Analyzing & Synthesizing Sources: Analysis: Definition and Examples
Last updated 11/8/2016
Video Length: 2:50
Visual: The screen shows the Walden University Writing Center logo along with a pencil and notebook. “Walden University Writing Center.” “Your writing, grammar, and APA experts” appears in center of screen. The background changes to the title of the video with open books in the background.
Audio: Guitar music plays.
Visual: Slide changes to the title “Analysis” and the following: Interpreting, commenting on, explaining, discussion of, or making connections between ideas for the reader.
Audio: Analysis is really, you're interpreting, you're commenting on, you're explaining, your discussion of, or making connections between ideas for your reader. So, it's really what I like to say, answering the "so what?" question. In our writing, we include evidence from sources, either paraphrasing or quoting. We use that evidence, and then we need to explain to our reader, so what? Why does that evidence matter? What does it mean? Why am I including it in my writing?
Visual: Slide changes to the title “Examples of Analysis” and the following example:
Townsend (2015) found that the majority of online students are also nontraditional students. Online universities must adjust their approach to teaching students with this idea in mind.
Audio: So let’s look at some examples here. So we have “Townsend (2015)…”. The next sentence is our sentence of analysis, the one in bold. It's taking that evidence and saying, this is what we need to do with it--this is what matters, this is what this evidence means. It's really the place where the author is adding their own perspective to this information, right? So it's adding to it, it's kind of commenting on this evidence. It's inserting a little bit of the writer's own voice.
Visual: The following example is added to the slide:
Smith (2016) discovered a connection between birth order and personality traits. However, Smith’s (2010) results are less likely to be generalizable due to the use of a small, homogenous population of 11 siblings.
Audio: So the next example we have here "Smith's (2010) results are less likely to be generalizable." So what the author is saying here is that although Smith (2016) found a connection, we really can't generalize those results because there's too small of a population. So we're taking that information that Smith (2016) presented, and we're commenting on it, and saying, well, actually, you know, although this is what they found, this is what the author found, we can't generalize it, right? So we're adding to this information, commenting on this evidence, explaining what it means or how we can use it, right? That's another way to think about this--analysis is explaining how we can use this information or how I, as the author, might be using this information in my discussion.
Visual: The following example is added to the slide:
New nurses experience less burnout with a strong mentoring program (Dusek, 2014). I have seen this research hold true in my hospital where our mentoring program helps new hires avoid burnout.
Audio: All right, another example. So this is a sentence of evidence. And then our analysis. Now, this is a little bit of a different kind of piece of analysis, right? We're using "I" and in this sentence, the author is taking what Dusek (2014) has said and applying it to their own context, to their own hospital. This is just another kind of analysis where what the, the student is doing is taking the information and applying it to their own context. And that's perfectly acceptable in certain situations and certain kinds of papers, right. In some of papers you're asked to reflect on your reading and apply it to your own organization, or your own experiences, and this is a place where you can do that, right? You can use that evidence that you found and apply it to your own context and explain how it relates to your own, to your own experiences.
As long as you're pairing analysis and evidence together, you only need to cite in that evidence sentence. So it's very clear in these examples, right, that the first sentence comes from a source. And then the second sentence, because there's no citation, that's where the the reader knows that the author is adding their own analysis.
So all of these are examples, all of these sentences in bold, are examples of analysis. But they are all a little bit different, right? All of them kind of take a different tone. They take a little bit of a different approach. And that's perfectly okay. Analysis is very personal to the individual writer. The approach you take is very individual to how you're using that evidence and your purpose for using that evidence as well. So analysis is really driven by the purpose of how you're using that evidence, okay? So it's really important to be very intentional with your analysis, and think, okay, I've included this evidence. I've included this information for my source. Now, why did I include it? What do I want my reader to get from this information? That's really what you to want to sort of represent in your analysis. And that's why analysis is so important, because it's really about showing, as the author, your purpose for including information and how you're using it.
Visual: Slide changes to show the following: What do you want the reader to walk away from that paragraph knowing, understanding, or believing?
Audio: So this is another way to think about it. What do you want the reader to walk away from that paragraph knowing, understanding, or believing? And this can be a question you can ask yourself. You can write it down and have it on top of your computer. And your answer to that question is your analysis, right? That's what you want to include, and represent, and state in that paragraph.
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