• PRO Courses Guides New Tech Help Pro Expert Videos About wikiHow Pro Upgrade Sign In
  • EDIT Edit this Article
  • EXPLORE Tech Help Pro About Us Random Article Quizzes Request a New Article Community Dashboard This Or That Game Popular Categories Arts and Entertainment Artwork Books Movies Computers and Electronics Computers Phone Skills Technology Hacks Health Men's Health Mental Health Women's Health Relationships Dating Love Relationship Issues Hobbies and Crafts Crafts Drawing Games Education & Communication Communication Skills Personal Development Studying Personal Care and Style Fashion Hair Care Personal Hygiene Youth Personal Care School Stuff Dating All Categories Arts and Entertainment Finance and Business Home and Garden Relationship Quizzes Cars & Other Vehicles Food and Entertaining Personal Care and Style Sports and Fitness Computers and Electronics Health Pets and Animals Travel Education & Communication Hobbies and Crafts Philosophy and Religion Work World Family Life Holidays and Traditions Relationships Youth
  • Browse Articles
  • Learn Something New
  • Quizzes Hot
  • This Or That Game New
  • Train Your Brain
  • Explore More
  • Support wikiHow
  • About wikiHow
  • Log in / Sign up
  • Finance and Business
  • Business Skills
  • Business Writing

How to Write an Analysis

Last Updated: January 31, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Christopher Taylor, PhD and by wikiHow staff writer, Megaera Lorenz, PhD . Christopher Taylor is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of English at Austin Community College in Texas. He received his PhD in English Literature and Medieval Studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014. There are 14 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 283,631 times.

An analysis is a piece of writing that looks at some aspect of a document in detail. To write a good analysis, you’ll need to ask yourself questions that focus on how and why the document works the way it does. You can start the process by gathering information about the subject of your analysis and defining the questions your analysis will answer. Once you’ve outlined your main arguments, look for specific evidence to support them. You can then work on putting your analysis together into a coherent piece of writing.

Gathering Information and Building Your Argument

Step 1 Review your assignment carefully.

  • If your analysis is supposed to answer a specific question or focus on a particular aspect of the document you are analyzing.
  • If there are any length or formatting requirements for the analysis.
  • The citation style your instructor wants you to use.
  • On what criteria your instructor will evaluate your analysis (e.g., organization, originality, good use of references and quotations, or correct spelling and grammar).

Step 2 Gather basic information about the subject of your analysis.

  • The title of the document (if it has one).
  • The name of the creator of the document. For example, depending on the type of document you’re working with, this could be the author, artist, director, performer, or photographer.
  • The form and medium of the document (e.g., “Painting, oil on canvas”).
  • When and where the document was created.
  • The historical and cultural context of the work.

Step 3 Do a close reading of the document and take notes.

  • Who you believe the intended audience is for the advertisement.
  • What rhetorical choices the author made to persuade the audience of their main point.
  • What product is being advertised.
  • How the poster uses images to make the product look appealing.
  • Whether there is any text in the poster, and, if so, how it works together with the images to reinforce the message of the ad.
  • What the purpose of the ad is or what its main point is.

Step 4 Determine which question(s) you would like to answer with your analysis.

  • For example, if you’re analyzing an advertisement poster, you might focus on the question: “How does this poster use colors to symbolize the problem that the product is intended to fix? Does it also use color to represent the beneficial results of using the product?”

Step 5 Make a list of your main arguments.

  • For example, you might write, “This poster uses the color red to symbolize the pain of a headache. The blue elements in the design represent the relief brought by the product.”
  • You could develop the argument further by saying, “The colors used in the text reinforce the use of colors in the graphic elements of the poster, helping the viewer make a direct connection between the words and images.”

Step 6 Gather evidence and examples to support your arguments.

  • For example, if you’re arguing that the advertisement poster uses red to represent pain, you might point out that the figure of the headache sufferer is red, while everyone around them is blue. Another piece of evidence might be the use of red lettering for the words “HEADACHE” and “PAIN” in the text of the poster.
  • You could also draw on outside evidence to support your claims. For example, you might point out that in the country where the advertisement was produced, the color red is often symbolically associated with warnings or danger.

Tip: If you’re analyzing a text, make sure to properly cite any quotations that you use to support your arguments. Put any direct quotations in quotation marks (“”) and be sure to give location information, such as the page number where the quote appears. Additionally, follow the citation requirements for the style guide assigned by your instructor or one that's commonly used for the subject matter you're writing about.

Organizing and Drafting Your Analysis

Step 1 Write a brief...

  • For example, “The poster ‘Say! What a relief,’ created in 1932 by designer Dorothy Plotzky, uses contrasting colors to symbolize the pain of a headache and the relief brought by Miss Burnham’s Pep-Em-Up Pills. The red elements denote pain, while blue ones indicate soothing relief.”

Tip: Your instructor might have specific directions about which information to include in your thesis statement (e.g., the title, author, and date of the document you are analyzing). If you’re not sure how to format your thesis statement or topic sentence, don’t hesitate to ask.

Step 2 Create an outline...

  • a. Background
  • ii. Analysis/Explanation
  • iii. Example
  • iv. Analysis/Explanation
  • III. Conclusion

Step 3 Draft an introductory paragraph.

  • For example, “In the late 1920s, Kansas City schoolteacher Ethel Burnham developed a patent headache medication that quickly achieved commercial success throughout the American Midwest. The popularity of the medicine was largely due to a series of simple but eye-catching advertising posters that were created over the next decade. The poster ‘Say! What a relief,’ created in 1932 by designer Dorothy Plotzky, uses contrasting colors to symbolize the pain of a headache and the relief brought by Miss Burnham’s Pep-Em-Up Pills.”

Step 4 Use the body of the essay to present your main arguments.

  • Make sure to include clear transitions between each argument and each paragraph. Use transitional words and phrases, such as “Furthermore,” “Additionally,” “For example,” “Likewise,” or “In contrast . . .”
  • The best way to organize your arguments will vary based on the individual topic and the specific points you are trying to make. For example, in your analysis of the poster, you might start with arguments about the red visual elements and then move on to a discussion about how the red text fits in.

