Analysis Methods (Long Format)

A. Foundational

Comparison and Contrast Analysis

This can be a separate paragraph or part of one body paragraph. Provide a comparison. You must have two things, people, or ideas to compare. Provide a contrast. You must have two things, people, or ideas to compare. Follow up with an explanation of how the comparison and/or the contrast fit within the scheme of what you are discussing. Follow up with an evaluation of the usefulness of this supporting evidence, whether good or bad. Develop a transition statement.

Example Analysis

This can be a separate paragraph or part of one body paragraph. Provide an example. Define the example. Of what type is the example? Is the example a character, a person, an author’s viewpoints, or a quote? Define each part of the example. If you are discussing two people who serve as one example, make this distinction clear. Follow up with an explanation of how the example analysis fits within the scheme of what you are discussing. Follow up with an evaluation of the usefulness of this supporting evidence, whether good or bad. Develop a transition statement.

Description Analysis

This can be a separate paragraph or part of one body paragraph. Provide a description of a character or a thing or any other type of support. Describe patterns and patterns of behavior.  Describe connections between characters. Describe the character’s environment. Describe how secondary characters influence primary characters, how the antagonist influences the protagonist. Describe the narrator’s view of the main character. Describe the structure and position of dialogue. Avoid plot summary. It is possible to describe without slipping into summary. Follow up with an explanation of how the description analysis fits within the scheme of what you are discussing.  Follow up with an evaluation of the usefulness of this supporting evidence, whether good or bad.  Develop a transition statement.

Cause-and-Effect Analysis

This can be a separate paragraph or part of one body paragraph. Present the cause. Present the effect. Match the cause to the effect. The cause must be identical to the effect. Make sure your presentation of the match is accurate. Follow up with an explanation of how the cause influences the effect. Follow up with an explanation of how the cause-effect relationship fits within the scheme of what you are discussing. Follow up with an evaluation of the usefulness of this supporting evidence, whether good or bad. Develop a transition statement.

Process Analysis

This can be a separate paragraph or part of one body paragraph. Describe the process of the author. Think carefully (analyze) about the structure of the process the author undergoes. Does the author present a process that a character endures? Describe this process. Who narrates the process? Does the author or another character narrate the process? Provide the narration, but briefly. Avoid slipping into plot summary. Are there any contrasts or comparisons that you need to make between this process you are discussing and another process somewhere else in the text?  In other words, are there any parallels? Does the process have parts? Who contributes to the process? Who doesn’t?

Answer these questions. Follow up with an explanation of how this process analysis, how you have analyzed the process of the author and the characters, fits within the scheme of what you are discussing. Follow up with an evaluation of the usefulness of this supporting evidence, whether good or bad. Develop a transition statement.

Author’s Analysis

This can be a separate paragraph or part of one body paragraph. Does the author analyze his or her characters? Does the author offer an analysis of a character through a second character?  Does the author offer an analysis of a character through 3rd-person omniscient? What are the distinctions between what the character believes him or herself to be and what the author or another character believes?

Follow up with an explanation of the usefulness of this supporting evidence, whether good or bad. Follow up with an explanation of how this author analysis fits within the scheme of what you are discussing. Follow up with an evaluation of the usefulness of this supporting evidence, whether good or bad. Develop a transition statement.

Quote Analysis

This can be a separate paragraph or part of one body paragraph. Provide the quote. Analyze the quote. What type of quote is it? Where is this quote located within the author’s narration or argument? How does the quote affect the chronology of the narration or argument? Does the quote have parts? How many parts? In other words, how many ideas or things or characters is the author discussing in this one quote?

Does the quote represent a description, or a definition, or an example, or a process, or a comparison or contrast, or an evaluation? Does the quote support another quote? Does the author use this quote to support any other statement, idea, character, thing, or another quote? Who is the author of the quote? Is the author a character? Or is the author the author?

Follow up with an explanation of how your quote analysis fits within the scheme of what you are discussing. Follow up with an evaluation of the usefulness of this supporting evidence, whether good or bad. Develop a transition statement.

Thesis Analysis

This can be a separate paragraph or part of one body paragraph. Provide the author’s thesis.  Analyze the thesis. What type of thesis is it? Where is this thesis located within the author’s essay or argument? How does the position of the thesis affect the rest of the essay or argument?  Does the thesis have parts? How many parts? What is the author’s plan? What is the method by which the author will accomplish the plan? Does the thesis represent the author’s plan to describe, define, provide an example, introduce a process, compare and contrast, or evaluate?  Follow up with an explanation of how the thesis analysis fits within the scheme of what you are discussing.  Follow up with an evaluation of the usefulness of this supporting evidence, whether good or bad. Develop a transition statement.

