What is Analysis?

Analysis can be two things:

  1. A deeper consideration or more thorough explanation of the topic sentence. What exactly are you trying to tell the audience?
  2. A connection between the evidence, the main idea of the body paragraph, and the thesis of the paper. How does your evidence prove your point?


**NOTE:  Students often mistake examples of the idea as analysis; examples are evidence which must then be analyzed.


The Analytic Gap

A common flaw in many papers is that the student has skipped analysis, and has jumped to the more comfortable ground of presenting evidence, which is usually easier because it involves using a quote or narrating a bit of plot. Analytic writing tends to be more abstract, and requires a grasp of the larger concept. When this step is missing, it leaves an analytic gap.


In The Nun’s Priest’s Tale, Chaucer illustrates the faults of courtly love. Chaunticleer, the rooster, loves one of the hens more than the others. When Chaunticleer tries to communicate with Pertilote, she chides him for not being a man.

GAP: What are the faults of courtly love? The writer has plunged right into characters and plot without listing those faults of courtly or illustrating why they are important.


Hamlet’s behavior reflects a code of ethics that is established throughout the play. First, the death of Old Hamlet raises the question of whether it was ethical for Hamlet to mourn for a long period of time.

GAP: What is the code of ethics established by the play?

SAMPLE 3: (Analysis underlined)

Brian Gilbert’s ethics are based on the medieval ideal of chivalry that might makes right. He feels that moral questions can be solved by force. He holds the belief that in battle or confrontation, God would give the strength to whomever He felt was right. For example, when Rebecca is put on trial for sorcery, Gilbert’s Order of Knights Templars commands that the only way her guilt or innocence can be decided is by the sword.