Differences between Literary Analysis and Research Papers You analyze

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Differences between Literary Analysis and Research Papers
You analyze in both kinds of writing, but the way you present your analysis differs.
Purpose and Resources

Literary Analysis

Research Paper

Requires you to critically read a written work, then analyze its components to examine its effect or message. Resources required: the text and your brain (and sometimes external sources, if you’re comparing historically relevant issues or another text).

In other words:

100% your ideas about the subject

Require you to familiarize yourself with the works of “experts” on a subject, then compare their thoughts on the topic with your own. Resources required: many texts on the same subject, your background knowledge, your willingness to change your thesis if you find information that contradicts what you originally thought.
Others’ ideas about the subject integrated with your ideas/insights about the subject

Notes: No professor will be marking what the published experts have to say, only how well you use what the experts have to say to advance your paper's purpose.

Use of Quotes

Literary Analysis

Research Paper

You need quotes from your subject text to back up (or support) your claim about what the author is saying. (i.e. quotes are mostly facts that show proof of your analysis)

You need quotes both as facts and sometimes as analysis (what the experts say).


Literary Analysis

Research Paper

You need to cite all quotes, but not every paraphrase.

Works Cited needed?

Only if you get information from a source cited in class (i.e. from a handout of a speech, or something similar) or if you get information on your own from another source. Basic facts discussed in class (the poet was British, the rose is a metaphor, etc.) do not need citations.

You need to cite every idea that isn’t your own, whether it’s in quotes or paraphrased.
Works Cited needed?
Yes. You need a list of every source you reference in your paper.

As the staff at the SUNY Empire State College Writer's Complex so aptly explains it: "To analyze means to break a topic or concept down into its parts in order to inspect and understand it, and to restructure those parts in a way that makes sense to you. In an analytical research paper, you do research to become an expert on a topic so that you can restructure and present the parts of the topic from your own perspective."
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