Step 5 Compose a conclusion...

  • For example, you might end your essay with a few sentences about how other advertisements at the time might have been influenced by Dorothy Plotzky’s use of colors.

Step 6 Avoid presenting your personal opinions on the document.

  • For example, in your discussion of the advertisement, avoid stating that you think the art is “beautiful” or that the advertisement is “boring.” Instead, focus on what the poster was supposed to accomplish and how the designer attempted to achieve those goals.

Polishing Your Analysis

Step 1 Check that the organization of your analysis makes sense.

  • For example, if your essay currently skips around between discussions of the red and blue elements of the poster, consider reorganizing it so that you discuss all the red elements first, then focus on the blue ones.

Step 2 Look for areas where you might clarify your writing or add details.

  • For example, you might look for places where you could provide additional examples to support one of your major arguments.

Step 3 Cut out any irrelevant passages.

  • For example, if you included a paragraph about Dorothy Plotzky’s previous work as a children’s book illustrator, you may want to cut it if it doesn’t somehow relate to her use of color in advertising.
  • Cutting material out of your analysis may be difficult, especially if you put a lot of thought into each sentence or found the additional material really interesting. Your analysis will be stronger if you keep it concise and to the point, however.

Step 4 Proofread your writing and fix any errors.

  • You may find it helpful to have someone else go over your essay and look for any mistakes you might have missed.

Tip: When you’re reading silently, it’s easy to miss typos and other small errors because your brain corrects them automatically. Reading your work out loud can make problems easier to spot.

Sample Analysis Outline and Conclusion

how to write research paper analysis

Expert Q&A

Christopher Taylor, PhD

You Might Also Like

Write

  • ↑ https://lsa.umich.edu/sweetland/undergraduates/writing-guides/how-do-i-make-sure-i-understand-an-assignment-.html
  • ↑ https://www.bucks.edu/media/bcccmedialibrary/pdf/HOWTOWRITEALITERARYANALYSISESSAY_10.15.07_001.pdf
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/visual_rhetoric/analyzing_visual_documents/elements_of_analysis.html
  • ↑ https://lsa.umich.edu/sweetland/undergraduates/writing-guides/how-can-i-create-stronger-analysis-.html
  • ↑ https://lsa.umich.edu/sweetland/undergraduates/writing-guides/how-do-i-decide-what-i-should-argue-.html
  • ↑ https://lsa.umich.edu/sweetland/undergraduates/writing-guides/how-do-i-effectively-integrate-textual-evidence-.html
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.uagc.edu/writing-a-thesis
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/visual_rhetoric/analyzing_visual_documents/organizing_your_analysis.html
  • ↑ https://lsa.umich.edu/sweetland/undergraduates/writing-guides/how-do-i-write-an-intro--conclusion----body-paragraph.html
  • ↑ http://utminers.utep.edu/omwilliamson/engl0310/Textanalysis.htm
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/graduate_writing/graduate_writing_topics/graduate_writing_organization_structure_new.html
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/mechanics/sentence_clarity.html
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/conciseness-handout/
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/editing-and-proofreading/

About This Article

Christopher Taylor, PhD

If you need to write an analysis, first look closely at your assignment to make sure you understand the requirements. Then, gather background information about the document you’ll be analyzing and do a close read so that you’re thoroughly familiar with the subject matter. If it’s not already specified in your assignment, come up with one or more specific question’s you’d like your analysis to answer, then outline your main arguments. Finally, gather evidence and examples to support your arguments. Read on to learn how to organize, draft, and polish your analysis! Did this summary help you? Yes No

  • Send fan mail to authors

Did this article help you?

Am I a Narcissist or an Empath Quiz

Featured Articles

Learn to Say No

Trending Articles

How to Take the Perfect Thirst Trap

Watch Articles

Wrap a Round Gift

  • Terms of Use
  • Privacy Policy
  • Do Not Sell or Share My Info
  • Not Selling Info

wikiHow Tech Help Pro:

Develop the tech skills you need for work and life

  • Skip to main content
  • Skip to ChatBot Assistant
  • Academic Writing
  • What is a Research Paper?
  • Steps in Writing a Research Paper
  • Critical Reading and Writing
  • Punctuation
  • Writing Exercises
  • ELL/ESL Resources

Analysis in Research Papers

To analyze means to break a topic or concept down into its parts in order to inspect and understand it, and to restructure those parts in a way that makes sense to you. In an analytical research paper, you do research to become an expert on a topic so that you can restructure and present the parts of the topic from your own perspective.

For example, you could analyze the role of the mother in the ancient Egyptian family. You could break down that topic into its parts--the mother's duties in the family, social status, and expected role in the larger society--and research those parts in order to present your general perspective and conclusion about the mother's role.

Need Assistance?

If you would like assistance with any type of writing assignment, learning coaches are available to assist you. Please contact Academic Support by emailing [email protected].

Questions or feedback about SUNY Empire's Writing Support?

Contact us at [email protected] .

Smart Cookies

They're not just in our classes – they help power our website. Cookies and similar tools allow us to better understand the experience of our visitors. By continuing to use this website, you consent to SUNY Empire State University's usage of cookies and similar technologies in accordance with the university's Privacy Notice and Cookies Policy .

