Analytical research explores a topic in-depth, often beginning with a question that asks why or how. Unlike descriptive research, which aims to determine what something is, analytical research is an attempt to establish why something is a certain way or how it came to be that way.
Analytical research can be applied to almost any topic from economics to literature. When writing an analytical research paper, writers must never incorporate their personal feelings or opinions about the topic being discussed. An analytical research paper is composed entirely of fact-based evidence. For example, if writing about a piece of literature analytically, the paper would begin with a question asked by the writer. The intent of the paper is not to persuade the reader of the writer's beliefs or opinions; it is to offer an interpretation that is backed up by primary and secondary sources that ultimately support the conclusion.
Primary sources are original documents or research, including speeches, letters, interviews, official records, creative works and artifacts. If writing about a poem, the text of the poem is considered a primary source. Secondary sources include interpretations or analysis of primary sources and are removed from the event or topic. Examples of secondary sources include textbooks, criticisms and newspaper or magazine articles.