Don't panic when your instructor tells you that you need to write an analysis! All he or she wants is for you to take something apart to see HOW it works.
To write an analysis, you need to think about how each part of something contributes to the success of the whole.
Caution! Make sure that you're NOT just summarizing the original article, story, novel, poem, etc. Go beyond simply telling us WHAT you are talking about: describe HOW and WHY its elements function.
Specific Information for Analyzing Literature
Summarizing = WHAT
Analyzing = HOW & WHY
When you think about analysis, try thinking about how you might analyze a car.
- Ask yourself: What do we want the car to do or accomplish?
- Answer: (minivan) “provide transportation for my family”
- Analysis: how does each part of the van achieve this goal?
- Example: gasoline powers the engine
- Answer: (sports car) “speed, agility, and style”
- Analysis: how does each part of the sports car achieve this goal?
- Example: light-weight construction enables speed
Analysis Essay for Portfolio 3 (Kiefer)
40% of this portfolio grade will be based on group workto prepare for an individual paper analyzing one of the arguments the group works on. Once you join a group of 3-5 students working on a topic, you commit to that topic, so skim all the essays and read carefully the ones for the group you think you'll choose before you commit.
- Each group member will draft a summary or Toulmin analysis of each essay assigned to your group. You can use different strategies for each essay, but make sure your group agrees on the strategy for each essay so that you all do the same thing.
- Group members will exchange drafts and discuss differences. Do the drafts suggest points of analysis you missed? Are the points the drafts agree on the most important ones to take up in your final individual analysis?
- Consider revising the summary or Toulmin analysis if such revisions will help you prepare for the final paper.
- Post the best draft of each essay analysis on the Web forum and generate discussion questions based on your group discussions of these drafts. (I have two sections of 250 this term, so more than one group will work on each topic. You should definitely take advantage of the insights generated by other groups.)
- You will also generate group responses to two sets of guided analysis questions about the essays students in your group have decided to write about. One set of guided analysis questions is on audience analysis and one is on organization/development/style. Post these responses on the Web forum.
- In addition to items posted or submitted from your group work, please keep a detailed log of group activities and how much time you spend on them. Include the following kinds of information: date, length of time on task, type of task, type of "meeting"--face-to-face, e-mail, telephone.
60% of this portfolio grade will be based on a final paper.Each student will write an individual analysis of one essay assigned to your group. Group members will be involved in peer review of these drafts. Unless you arrange another alternative with me, CO250 students constitute the audience for this paper.
Analyze one of the essays. Two options:
- Select elements from the following list to analyze: the essay's overall organization, quality of evidence, attention to audience, balance of various appeals, focus of thesis, development of supporting arguments, quality of logical appeals, style. Use the analysis to argue against the author's thesis.
- Select elements from the following list to analyze: the essay's overall organization, quality of evidence, attention to audience, balance of various appeals, focus of thesis, development of supporting arguments, quality of logical appeals, style. Use the analysis to argue for specific ways to improve the essay. (In other words, you accept the thesis but use your analysis to argue for better ways to support and develop that claim.)
If, as you work on your analysis, you see a third option, outline what you'd like to do in your essay. (For instance, you might want to try using your analysis to persuade other CO250 students to use or not use a specific arguing strategy.) You must have my prior approval to use a third option for the individual essay in portfolio 3.
NB: The selected readings, though clustered in groups, do not argue for the same focal issues within the large topic. One other point your analysis may want to take up is whether or not the specific focus of a given essay is an important enough chunk of the large subject to spend time and energy on.
As part of your preparation for the group work and the final paper, remember to read the headnotes of the three chapters in Aims.
Poverty and Welfare- Marin, Lovern, Kallick, Murray
Immigration - Brimelow, Chavez, Mills, Silko
Political Correctness and Multiculturalism - Gates, Kagan, D'Souza, Ehrenreich