get Inspired

Analysis essays are different than other papers in that they seek to answer the questions ‘why?’ and ‘how?’ about a subject, rather than providing a history or information about a subject as a research paper might do.

Choose a general subject

The first step to coming up with an analysis essay topic is to decide on the general subject to be analyzed. This may be assigned to you, or you may be free to choose your own. If you are choosing your own, it’s best to go with a topic that you’re interested in and that you have access to resources about. General topics could include a literary work, philosophical theory, religious doctrine, or historical event, among others.

Decide what to analyze

Once you have a general topic, you’ll need to decide how to analyze it in your essay. Your analysis should provide some insight into the topic that might not be obvious to every reader. An easy way to get ideas is to think about the context that the subject took place or exists in—who wrote/did it, what was their life like, and what else was happening in the world at the time? Use these 10 ways to analyze a subject as a guide.

10 ways to analyze a subject

    Literary work

  1. Why did the author choose to treat a certain aspect of the work the way they did?
  2. How did the author’s past shape a certain aspect of the work?
  3. How does the work relate to other important literary works such as the Bible?
  4. Why is certain language used by the author instead of other alternatives?
  5. Philosophical theory

  6. How was the author influenced by other philosophical works?
  7. Why did the author choose to form their argument how they did?
  8. Religious Doctrine

  9. How has the religious doctrine changed over time, and what factors contributed to that change?
  10. How has the religious doctrine impacted modern societies?
  11. Historical Event

  12. Why did actors in the historical event act as they did?
  13. How would the event have been different if an aspect of it was changed?

Find sources

While the bulk of an analysis essay should be your own thoughts and scrutiny of the topic, finding other sources that have dealt with the topic can be a great jumping off point. You can use outside sources to get ideas for your own paper, or to backup points you make.

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