How to Write an A + Text Analysis


From the Syllabus: "Also important for academic success is the ability to identify and classify specific information from a text. In your reading analysis paragraphs, you will be asked to extract information from a text and paraphrase it in a well-developed paragraph."

Follow the assignment closely!  A textual analysis, like any other writing, has to have a specific audience and purpose, and you must carefully write it to serve that audience and fulfill that specific purpose.

Points to check:

         In any analysis, the first sentence or the topic sentence mentions the title, author and main point of the article, and is written in grammatically correct English.

         An analysis is written in your own words and takes the text apart bit by bit. It usually includes very few quotes but many references to the original text. It analyzes the text somewhat like a forensics lab analyzes evidence for clues: carefully, meticulously and in fine detail.  

         In this particular type of reading analysis, you are not looking at all of the main ideas in a text, or the structure of the text.  Instead, you are given a question that has you explore just one or two main ideas in the text and you have to explain in detail what the text says about the assigned idea(s), focusing only on the content of the text.  Do not include your own response to the text.

         An analysis is very specific, and should not include vague, poofy generalities.

         The most common serious errors in this type of text analysis are
* including irrelevant ideas from the text,
* inserting your own opinions, or
* omitting key relevant information from the text.

          Any analysis is very closely focused on the text being analyzed, and is not the place to introduce your own original lines of thought, opinions, discussion or reaction on the ideas in question.  

         When you quote anything from the original text, even an unusual word or a catchy phrase, you need to put whatever you quote in quotation marks ( ).  A good rule of thumb is that if the word or phrase you quote is not part of your own ordinary vocabulary (or the ordinary vocabulary of your intended audience), use quotation marks. Quotes should be rare.

         An analysis should end appropriately with a sense of closure (and not just stop because you run out of things to write!) and should finish up with a renewed emphasis on the ideas in question. However, DO NOT repeat what you wrote at the beginning of the analysis. 

         It is not possible to analyze a text without reading the text through carefully first and understanding it.    

How analysis papers are graded

In an effective reading analysis paper:

Owen M. Williamson - Education Bldg 211E - phone: (915) 747 7625 - fax: (915) 747 5655
The University of Texas at El Paso - 500 W. University Ave. - El Paso, TX 79968
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