When you cite an online source, the MLA Handbook recommends including a date of access on which you accessed the material, since an online work may change or move at any time.
The seventh edition handbook required the city in which a publisher is located, but the eighth edition states that this is only necessary in particular instances, such as in a work published before 1900. Since pre-1900 works were usually associated with the city in which they were published, your documentation may substitute the city name for the publisher’s name.
Understanding this definition properly needs another definition; academic writing. Academic writing is a style of writing that is used to pass on information in a reliable way. It should not include unsupported opinions, but should be based on facts. There are often strict rules about providing references so that readers can check you have used reliable sources and not misquoted them. You can give your opinion in your conclusion but you need to make clear that it is your opinion and it has to be supported by referenced information.
An analytical essay is a special kind of academic writing. Other types of essays can just pass on information, but to count as an analytical essay you need to add value by discussing what the information means. If you're just listing facts you're not doing it right, so look at how you can add analysis.
If you follow these principles and include good discussions and conclusions you're writing an analytical essay - in other words you've got it right!
Remember that no matter what format you follow in writing your critical analysis, it should have a thesis statement that establishes your approach to or opinion about the piece. Your thesis statement will not be the same as the original author's thesis statement. For example, say that the original author's thesis statement is “the moon is made of green cheese.” Your own thesis might be “the author's assertion that the moon is made of green cheese is ill-founded and is not supported with adequate evidence.”
There are many models for writing a critical analysis. Some disciplines recommend breaking an analysis into two sections: The first section provides a summary of the content of the work, while the second section analyzes and evaluates the work. Other disciplines, in contrast, favor a model in which the summary and analysis are smoothly integrated. See the reverse side for two serviceable (if unembellished) formats for a critical analysis. Also, remember that length can vary from a paragraph to several pages.
If you are used to using the high school model to present the thesis of an essay, you might wonder what you should do with the rest of your introduction once you start presenting a one-sentence statement of your thesis. Well, an introduction should do two important things: (1) present the thesis statement, and (2) get readers interested in the subject of the essay.
If you can state all of your main points logically in just one sentence, then all of those points should come together logically in just one essay. When I evaluate an essay, I look specifically for a one-sentence statement of the thesis in the introduction that, again, identifies the topic of the essay, states all of the main points, clarifies how those points are logically related, and conveys the purpose of the essay.
Instead of outlining each stage of an essay with separate sentences in the introduction, you could draw readers into your essay by appealing to their interests at the very beginning of your essay. Why should what you discuss in your essay be important to readers? Why should they care? Answering these questions might help you discover a way to draw readers into your essay effectively. Once you appeal to the interests of your readers, you should then present a clear and focused thesis statement. (And thesis statements most often appear at the ends of introductions, not at the beginnings.)
Coming up with a thesis statement during the early stages of the writing process is difficult. You might instead begin by deciding on three or four related claims or ideas that you think you could prove in your essay. Think in terms of paragraphs: choose claims that you think could be supported and developed well in one body paragraph each. Once you have decided on the three or four main claims and how they are logically related, you can bring them together into a one-sentence thesis statement.
For your final draft, be sure to avoid sloppiness, poor English, spelling errors, whining, manufacturing a personality, avoiding the questions that are asked on the application, high school experiences, personal biases about religion, ethnicity, politics, sexist language, revealing of character weaknesses, and arrogance.
The personal statement is extremely important in gaining admittance to graduate and professional schools. Although it can be frustrating to write an original and well-devised statement, through time and drafts it will be written. The ones that are good take time. The ones that are bad can sabotage your chances for success. It is also important that you show your drafts to a Writing Center tutor, your academic advisor, Career Planning advisor, and friends; they will help you write an essay that reveals the right balance of personal and academic characteristics and specifics.