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Using Evidence: Analysis

Analysis

Beyond introducing and integrating your paraphrases and quotations, you also need to analyze the evidence in your paragraphs. Analysis is your opportunity to contextualize and explain the evidence for your reader. Your analysis might tell the reader why the evidence is important, what it means, or how it connects to other ideas in your writing.

Note that analysis often leads to synthesis, an extension and more complicated form of analysis. See our synthesis page for more information.

Example 1 of Analysis

Without Analysis

Embryonic stem cell research uses the stem cells from an embryo, causing much ethical debate in the scientific and political communities (Robinson, 2011). "Politicians don't know science" (James, 2010, p. 24). Academic discussion of both should continue (Robinson, 2011).

With Analysis (Added in Bold)

Embryonic stem cell research uses the stem cells from an embryo, causing much ethical debate in the scientific and political communities (Robinson, 2011). However, many politicians use the issue to stir up unnecessary emotion on both sides of the issues. James (2010) explained that "politicians don't know science," (p. 24) so scientists should not be listening to politics. Instead, Robinson (2011) suggested that academic discussion of both embryonic and adult stem cell research should continue in order for scientists to best utilize their resources while being mindful of ethical challenges.

Note that in the first example, the reader cannot know how the quotation fits into the paragraph. Also, note that the word both was unclear. In the revision, however, that the writer clearly (a) explained the quotations as well as the source material, (b) introduced the information sufficiently, and (c) integrated the ideas into the paragraph.

Example 2 of Analysis

Without Analysis

Trow (1939) measured the effects of emotional responses on learning and found that student memorization dropped greatly with the introduction of a clock. Errors increased even more when intellectual inferiority regarding grades became a factor (Trow, 1939). The group that was allowed to learn free of restrictions from grades and time limits performed better on all tasks (Trow, 1939).

In this example, the author has successfully paraphrased the key findings from a study. However, there is no conclusion being drawn about those findings. Readers have a difficult time processing the evidence without some sort of ending explanation, an answer to the question so what? So what about this study? Why does it even matter?

With Analysis (Added in Bold)

Trow (1939) measured the effects of emotional responses on learning and found that student memorization dropped greatly with the introduction of a clock. Errors increased even more when intellectual inferiority regarding grades became a factor (Trow, 1939). The group that was allowed to learn free of restrictions from grades and time limits performed better on all tasks (Trow, 1939). Therefore, negative learning environments and students' emotional reactions can indeed hinder achievement.

Here the meaning becomes clear. The study’s findings support the claim the reader is making: that school environment affects achievement.