Steps to Developing an Analysis

There are approximately ten composition principles and various composition critical analysis terms.

Some terms overlap. Table 10: Principles and Terms of Composition provides a list of popular terms instructors use to teach freshmen composition. In order to analyze you must first understand what you are actually doing.

Therefore, let’s discuss the right side of the column first and compare and contrast definitions for these terms. We have classified and placed them into categories. The source of the definitions is Longman Dictionary of American English. You may refer to any current dictionary for your convenience

Table 10: Principles and Terms of Composition

Composition Principles Composition Critical Analysis Terms
  • Description
  • Narration
  • Example
  • Division or analysis
  • Classification
  • Process analysis
  • Comparison and contrast
  • Definition
  • Cause-and-effect analysis
  • Argument and persuasion

 

  • Inform
  • Persuade
  • Convince
  • Observe
  • Describe
  • Prove
  • Evaluate
  • Report
  • Compare/Contrast
  • Propose
  • Explain
  • Analyze
  • Argue
  • Formulate
  • Define
  • Explore
  • Classify
  • Entertain

 Define, Describe

Define: to explain the exact meaning of a particular word or idea

Describe: to say what someone or something is like by giving details

Inform, Report, Explain

Inform: to formally tell someone about something

Report: to tell someone about something

Explain: to tell someone about something in a way that is easy to understand

Observe, Evaluate, Explore, Analyze, Compare

Observe: to watch someone or something carefully

Evaluate: to judge how good, useful, or successful someone or something is

Explore: to discuss or think about something carefully

Analyze: to examine or think about something carefully in order to understand it

Compare: to examine or judge two or more things in order to show how they are similar or different from each other

Persuade, Convince

Persuade: to make someone agree to do something by giving good reasons

Convince: to make someone feel certain that something is true

Prove, Argue

Prove: to show that something is definitely true

Argue: to disagree with someone, usually by talking or shouting in an angry way

Propose, Formulate

Propose: to suggest officially that something be done

Formulate: to develop something such as a plan or set of rules, and decide all the details of how it will be done

Contrast, Classify, Entertain

Contrast: a difference between two people, situations, ideas, etc.

Classify: to put things into groups according to their age, type, etc.

Entertain: to do something that interests and amuses people

Researching and defining these keywords is the most important process you can endure. Understanding their meanings will help you better define your analysis. In other words, you can’t create and develop an analysis before you understand what you are doing.

Therefore, let’s examine some of these definitions and apply them to our exploration of Steinbeck’s “Chrysanthemums.”

In addition, within the sections that follow are tips for understanding how to apply some of the composition critical analysis terms.

First, here are some of observations of  1) Persuade, Convince; and 2) Evaluate, Explore, Analyze.

Persuade, Convince: The words persuade and convince do not share the same definitions. Immediately when you hear or see persuade, you think convince, but persuade means to make someone agree to do something by providing good reasons.  The word convince means to make someone feel certain that something is true.

Scenario for Persuade: Kathy says to Jane, “Jane, you need to go to the party with me.”

Reasons:

1.      “They have good food.”

2.      “It’s close to the job. We can just leave after work.”

3.      “And Jack will be there.”

In any of these lines does Kathy persuade Jane to go to the party? No, because Jane hasn’t agreed to do anything. She hasn’t said yes. Kathy has provided the reasons, but the two of them haven’t settled on what Jane will do. The reasons represent Kathy’s method she uses to try to convince Jane to go to the party; Kathy is trying to make Jane feel certain that something (three things in this case) is true, that the party will have good food, that the party is close to the job, and that Jack will be there. Once Jane feels certain that Kathy is telling the truth, then they both agree that Jane will meet Kathy at the party after work. Now Kathy has persuaded Jane to go to the party. Just remember that persuade and convince do not mean the same thing.

Explore, Analyze, Evaluate: The words explore, analyze, and evaluate do not share the same meanings also. To explore means to discuss or think about something carefully. To analyze means to examine or think about something carefully in order to understand it; and to evaluate means to judge how good, useful, or successful someone or something is. These are three different definitions. Now let’s reduce the definitions.

  • Explore: think about the something carefully
  • Analyze: examine the something carefully in order to understand it
  • Evaluate: judge the usefulness of something or someone

Now that we have our definitions, we can use them as guides for crafting an analysis.

Click here to review an example of a step-by-step process for understanding how to apply composition critical analysis terms within your papers. The next post represents an application of “explore,” “analyze,” and “evaluate” to Steinbeck’s “Chrysanthemums.”

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.

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