  • 8.5 Writing Process: Creating an Analytical Report
  • 1 Unit Introduction

Introduction

  • 1.1 "Reading" to Understand and Respond
  • 1.2 Social Media Trailblazer: Selena Gomez
  • 1.3 Glance at Critical Response: Rhetoric and Critical Thinking
  • 1.4 Annotated Student Sample: Social Media Post and Responses on Voter Suppression
  • 1.5 Writing Process: Thinking Critically About a “Text”
  • 1.6 Evaluation: Intention vs. Execution
  • 1.7 Spotlight on … Academia
  • 1.8 Portfolio: Tracing Writing Development
  • Further Reading
  • Works Cited
  • 2.1 Seeds of Self
  • 2.2 Identity Trailblazer: Cathy Park Hong
  • 2.3 Glance at the Issues: Oppression and Reclamation
  • 2.4 Annotated Sample Reading from The Souls of Black Folk by W. E. B. Du Bois
  • 2.5 Writing Process: Thinking Critically about How Identity Is Constructed Through Writing
  • 2.6 Evaluation: Antiracism and Inclusivity
  • 2.7 Spotlight on … Variations of English
  • 2.8 Portfolio: Decolonizing Self
  • 3.1 Identity and Expression
  • 3.2 Literacy Narrative Trailblazer: Tara Westover
  • 3.3 Glance at Genre: The Literacy Narrative
  • 3.4 Annotated Sample Reading: from Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass
  • 3.5 Writing Process: Tracing the Beginnings of Literacy
  • 3.6 Editing Focus: Sentence Structure
  • 3.7 Evaluation: Self-Evaluating
  • 3.8 Spotlight on … The Digital Archive of Literacy Narratives (DALN)
  • 3.9 Portfolio: A Literacy Artifact
  • Works Consulted
  • 2 Unit Introduction
  • 4.1 Exploring the Past to Understand the Present
  • 4.2 Memoir Trailblazer: Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • 4.3 Glance at Genre: Conflict, Detail, and Revelation
  • 4.4 Annotated Sample Reading: from Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain
  • 4.5 Writing Process: Making the Personal Public
  • 4.6 Editing Focus: More on Characterization and Point of View
  • 4.7 Evaluation: Structure and Organization
  • 4.8 Spotlight on … Multilingual Writers
  • 4.9 Portfolio: Filtered Memories
  • 5.1 Profiles as Inspiration
  • 5.2 Profile Trailblazer: Veronica Chambers
  • 5.3 Glance at Genre: Subject, Angle, Background, and Description
  • 5.4 Annotated Sample Reading: “Remembering John Lewis” by Carla D. Hayden
  • 5.5 Writing Process: Focusing on the Angle of Your Subject
  • 5.6 Editing Focus: Verb Tense Consistency
  • 5.7 Evaluation: Text as Personal Introduction
  • 5.8 Spotlight on … Profiling a Cultural Artifact
  • 5.9 Portfolio: Subject as a Reflection of Self
  • 6.1 Proposing Change: Thinking Critically About Problems and Solutions
  • 6.2 Proposal Trailblazer: Atul Gawande
  • 6.3 Glance at Genre: Features of Proposals
  • 6.4 Annotated Student Sample: “Slowing Climate Change” by Shawn Krukowski
  • 6.5 Writing Process: Creating a Proposal
  • 6.6 Editing Focus: Subject-Verb Agreement
  • 6.7 Evaluation: Conventions, Clarity, and Coherence
  • 6.8 Spotlight on … Technical Writing as a Career
  • 6.9 Portfolio: Reflecting on Problems and Solutions
  • 7.1 Thumbs Up or Down?
  • 7.2 Review Trailblazer: Michiko Kakutani
  • 7.3 Glance at Genre: Criteria, Evidence, Evaluation
  • 7.4 Annotated Student Sample: "Black Representation in Film" by Caelia Marshall
  • 7.5 Writing Process: Thinking Critically About Entertainment
  • 7.6 Editing Focus: Quotations
  • 7.7 Evaluation: Effect on Audience
  • 7.8 Spotlight on … Language and Culture
  • 7.9 Portfolio: What the Arts Say About You
  • 8.1 Information and Critical Thinking
  • 8.2 Analytical Report Trailblazer: Barbara Ehrenreich
  • 8.3 Glance at Genre: Informal and Formal Analytical Reports
  • 8.4 Annotated Student Sample: "U.S. Response to COVID-19" by Trevor Garcia
  • 8.6 Editing Focus: Commas with Nonessential and Essential Information
  • 8.7 Evaluation: Reviewing the Final Draft
  • 8.8 Spotlight on … Discipline-Specific and Technical Language
  • 8.9 Portfolio: Evidence and Objectivity
  • 9.1 Breaking the Whole into Its Parts
  • 9.2 Rhetorical Analysis Trailblazer: Jamil Smith
  • 9.3 Glance at Genre: Rhetorical Strategies
  • 9.4 Annotated Student Sample: “Rhetorical Analysis: Evicted by Matthew Desmond” by Eliana Evans
  • 9.5 Writing Process: Thinking Critically about Rhetoric
  • 9.6 Editing Focus: Mixed Sentence Constructions
  • 9.7 Evaluation: Rhetorical Analysis
  • 9.8 Spotlight on … Business and Law
  • 9.9 Portfolio: How Thinking Critically about Rhetoric Affects Intellectual Growth
  • 10.1 Making a Case: Defining a Position Argument
  • 10.2 Position Argument Trailblazer: Charles Blow
  • 10.3 Glance at Genre: Thesis, Reasoning, and Evidence
  • 10.4 Annotated Sample Reading: "Remarks at the University of Michigan" by Lyndon B. Johnson
  • 10.5 Writing Process: Creating a Position Argument
  • 10.6 Editing Focus: Paragraphs and Transitions
  • 10.7 Evaluation: Varied Appeals
  • 10.8 Spotlight on … Citation
  • 10.9 Portfolio: Growth in the Development of Argument
  • 11.1 Developing Your Sense of Logic
  • 11.2 Reasoning Trailblazer: Paul D. N. Hebert
  • 11.3 Glance at Genre: Reasoning Strategies and Signal Words
  • 11.4 Annotated Sample Reading: from Book VII of The Republic by Plato
  • 11.5 Writing Process: Reasoning Supported by Evidence
  • 12.1 Introducing Research and Research Evidence
  • 12.2 Argumentative Research Trailblazer: Samin Nosrat
  • 12.3 Glance at Genre: Introducing Research as Evidence
  • 12.4 Annotated Student Sample: "Healthy Diets from Sustainable Sources Can Save the Earth" by Lily Tran
  • 12.5 Writing Process: Integrating Research
  • 12.6 Editing Focus: Integrating Sources and Quotations
  • 12.7 Evaluation: Effectiveness of Research Paper
  • 12.8 Spotlight on … Bias in Language and Research
  • 12.9 Portfolio: Why Facts Matter in Research Argumentation
  • 13.1 The Research Process: Where to Look for Existing Sources
  • 13.2 The Research Process: How to Create Sources
  • 13.3 Glance at the Research Process: Key Skills
  • 13.4 Annotated Student Sample: Research Log
  • 13.5 Research Process: Making Notes, Synthesizing Information, and Keeping a Research Log
  • 13.6 Spotlight on … Ethical Research
  • 14.1 Compiling Sources for an Annotated Bibliography
  • 14.2 Glance at Form: Citation Style, Purpose, and Formatting
  • 14.3 Annotated Student Sample: “Healthy Diets from Sustainable Sources Can Save the Earth” by Lily Tran
  • 14.4 Writing Process: Informing and Analyzing
  • 15.1 Tracing a Broad Issue in the Individual
  • 15.2 Case Study Trailblazer: Vilayanur S. Ramachandran
  • 15.3 Glance at Genre: Observation, Description, and Analysis
  • 15.4 Annotated Sample Reading: Case Study on Louis Victor "Tan" Leborgne
  • 15.5 Writing Process: Thinking Critically About How People and Language Interact
  • 15.6 Editing Focus: Words Often Confused
  • 15.7 Evaluation: Presentation and Analysis of Case Study
  • 15.8 Spotlight on … Applied Linguistics
  • 15.9 Portfolio: Your Own Uses of Language
  • 3 Unit Introduction
  • 16.1 An Author’s Choices: What Text Says and How It Says It
  • 16.2 Textual Analysis Trailblazer: bell hooks
  • 16.3 Glance at Genre: Print or Textual Analysis
  • 16.4 Annotated Student Sample: "Artists at Work" by Gwyn Garrison
  • 16.5 Writing Process: Thinking Critically About Text
  • 16.6 Editing Focus: Literary Works Live in the Present
  • 16.7 Evaluation: Self-Directed Assessment
  • 16.8 Spotlight on … Humanities
  • 16.9 Portfolio: The Academic and the Personal
  • 17.1 “Reading” Images
  • 17.2 Image Trailblazer: Sara Ludy
  • 17.3 Glance at Genre: Relationship Between Image and Rhetoric
  • 17.4 Annotated Student Sample: “Hints of the Homoerotic” by Leo Davis
  • 17.5 Writing Process: Thinking Critically and Writing Persuasively About Images
  • 17.6 Editing Focus: Descriptive Diction
  • 17.7 Evaluation: Relationship Between Analysis and Image
  • 17.8 Spotlight on … Video and Film
  • 17.9 Portfolio: Interplay Between Text and Image
  • 18.1 Mixing Genres and Modes
  • 18.2 Multimodal Trailblazer: Torika Bolatagici
  • 18.3 Glance at Genre: Genre, Audience, Purpose, Organization
  • 18.4 Annotated Sample Reading: “Celebrating a Win-Win” by Alexandra Dapolito Dunn
  • 18.5 Writing Process: Create a Multimodal Advocacy Project
  • 18.6 Evaluation: Transitions
  • 18.7 Spotlight on . . . Technology
  • 18.8 Portfolio: Multimodalism
  • 19.1 Writing, Speaking, and Activism
  • 19.2 Podcast Trailblazer: Alice Wong
  • 19.3 Glance at Genre: Language Performance and Visuals
  • 19.4 Annotated Student Sample: “Are New DOT Regulations Discriminatory?” by Zain A. Kumar
  • 19.5 Writing Process: Writing to Speak
  • 19.6 Evaluation: Bridging Writing and Speaking
  • 19.7 Spotlight on … Delivery/Public Speaking
  • 19.8 Portfolio: Everyday Rhetoric, Rhetoric Every Day
  • 20.1 Thinking Critically about Your Semester
  • 20.2 Reflection Trailblazer: Sandra Cisneros
  • 20.3 Glance at Genre: Purpose and Structure
  • 20.4 Annotated Sample Reading: “Don’t Expect Congrats” by Dale Trumbore
  • 20.5 Writing Process: Looking Back, Looking Forward
  • 20.6 Editing Focus: Pronouns
  • 20.7 Evaluation: Evaluating Self-Reflection
  • 20.8 Spotlight on … Pronouns in Context

