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Analysis paper vs. review paper
Artistic works are common topics for papers. Often this is a book, poem or play, but it can also be a film, a piece of music or practically anything else that falls under the heading of art. There are many possibilities. There are also two distinct kinds of paper that can be written on these topics; these are analysis and review papers. Both discuss the work in detail, but they have very different aims and it's important not to get them mixed up.
Analysis papers and review papers have a number of differences, and these will affect both the aspects of the work you look at and what you say about them in your paper. It's probably a good idea to look at the main features of each then work out what those differences are.
The main purpose of an analysis paper is to examine the themes contained in the work and the techniques used by its creator. Here are two issues that are commonly explored:
- How do characters relate to each other? What motivates them? This is often determined by the genre of the work; in a romantic novel, for example, the primary motivations will be sexual attraction, loyalty and jealousy. In a war novel like All Quiet on the Western Front they will be self-protection, idealism, fear and hatred.
- What themes are covered? Most written works explore one or more issues, often social, political or philosophical ones. Analysis essays often look at how a work treats conflict between races or genders, or how conflicts develop between the characters.
A review paper, by contrast, looks at the quality and effect of the work. Points that it examines could include the following:
- Are the characters believable? A review can comment on whether or not the characters act in ways that seem plausible.
- Are themes treated consistently?
- What was the effect of the work? Did it make the reader think about its themes or was it frustrating and difficult to follow?
- Is the work recommended? If the reviewer would not recommend the work they should also explain why not. "I didn't like it" isn't enough; the review needs to say exactly why this is the case. Of course if the work is recommended it should explain this too.
There's obviously some overlap between the two types and it's common for an analysis paper to include elements of review and vice versa. The differences are quite clear, though, and should be very obvious in the conclusion. Keep this in mind as you plan and write your paper to avoid any confusion.