Learn how to write an analysis

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6 minutes
Updated Apr 29, 2021
Learn how to write an analysis

Before start writing any specific assignment it is important to understand what are the rules and requirements for such writing; what is the essence of such paper. So, before learn how to write an analysis you need to understand what is the main idea of it. Analysis writing is aimed to give some specific text more understanding. This kind of writing takes some topic or idea touched in a source text and breaks it down to elements. After that analysis studies every element to achieve better understanding of both elements and general topics. The process of writing an analysis includes such stages:

  • Preparation before reading
  • Making an outline for analysis
  • Evidence searching and making a structure
  • Making a first draft
  • The last stage – review and edit

Every instruction of how to write an analysis says that it is highly important to understand the assignment correctly. Analysis is a very strict task – it is important to make an analysis of required parts of the texts, ideas and etcetera. So make sure that you clearly understand what your teacher or professor wants from you before even start reading the source text. When you will start reading the material it is better to use annotations – if you will do them qualitative, this will make you one step closer to an analysis. Different kinds of source materials will require different ways to make annotations:

  • If it’s a literary text, than you can bracket information about plot, characters and setting. Look carefully and underline themes. It will be also useful for you to highlight figurative language (a nice object for analysis)
  • If it’s a non-fiction essay, than it will be a good idea to notice and make subheadings for all information in such directions as evidence, argument, theory and thesis
  • In different kinds of writing do also such subheadings as setting, figurative language, tone, protagonist, antagonist, themes, and imagery.

You need to make an outline for your writing, because the assignment’s grade depends very much on how accurately you will do it to the prompt, how focused on required topics it will be. So, make clear again what topics or ideas from the source material you need to discuss in your analysis. These are the steps that will help you to make an outline:

  • Identify the tone of narration. For example, if it is a non-fiction essay, the tone of author will be your object
  • As well as with a narration tone, you need to identify the time, place, geographic location or some other details from the material that are important for the analysis. Establish details that affect the story the most (the setting of the story)
  • You need also to establish the author’s style of writing. Identify the audience to whom author is appealing (for both scientific and literary analysis)
  • Identify antagonists and protagonists (first characters are the enemies with usually unattractive qualities; the second type of characters includes characters with positive and attractive qualities, main hero of the story usually is its protagonist). Make a research – are these characters non-trivial or they are based on stereotypes? Do they reflect some other literary characters?
  • Identify the thesis statement, and then find some required ideas in a source text for analysis (to discuss). Think about quotations – some of them will be useful for your analysis
  • Identify, what is the biggest relevance of the source text to the auditory
  • Find some counter-arguments and discuss controversial aspects of the text

Evidence part of the preparation is aimed to get ready to the first draft. Identify topics, which you want to work out in your analysis and grab a good quotation from the text for each of it. Each point in your analysis should be in the end supported by the textual evidence. Before start writing a draft it is better to review your annotation again (review your outline topics and add page numbers under each of it). After that you can start writing a draft. First write body paragraphs, then introduction, and then conclusion in the end. Think about each topic in your outline and begin writing detailed about these topics. When you will do body paragraphs, you can write an introduction; use it to summarize the material. Be very specific when you will write the conclusion. Analysis writing doesn’t like vast generalizations. It is better to analyze fewer elements in more details than superficially go through a lot of details and elements. Establish the significance of the source to the reader and use it in the conclusion also. When you will do your edit and review stage it is important to do these steps:

  • To make sure that each point is backed by thoughtful insights into author’s choice as well as evidence
  • Do a spell check and grammar rereading
  • Check the assignment again. Maybe there are some guidelines that you forgot to follow? Have you used the right format, length and bibliography?

To learn how to write an analysis you should know what are some typical mistakes for analysis writing. First serious mistake that many authors make during analysis writing is that they put their own opinion into paper. To insert your own opinion about something will be a great idea in many other kinds of writing, such as argumentative essay, personal essay and etcetera. However, personal author’s opinions are unacceptable when we are talking about the analysis writing. The next serious error that many writers make in analysis is to put some irrelevant ideas from the source text to the analysis. Analysis writing is characterized by very strict form and structure, as well as content. Before even start making a first draft it is important to clearly understand the task. Open only themes that are relevant to the task in your analysis. The last common error is quite similar. Many authors omit key information from the text for some reasons. Sometimes it is the reason of the huge amount of information, difficulties in understanding or some other reasons. In any case, teacher or professor will notice that you missed some relevant key information and it will influence on your grade.

Here are some other useful tips to write an analysis:

  • Write it in your own words
  • Take the text apart bit by bit to better understand ideas, topics and elements of the text
  • In analysis you don’t looking for all main ideas, you are looking only for relevant ideas that correspond the assignment. The idea of every analysis is two give two-three relevant ideas from the texts and to describe them in details used in the text (Show what text thinks about every idea)
  • Analysis is aimed to analyze text – it is not a proper place for author’s opinions
  • Use quotation marks when you do any quotations from the source text. Sometimes it is a good idea to put some words that used in a text in quotation marks too. Especially if these words can be unfamiliar for your audience
  • Finish your analysis logically. Analyze all required ideas and topic s from the assignment and finish them with the conclusion. Probably you already know it, but I will say it again – it is impossible to write an analysis without reading the text. Read the text first to understand it and only then start writing an analysis.

Analysis is quite unusual type of writing. In this king of assignment you cannot use your own opinion to analyze some topics. Here you should brake the text down to small parts and methodically analyze them. Analysis assignment usually gives very strict frames for writing. Read it very carefully before even start writing a first draft. A distinctive feature of the analysis is that you don’t need to open all key ideas from the text in it. Sometimes it is enough to analyze two-three main topics or ideas touched in a text using lexis proposed by the author. Analysis is a useful tool and it will be interesting for you to learn how to use it. So read your assignment carefully and start writing.

Angelina Grin
Creative Writer and Blog Editor

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