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Identify the elements of the rhetorical situation for your report.
  • Find and focus a topic to write about.
  • Gather and analyze information from appropriate sources.
  • Distinguish among different kinds of evidence.
  • Draft a thesis and create an organizational plan.
  • Compose a report that develops ideas and integrates evidence from sources.
  • Give and act on productive feedback to works in progress.

You might think that writing comes easily to experienced writers—that they draft stories and college papers all at once, sitting down at the computer and having sentences flow from their fingers like water from a faucet. In reality, most writers engage in a recursive process, pushing forward, stepping back, and repeating steps multiple times as their ideas develop and change. In broad strokes, the steps most writers go through are these:

  • Planning and Organization . You will have an easier time drafting if you devote time at the beginning to consider the rhetorical situation for your report, understand your assignment, gather ideas and information, draft a thesis statement, and create an organizational plan.
  • Drafting . When you have an idea of what you want to say and the order in which you want to say it, you’re ready to draft. As much as possible, keep going until you have a complete first draft of your report, resisting the urge to go back and rewrite. Save that for after you have completed a first draft.
  • Review . Now is the time to get feedback from others, whether from your instructor, your classmates, a tutor in the writing center, your roommate, someone in your family, or someone else you trust to read your writing critically and give you honest feedback.
  • Revising . With feedback on your draft, you are ready to revise. You may need to return to an earlier step and make large-scale revisions that involve planning, organizing, and rewriting, or you may need to work mostly on ensuring that your sentences are clear and correct.

