Analysis Guidelines (Modified from Thomas)

Use the following questions to guide your analysis of the four texts under consideration for Analysis Paper I.

Answer the following questions thoroughly and specifically. Glean examples from the text. Some of the questions may not apply to all the texts. This analysis will serve as a collecting strategy for your paper.

  • What overall purpose(s) does the text serve? Is its intent to answer a question, pose a problem, add to research on a given topic, introduce a new idea, argue a point, etc.? How can you tell?
  • Where did this text originally appear? What, from the context in which it appeared or the article itself, can you tell about its audience? For example, are they experts in the topic, novices? Do you feel you are part of the intended audience? How can you tell?
  • What is the subject of the text? What themes does the text explore/reflect?
  • What types of evidence are used? What does this suggest about the author's assumptions regarding the audience? What does the choice of evidence tell you about what is valued in the sciences?
  • What strategies does the writer use? Examples of strategies include argument, inductive/deductive reasoning, narration, analysis, application of theory.
  • Assess the style of the piece. List examples of techniques (figurative language, repetition, complex sentences, etc.) and specialized vocabulary. If specialized vocabulary is used, is it explained or are readers expected to know it?

Look over your answers to all of the questions above. What patterns emerge? What values and assumptions are revealed? What can you say about writing in the humanities based on this text? Make some tentative generalizations about expository writing in the sciences based on the texts you were given.