What is an Analysis? Essay

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What is an Analysis?

An analysis evaluates what a piece of writing is trying to do. In order to do that, you will have to decide what the author is trying to say and who they are trying to persuade to agree with them. In addition, you will need to examine the social and cultural context and point in time when the piece of writing was produced. Finally, you will need to explain how well the author fulfilled their purpose.

What sort of an Analysis Essay are you being asked to write? Share in the comments about your essay assignment.

What are the Basic Features of an Analysis:

Describes the organization of the essay
Tells the claim and subclaims
Explains the support
Analyzes the type, quantity, quality and relevance of the support
Explains how the author shows they are an authority
Tells what audience is the author writing for
Explains how the author make their writing interesting and effective for this audience
Tells what makes this essay effective or ineffective as an argument

Analysis Essay Poll
Which would you rather analyze and evaluate?

political article
a picture
a story
a movie

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Analysis Essay Sample

Sample essay form (just to give you an idea of how to write)

The essay opens with XXXXX and makes the claim XXXX in paragraph XXX that XXXXX. The rest of essay is organized by XXXX (very brief description of outline of essay perhaps telling where description of problem is, where claims are and where support is located—which paragraphs).

The support includes XXXX The support is adequate/ inadequate and is relevant/ irrelevant to the author’s claim.

The author establishes his/her authority by XXXX. The author assumes an audience who XXXXX. He/She establishes common ground with the audience by XXXX.

This is an effective/ineffective argument because XXXXX.

Analysis Writing

There are several ways to effectively analyze an article but every analysis must have two parts: description and evaluation.

I. Description: describe how the essay was written.

1. What kind of an essay is it? What sort of claim does it make? Types of essays: cause, problem solution, definition, evaluation, analysis, comparison and contrast, personal experience. Types of claims: fact, definition, cause, value, policy

2. How is the essay organized?

Do a short outline and/or annotate as you read. Where is the main claim (thesis)? Where are the subclaims (reasons to support thesis)? Where is the support? What does the author do at opening and conclusion?

3. What kind of support does the author use? Types of support: Logical: sign, induction, cause, deduction, analogy, definition, statistics, pathos, authority, emotional, values. Don’t forget visual proof and stories in the article which attempt to persuade you.

II. Evaluation: evaluate how effectively the essay is written

Who is the audience? How well does the author appeal to this audience? How does the author establish common ground? Is the organization effective?
Is support effective? Relevant? Enough? Logical?

What is the purpose of the author in this essay? Is the argument obvious? Extremist? Hidden? Unconscious? Exploratory? Objective Reporting? Is this article a classic argument where the author wants to convince you of their point? Or is it more exploratory and consensual, attempting to look at several sides of an issue and letting the reader decide or leaving the decision tentative? What are the constraints on this issue? What current events, circumstances or attitudes affect the audience and author?

Response

What is a Response?

A response answers the question, “What did you think?” It include your personal reaction to the article’s ideas, or your reaction to the author, or both. Part of your reaction will be based on your life experiences and values. In order to evaluate your reaction, you need to think about how your life has been the same or different from the authors. You want to address those similarities or differences in your response. In addition, you can consider what about the way the author has written the piece makes you respond the way you did. Perhaps you agree with the author’s claim, but find the writing dull and ineffective, the examples outdated, or the argument too predictable.

Questions to ask to help you develop your response:

1. What is your personal reaction to the essay?

2. What common ground do you have with the author?

3. What in the essay is new to you?

4. What does this essay make you think about?

5. What do you like or dislike about the essay and/or the ideas in the essay?

Sample essay form:

Before reading this essay, my understanding of this topic was XXXXX. I have XXXX as common ground with the author/ audience. My reaction to this essay is XXXXXX. What was new to me is XXXXX. This essay makes me think XXXX. I like/ dislike XXXXX in the essay. More Help for Explaining Essays

For more help in writing your Explain Analysis Essay, see How to Write Evaluation Essays, and Peer Review Questions for Evaluation Essays. If you are also being asked to Summarize the article or do a Reader Response, you want to check out my information on that also. I also give ideas on how to Revise your Essay.

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