Considering the Rhetorical Situation

Like other kinds of writing projects, a report starts with assessing the rhetorical situation —the circumstance in which a writer communicates with an audience of readers about a subject. As the writer of a report, you make choices based on the purpose of your writing, the audience who will read it, the genre of the report, and the expectations of the community and culture in which you are working. A graphic organizer like Table 8.1 can help you begin.

Summary of Assignment

Write an analytical report on a topic that interests you and that you want to know more about. The topic can be contemporary or historical, but it must be one that you can analyze and support with evidence from sources.

The following questions can help you think about a topic suitable for analysis:

  • Why or how did ________ happen?
  • What are the results or effects of ________?
  • Is ________ a problem? If so, why?
  • What are examples of ________ or reasons for ________?
  • How does ________ compare to or contrast with other issues, concerns, or things?

Consult and cite three to five reliable sources. The sources do not have to be scholarly for this assignment, but they must be credible, trustworthy, and unbiased. Possible sources include academic journals, newspapers, magazines, reputable websites, government publications or agency websites, and visual sources such as TED Talks. You may also use the results of an experiment or survey, and you may want to conduct interviews.

Consider whether visuals and media will enhance your report. Can you present data you collect visually? Would a map, photograph, chart, or other graphic provide interesting and relevant support? Would video or audio allow you to present evidence that you would otherwise need to describe in words?

Another Lens. To gain another analytic view on the topic of your report, consider different people affected by it. Say, for example, that you have decided to report on recent high school graduates and the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the final months of their senior year. If you are a recent high school graduate, you might naturally gravitate toward writing about yourself and your peers. But you might also consider the adults in the lives of recent high school graduates—for example, teachers, parents, or grandparents—and how they view the same period. Or you might consider the same topic from the perspective of a college admissions department looking at their incoming freshman class.

Quick Launch: Finding and Focusing a Topic

Coming up with a topic for a report can be daunting because you can report on nearly anything. The topic can easily get too broad, trapping you in the realm of generalizations. The trick is to find a topic that interests you and focus on an angle you can analyze in order to say something significant about it. You can use a graphic organizer to generate ideas, or you can use a concept map similar to the one featured in Writing Process: Thinking Critically About a “Text.”

Asking the Journalist’s Questions

One way to generate ideas about a topic is to ask the five W (and one H) questions, also called the journalist’s questions : Who? What? When? Where? Why? How? Try answering the following questions to explore a topic:

Who was or is involved in ________?

What happened/is happening with ________? What were/are the results of ________?

When did ________ happen? Is ________ happening now?

Where did ________ happen, or where is ________ happening?

Why did ________ happen, or why is ________ happening now?

How did ________ happen?

For example, imagine that you have decided to write your analytical report on the effect of the COVID-19 shutdown on high-school students by interviewing students on your college campus. Your questions and answers might look something like those in Table 8.2 :

Asking Focused Questions

Another way to find a topic is to ask focused questions about it. For example, you might ask the following questions about the effect of the 2020 pandemic shutdown on recent high school graduates:

  • How did the shutdown change students’ feelings about their senior year?
  • How did the shutdown affect their decisions about post-graduation plans, such as work or going to college?
  • How did the shutdown affect their academic performance in high school or in college?
  • How did/do they feel about continuing their education?
  • How did the shutdown affect their social relationships?

Any of these questions might be developed into a thesis for an analytical report. Table 8.3 shows more examples of broad topics and focusing questions.

Gathering Information

Because they are based on information and evidence, most analytical reports require you to do at least some research. Depending on your assignment, you may be able to find reliable information online, or you may need to do primary research by conducting an experiment, a survey, or interviews. For example, if you live among students in their late teens and early twenties, consider what they can tell you about their lives that you might be able to analyze. Returning to or graduating from high school, starting college, or returning to college in the midst of a global pandemic has provided them, for better or worse, with educational and social experiences that are shared widely by people their age and very different from the experiences older adults had at the same age.

Some report assignments will require you to do formal research, an activity that involves finding sources and evaluating them for reliability, reading them carefully, taking notes, and citing all words you quote and ideas you borrow. See Research Process: Accessing and Recording Information and Annotated Bibliography: Gathering, Evaluating, and Documenting Sources for detailed instruction on conducting research.

Whether you conduct in-depth research or not, keep track of the ideas that come to you and the information you learn. You can write or dictate notes using an app on your phone or computer, or you can jot notes in a journal if you prefer pen and paper. Then, when you are ready to begin organizing your report, you will have a record of your thoughts and information. Always track the sources of information you gather, whether from printed or digital material or from a person you interviewed, so that you can return to the sources if you need more information. And always credit the sources in your report.

Kinds of Evidence

Depending on your assignment and the topic of your report, certain kinds of evidence may be more effective than others. Other kinds of evidence may even be required. As a general rule, choose evidence that is rooted in verifiable facts and experience. In addition, select the evidence that best supports the topic and your approach to the topic, be sure the evidence meets your instructor’s requirements, and cite any evidence you use that comes from a source. The following list contains different kinds of frequently used evidence and an example of each.

Definition : An explanation of a key word, idea, or concept.

The U.S. Census Bureau refers to a “young adult” as a person between 18 and 34 years old.

Example : An illustration of an idea or concept.

The college experience in the fall of 2020 was starkly different from that of previous years. Students who lived in residence halls were assigned to small pods. On-campus dining services were limited. Classes were small and physically distanced or conducted online. Parties were banned.

Expert opinion : A statement by a professional in the field whose opinion is respected.

According to Louise Aronson, MD, geriatrician and author of Elderhood , people over the age of 65 are the happiest of any age group, reporting “less stress, depression, worry, and anger, and more enjoyment, happiness, and satisfaction” (255).

Fact : Information that can be proven correct or accurate.

According to data collected by the NCAA, the academic success of Division I college athletes between 2015 and 2019 was consistently high (Hosick).

Interview : An in-person, phone, or remote conversation that involves an interviewer posing questions to another person or people.