Evaluation Analysis

This can be a separate paragraph or part of one body paragraph. Provide the author’s evaluation of either the author’s argument, the author’s analysis, or the evaluation of who the author is discussing. What is the evaluation? Is the author evaluating himself? Or is the author evaluating another character within the work? Analyze the structure of the evaluation. Judge how the author judges. Now judge the usefulness, the benefit of the author’s evaluation. Does the author make sense? Is the author logical in his or her evaluation? Does the author lack sufficient description, examples, comparisons and contrasts, definitions, or analysis in his or her evaluation? Is the author’s evaluation flawed? What is the flaw?

Define the flaw. Break down the flaw into parts. Address each part. Follow up with an explanation of how this evaluation analysis (i.e., the author’s evaluation and your evaluation of the author’s evaluation) fits within the scheme of what you are discussing. Follow up with an evaluation of the usefulness of this supporting evidence, whether good or bad. Develop a transition statement.

Context Analysis

This can be a separate paragraph or part of one body paragraph. Provide the context. Analyze the context of the story, narration, argument, essay, or any other type of literary or writing piece you are discussing. Is the context historical? Is the context literary? Is the context biblical? Does the context include a year? What is the year? What is the date? What are the dates? What are the dates in range? Does the author provide a time period? What is the time period? Does the author provide the age of a character? What is the character’s age?

Who are the primary characters? Who are the secondary characters? What is the date of composition of the literary work? What is the relationship of the character’s age to the date of composition for the piece? In considering the year and date of composition, what happens during this time historically? What are some of the major social and cultural events that parallel the year of composition? What are some of the major social and cultural events that happen on the date of composition?

Make a distinction between the two types of historical contexts: 1) the historical context that the author provides within the piece and 2) the historical context you choose to research. What are the parallels between the author’s presentation of information and the historical context you have researched?  Does the author analyze the context he or she provides? What is the author’s analysis? Does the author evaluate the context he or she analyzes? What is the author’s evaluation?

Follow up with an explanation of how this context analysis fits within the scheme of what you are discussing. Follow up with an evaluation of the usefulness of this supporting evidence, whether good or bad.  Develop a transition statement.

Outline Analysis

This can be a separate paragraph or part of one body paragraph. Provide an outline of the author’s ideas. What is the outline? Describe the outline. Analyze the structure of the outline.  Follow up with an explanation of how this outline analysis fits within the scheme of what you are discussing. Follow up with an evaluation of the usefulness of this supporting evidence, whether good or bad. Develop a transition statement.

B. Alternative

Developing Only Two Topic Sentences

Don’t be concerned with the length of this one body paragraph. You can choose any of the analysis methods you feel will be most suitable to supporting your thesis and to supporting the other ideas within the paper. Your body paragraph will not go on for four pages. However, you can elect this method for a seven- to ten-page paper. The main thing to remember is that quality is more important than quantity.

You don’t need five to seven topic sentences when two to three lengthy body paragraphs could easily serve the purpose, which is to develop a thesis and support it with evidence. When you develop five topic sentences, you run the risk of developing sentences that contradict your thesis. Keep this option in mind.

Separating the Analysis Sections into Separate Paragraphs

Separating the analysis sections into different paragraphs will be a helpful alternative to developing paragraphs that exceed at minimum two pages. The only concern here is to make sure that whatever you write in the body paragraphs correlates to what you write or propose in the introduction. Make the point of including what you will do. In other words, explain your method in your thesis. You will discuss Steinbeck’s “Chrysanthemums.” Okay, this is good. Now what will be your method? I will discuss Steinbeck’s “Chrysanthemums” by conducting a context analysis of Elisa’s relationship with other characters. Now you have told us what your method is and what kind of analysis you will perform.

These analysis methods serve as guidelines for how to develop the body paragraphs of your paper. Just remember that developing a thesis that prepares the reader for what will come next in the body paragraphs is important to your ability to be effective. If you lose the reader in the beginning, don’t provide evidence that actually supports the thesis, or contradict your thesis in the middle, your reader will not be forgiving.

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.

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