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Writing Center

Problems with Writing Analysis

Analysis is the glue that connects your main idea to your evidence.

The analysis in a piece of writing explains the significance of the specific examples presented and shows the reader why the examples are important.

Sometimes the specific examples in a paper are quotations from your sources. Quotations always need careful analysis to show your reader what is important. A good rule of thumb for using quotations is write about the quote for at least twice as many lines as the quote itself. In an college paper, it is rare to end a paragraph with a quotation.

Analysis answers the question: Why are you telling me all this?

If your professor is asking for more analysis, it usually means that you are simply presenting or summarizing the facts or other information, but not clearly explaining why this information is important.

Writers sometimes rely on too much summary instead of analysis. If your teacher asks for more analysis, it may also mean you have too much summary. This page from the University of North Carolina online writing center explains the difference between summary and analysis.

Is this you?

Many times writers see an obvious connection between their examples and their arguments, and they think that a smart reader should be able to see those same connections just as easily. Sometimes people think—“If I thought of it, it must be obvious.”

But actually it’s not. All of our brains work differently, and the connections you make are more unique and creative than you may give yourself credit for.

The job of a writer is to make that creative thought-process clear and available to your reader.