During our interview, I asked Betty about living without a cell phone during the pandemic. She said that before the pandemic, she hadn’t needed a cell phone in her daily activities, but she soon realized that she, and people like her, were increasingly at a disadvantage.

Quotation : The exact words of an author or a speaker.

In response to whether she thought she needed a cell phone, Betty said, “I got along just fine without a cell phone when I could go everywhere in person. The shift to needing a phone came suddenly, and I don’t have extra money in my budget to get one.”

Statistics : A numerical fact or item of data.

The Pew Research Center reported that approximately 25 percent of Hispanic Americans and 17 percent of Black Americans relied on smartphones for online access, compared with 12 percent of White people.

Survey : A structured interview in which respondents (the people who answer the survey questions) are all asked the same questions, either in person or through print or electronic means, and their answers tabulated and interpreted. Surveys discover attitudes, beliefs, or habits of the general public or segments of the population.

A survey of 3,000 mobile phone users in October 2020 showed that 54 percent of respondents used their phones for messaging, while 40 percent used their phones for calls (Steele).

  • Visuals : Graphs, figures, tables, photographs and other images, diagrams, charts, maps, videos, and audio recordings, among others.

Thesis and Organization

Drafting a thesis.

When you have a grasp of your topic, move on to the next phase: drafting a thesis. The thesis is the central idea that you will explore and support in your report; all paragraphs in your report should relate to it. In an essay-style analytical report, you will likely express this main idea in a thesis statement of one or two sentences toward the end of the introduction.

For example, if you found that the academic performance of student athletes was higher than that of non-athletes, you might write the following thesis statement:

student sample text Although a common stereotype is that college athletes barely pass their classes, an analysis of athletes’ academic performance indicates that athletes drop fewer classes, earn higher grades, and are more likely to be on track to graduate in four years when compared with their non-athlete peers. end student sample text

The thesis statement often previews the organization of your writing. For example, in his report on the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Trevor Garcia wrote the following thesis statement, which detailed the central idea of his report:

student sample text An examination of the U.S. response shows that a reduction of experts in key positions and programs, inaction that led to equipment shortages, and inconsistent policies were three major causes of the spread of the virus and the resulting deaths. end student sample text

After you draft a thesis statement, ask these questions, and examine your thesis as you answer them. Revise your draft as needed.

  • Is it interesting? A thesis for a report should answer a question that is worth asking and piques curiosity.
  • Is it precise and specific? If you are interested in reducing pollution in a nearby lake, explain how to stop the zebra mussel infestation or reduce the frequent algae blooms.
  • Is it manageable? Try to split the difference between having too much information and not having enough.

Organizing Your Ideas

As a next step, organize the points you want to make in your report and the evidence to support them. Use an outline, a diagram, or another organizational tool, such as Table 8.4 .

Drafting an Analytical Report

With a tentative thesis, an organization plan, and evidence, you are ready to begin drafting. For this assignment, you will report information, analyze it, and draw conclusions about the cause of something, the effect of something, or the similarities and differences between two different things.

Some students write the introduction first; others save it for last. Whenever you choose to write the introduction, use it to draw readers into your report. Make the topic of your report clear, and be concise and sincere. End the introduction with your thesis statement. Depending on your topic and the type of report, you can write an effective introduction in several ways. Opening a report with an overview is a tried-and-true strategy, as shown in the following example on the U.S. response to COVID-19 by Trevor Garcia. Notice how he opens the introduction with statistics and a comparison and follows it with a question that leads to the thesis statement (underlined).

student sample text With more than 83 million cases and 1.8 million deaths at the end of 2020, COVID-19 has turned the world upside down. By the end of 2020, the United States led the world in the number of cases, at more than 20 million infections and nearly 350,000 deaths. In comparison, the second-highest number of cases was in India, which at the end of 2020 had less than half the number of COVID-19 cases despite having a population four times greater than the U.S. (“COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic,” 2021). How did the United States come to have the world’s worst record in this pandemic? underline An examination of the U.S. response shows that a reduction of experts in key positions and programs, inaction that led to equipment shortages, and inconsistent policies were three major causes of the spread of the virus and the resulting deaths end underline . end student sample text

For a less formal report, you might want to open with a question, quotation, or brief story. The following example opens with an anecdote that leads to the thesis statement (underlined).

student sample text Betty stood outside the salon, wondering how to get in. It was June of 2020, and the door was locked. A sign posted on the door provided a phone number for her to call to be let in, but at 81, Betty had lived her life without a cell phone. Betty’s day-to-day life had been hard during the pandemic, but she had planned for this haircut and was looking forward to it; she had a mask on and hand sanitizer in her car. Now she couldn’t get in the door, and she was discouraged. In that moment, Betty realized how much Americans’ dependence on cell phones had grown in the months since the pandemic began. underline Betty and thousands of other senior citizens who could not afford cell phones or did not have the technological skills and support they needed were being left behind in a society that was increasingly reliant on technology end underline . end student sample text

Body Paragraphs: Point, Evidence, Analysis

Use the body paragraphs of your report to present evidence that supports your thesis. A reliable pattern to keep in mind for developing the body paragraphs of a report is point , evidence , and analysis :

  • The point is the central idea of the paragraph, usually given in a topic sentence stated in your own words at or toward the beginning of the paragraph. Each topic sentence should relate to the thesis.
  • The evidence you provide develops the paragraph and supports the point made in the topic sentence. Include details, examples, quotations, paraphrases, and summaries from sources if you conducted formal research. Synthesize the evidence you include by showing in your sentences the connections between sources.
  • The analysis comes at the end of the paragraph. In your own words, draw a conclusion about the evidence you have provided and how it relates to the topic sentence.

