Don't panic when your instructor tells you that you need to write an analysis! All he or she wants is for you to take something apart to see HOW it works.
To write an analysis, you need to think about how each part of something contributes to the success of the whole.
Caution! Make sure that you're NOT just summarizing the original article, story, novel, poem, etc. Go beyond simply telling us WHAT you are talking about: describe HOW and WHY its elements function.
Specific Information for Analyzing Literature
Summarizing = WHAT
Analyzing = HOW & WHY
When you think about analysis, try thinking about how you might analyze a car.
- Ask yourself: What do we want the car to do or accomplish?
- Answer: (minivan) “provide transportation for my family”
- Analysis: how does each part of the van achieve this goal?
- Example: gasoline powers the engine
- Answer: (sports car) “speed, agility, and style”
- Analysis: how does each part of the sports car achieve this goal?
- Example: light-weight construction enables speed
Use this sample format to take your questions from description and evaluation above to turn them into a smoothly written paper. The "XXX" is your answer:
In "Why I Hate Cats" author John Stephans explains XXX (give a summary of article).
"Why I Hate Cats" is an XXX essay which makes the claim XXX. The essay opens with XXX and makes the claim XXX in paragraph XXX that XXX. The rest of essay is organized by XXX (very brief description of the outline of essay perhaps telling where the description of problem is, where claims are and where support is located in the paper).
Because the article was published in XXX, the intended audience is probably XXX and they believe XXX. Stephans wants to convince them XXX. The author establishes his/her authority by XXX. The author assumes an audience who XXX. He (She) establishes common ground with the audience by XXX. The purpose of the author is XXX. The constraints on discussing this issue are XXX.
The support includes XXX. The support is adequate (inadequate) and is relevant (irrelevant) to the author’s claim because XXX.
Overall, the article is effective (or ineffective) because XXX.