An analysis is a tool that creates smaller pieces from an original whole and new wholes from originally separate pieces.   It is the application of a governing idea, or general principles, to specific situations.  An analysis does three things:  first, it allows for separation and discrimination (identifying) of parts that were previously unseen. Second, it suggests useful comparisons and contrasts and allows for the combination of previously unconnected and distinct elements. Third, it leads to new uses and actions. To know if an analytical tool “works,” you have to apply it to many individual cases and explore its powers. 


These are the four qualities of a good analytical statement: 

  • It has force.  Others are persuaded to use this governing idea.
  • It has breadth.  It covers all possible elements in the field that you are observing.
  • It has precision/distinction.   It allows for precise and distinct comparisons with all other elements in the field.
  • It produces useful groupings.  It suggests new ways to align elements, new conclusions about those elements, and new actions to take.

  Analysis Checklist


1. Does your introduction include a thesis statement? Is that statement logical and tenable and refutable? Does your thesis states principles that can be applied to new situations?  Have you also suggested conclusions or actions? Have you explained to your reader why he or she should care about this issue?

2. Have you selected a format suitable for your analysis?

3.  Do your body paragraphs flow in logical order?  Do you have good transition sentences leading from one paragraph to the next?  Do you include quotations from your sources?


4. Does your conclusion reiterate why the particular principles apply to the new situation? Have you briefly re-stated the reasons for your conclusions or actions?


5.  Do you have a Works Cited page?


Possible Format for Analysis Paper using 7 sources:


Paragraph 1: Introduction and thesis statement. Why it matters...

Paragraph 2: Criterion A (Derived from Author Lowell, Miller and Nestor )

Paragraph 3: Criterion B  (Derived from Author Oplontz, Price, Quintillian, )

Paragraph 4: Criterion C  (Derived from Author Russell)

Paragraph 5: Summary discussion of criteria

Paragraph 6: Application of criteria to Case 1

Paragraph 7: Application of criteria to Case 2

Paragraph 8: Application of criteria to Case 3

Paragraph 9 & 10: Conclusion:  important new conclusions and grouping suggested by criteria.

Works Cited Page: Lowell, Miller, Nestor, Oplontz, Price, Quintillian, Russell