The paragraph below illustrates the point, evidence, and analysis pattern. Drawn from a report about concussions among football players, the paragraph opens with a topic sentence about the NCAA and NFL and their responses to studies about concussions. The paragraph is developed with evidence from three sources. It concludes with a statement about helmets and players’ safety.

student sample text The NCAA and NFL have taken steps forward and backward to respond to studies about the danger of concussions among players. Responding to the deaths of athletes, documented brain damage, lawsuits, and public outcry (Buckley et al., 2017), the NCAA instituted protocols to reduce potentially dangerous hits during football games and to diagnose traumatic head injuries more quickly and effectively. Still, it has allowed players to wear more than one style of helmet during a season, raising the risk of injury because of imperfect fit. At the professional level, the NFL developed a helmet-rating system in 2011 in an effort to reduce concussions, but it continued to allow players to wear helmets with a wide range of safety ratings. The NFL’s decision created an opportunity for researchers to look at the relationship between helmet safety ratings and concussions. Cocello et al. (2016) reported that players who wore helmets with a lower safety rating had more concussions than players who wore helmets with a higher safety rating, and they concluded that safer helmets are a key factor in reducing concussions. end student sample text

Developing Paragraph Content

In the body paragraphs of your report, you will likely use examples, draw comparisons, show contrasts, or analyze causes and effects to develop your topic.

Paragraphs developed with Example are common in reports. The paragraph below, adapted from a report by student John Zwick on the mental health of soldiers deployed during wartime, draws examples from three sources.

student sample text Throughout the Vietnam War, military leaders claimed that the mental health of soldiers was stable and that men who suffered from combat fatigue, now known as PTSD, were getting the help they needed. For example, the New York Times (1966) quoted military leaders who claimed that mental fatigue among enlisted men had “virtually ceased to be a problem,” occurring at a rate far below that of World War II. Ayres (1969) reported that Brigadier General Spurgeon Neel, chief American medical officer in Vietnam, explained that soldiers experiencing combat fatigue were admitted to the psychiatric ward, sedated for up to 36 hours, and given a counseling session with a doctor who reassured them that the rest was well deserved and that they were ready to return to their units. Although experts outside the military saw profound damage to soldiers’ psyches when they returned home (Halloran, 1970), the military stayed the course, treating acute cases expediently and showing little concern for the cumulative effect of combat stress on individual soldiers. end student sample text

When you analyze causes and effects , you explain the reasons that certain things happened and/or their results. The report by Trevor Garcia on the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 is an example: his report examines the reasons the United States failed to control the coronavirus. The paragraph below, adapted from another student’s report written for an environmental policy course, explains the effect of white settlers’ views of forest management on New England.

student sample text The early colonists’ European ideas about forest management dramatically changed the New England landscape. White settlers saw the New World as virgin, unused land, even though indigenous people had been drawing on its resources for generations by using fire subtly to improve hunting, employing construction techniques that left ancient trees intact, and farming small, efficient fields that left the surrounding landscape largely unaltered. White settlers’ desire to develop wood-built and wood-burning homesteads surrounded by large farm fields led to forestry practices and techniques that resulted in the removal of old-growth trees. These practices defined the way the forests look today. end student sample text

Compare and contrast paragraphs are useful when you wish to examine similarities and differences. You can use both comparison and contrast in a single paragraph, or you can use one or the other. The paragraph below, adapted from a student report on the rise of populist politicians, compares the rhetorical styles of populist politicians Huey Long and Donald Trump.

student sample text A key similarity among populist politicians is their rejection of carefully crafted sound bites and erudite vocabulary typically associated with candidates for high office. Huey Long and Donald Trump are two examples. When he ran for president, Long captured attention through his wild gesticulations on almost every word, dramatically varying volume, and heavily accented, folksy expressions, such as “The only way to be able to feed the balance of the people is to make that man come back and bring back some of that grub that he ain’t got no business with!” In addition, Long’s down-home persona made him a credible voice to represent the common people against the country’s rich, and his buffoonish style allowed him to express his radical ideas without sounding anti-communist alarm bells. Similarly, Donald Trump chose to speak informally in his campaign appearances, but the persona he projected was that of a fast-talking, domineering salesman. His frequent use of personal anecdotes, rhetorical questions, brief asides, jokes, personal attacks, and false claims made his speeches disjointed, but they gave the feeling of a running conversation between him and his audience. For example, in a 2015 speech, Trump said, “They just built a hotel in Syria. Can you believe this? They built a hotel. When I have to build a hotel, I pay interest. They don’t have to pay interest, because they took the oil that, when we left Iraq, I said we should’ve taken” (“Our Country Needs” 2020). While very different in substance, Long and Trump adopted similar styles that positioned them as the antithesis of typical politicians and their worldviews. end student sample text

The conclusion should draw the threads of your report together and make its significance clear to readers. You may wish to review the introduction, restate the thesis, recommend a course of action, point to the future, or use some combination of these. Whichever way you approach it, the conclusion should not head in a new direction. The following example is the conclusion from a student’s report on the effect of a book about environmental movements in the United States.

student sample text Since its publication in 1949, environmental activists of various movements have found wisdom and inspiration in Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac . These audiences included Leopold’s conservationist contemporaries, environmentalists of the 1960s and 1970s, and the environmental justice activists who rose in the 1980s and continue to make their voices heard today. These audiences have read the work differently: conservationists looked to the author as a leader, environmentalists applied his wisdom to their movement, and environmental justice advocates have pointed out the flaws in Leopold’s thinking. Even so, like those before them, environmental justice activists recognize the book’s value as a testament to taking the long view and eliminating biases that may cloud an objective assessment of humanity’s interdependent relationship with the environment. end student sample text

Citing Sources

You must cite the sources of information and data included in your report. Citations must appear in both the text and a bibliography at the end of the report.

The sample paragraphs in the previous section include examples of in-text citation using APA documentation style. Trevor Garcia’s report on the U.S. response to COVID-19 in 2020 also uses APA documentation style for citations in the text of the report and the list of references at the end. Your instructor may require another documentation style, such as MLA or Chicago.

Peer Review: Getting Feedback from Readers

You will likely engage in peer review with other students in your class by sharing drafts and providing feedback to help spot strengths and weaknesses in your reports. For peer review within a class, your instructor may provide assignment-specific questions or a form for you to complete as you work together.

If you have a writing center on your campus, it is well worth your time to make an online or in-person appointment with a tutor. You’ll receive valuable feedback and improve your ability to review not only your report but your overall writing.

Another way to receive feedback on your report is to ask a friend or family member to read your draft. Provide a list of questions or a form such as the one in Table 8.5 for them to complete as they read.

Revising: Using Reviewers’ Responses to Revise your Work

When you receive comments from readers, including your instructor, read each comment carefully to understand what is being asked. Try not to get defensive, even though this response is completely natural. Remember that readers are like coaches who want you to succeed. They are looking at your writing from outside your own head, and they can identify strengths and weaknesses that you may not have noticed. Keep track of the strengths and weaknesses your readers point out. Pay special attention to those that more than one reader identifies, and use this information to improve your report and later assignments.

As you analyze each response, be open to suggestions for improvement, and be willing to make significant revisions to improve your writing. Perhaps you need to revise your thesis statement to better reflect the content of your draft. Maybe you need to return to your sources to better understand a point you’re trying to make in order to develop a paragraph more fully. Perhaps you need to rethink the organization, move paragraphs around, and add transition sentences.

Below is an early draft of part of Trevor Garcia’s report with comments from a peer reviewer:

student sample text To truly understand what happened, it’s important first to look back to the years leading up to the pandemic. Epidemiologists and public health officials had long known that a global pandemic was possible. In 2016, the U.S. National Security Council (NSC) published a 69-page document with the intimidating title Playbook for Early Response to High-Consequence Emerging Infectious Disease Threats and Biological Incidents . The document’s two sections address responses to “emerging disease threats that start or are circulating in another country but not yet confirmed within U.S. territorial borders” and to “emerging disease threats within our nation’s borders.” On 13 January 2017, the joint Obama-Trump transition teams performed a pandemic preparedness exercise; however, the playbook was never adopted by the incoming administration. end student sample text

annotated text Peer Review Comment: Do the words in quotation marks need to be a direct quotation? It seems like a paraphrase would work here. end annotated text

annotated text Peer Review Comment: I’m getting lost in the details about the playbook. What’s the Obama-Trump transition team? end annotated text

student sample text In February 2018, the administration began to cut funding for the Prevention and Public Health Fund at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; cuts to other health agencies continued throughout 2018, with funds diverted to unrelated projects such as housing for detained immigrant children. end student sample text

annotated text Peer Review Comment: This paragraph has only one sentence, and it’s more like an example. It needs a topic sentence and more development. end annotated text

student sample text Three months later, Luciana Borio, director of medical and biodefense preparedness at the NSC, spoke at a symposium marking the centennial of the 1918 influenza pandemic. “The threat of pandemic flu is the number one health security concern,” she said. “Are we ready to respond? I fear the answer is no.” end student sample text

annotated text Peer Review Comment: This paragraph is very short and a lot like the previous paragraph in that it’s a single example. It needs a topic sentence. Maybe you can combine them? end annotated text

annotated text Peer Review Comment: Be sure to cite the quotation. end annotated text

Reading these comments and those of others, Trevor decided to combine the three short paragraphs into one paragraph focusing on the fact that the United States knew a pandemic was possible but was unprepared for it. He developed the paragraph, using the short paragraphs as evidence and connecting the sentences and evidence with transitional words and phrases. Finally, he added in-text citations in APA documentation style to credit his sources. The revised paragraph is below:

student sample text Epidemiologists and public health officials in the United States had long known that a global pandemic was possible. In 2016, the National Security Council (NSC) published Playbook for Early Response to High-Consequence Emerging Infectious Disease Threats and Biological Incidents , a 69-page document on responding to diseases spreading within and outside of the United States. On January 13, 2017, the joint transition teams of outgoing president Barack Obama and then president-elect Donald Trump performed a pandemic preparedness exercise based on the playbook; however, it was never adopted by the incoming administration (Goodman & Schulkin, 2020). A year later, in February 2018, the Trump administration began to cut funding for the Prevention and Public Health Fund at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, leaving key positions unfilled. Other individuals who were fired or resigned in 2018 were the homeland security adviser, whose portfolio included global pandemics; the director for medical and biodefense preparedness; and the top official in charge of a pandemic response. None of them were replaced, leaving the White House with no senior person who had experience in public health (Goodman & Schulkin, 2020). Experts voiced concerns, among them Luciana Borio, director of medical and biodefense preparedness at the NSC, who spoke at a symposium marking the centennial of the 1918 influenza pandemic in May 2018: “The threat of pandemic flu is the number one health security concern,” she said. “Are we ready to respond? I fear the answer is no” (Sun, 2018, final para.). end student sample text

A final word on working with reviewers’ comments: as you consider your readers’ suggestions, remember, too, that you remain the author. You are free to disregard suggestions that you think will not improve your writing. If you choose to disregard comments from your instructor, consider submitting a note explaining your reasons with the final draft of your report.

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

This book may not be used in the training of large language models or otherwise be ingested into large language models or generative AI offerings without OpenStax's permission.

Want to cite, share, or modify this book? This book uses the Creative Commons Attribution License and you must attribute OpenStax.

Access for free at https://openstax.org/books/writing-guide/pages/1-unit-introduction
  • Authors: Michelle Bachelor Robinson, Maria Jerskey, featuring Toby Fulwiler
  • Publisher/website: OpenStax
  • Book title: Writing Guide with Handbook
  • Publication date: Dec 21, 2021
  • Location: Houston, Texas
  • Book URL: https://openstax.org/books/writing-guide/pages/1-unit-introduction
  • Section URL: https://openstax.org/books/writing-guide/pages/8-5-writing-process-creating-an-analytical-report

© Dec 19, 2023 OpenStax. Textbook content produced by OpenStax is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License . The OpenStax name, OpenStax logo, OpenStax book covers, OpenStax CNX name, and OpenStax CNX logo are not subject to the Creative Commons license and may not be reproduced without the prior and express written consent of Rice University.

The Classroom | Empowering Students in Their College Journey

How to Write the Analysis Section of My Research Paper

How to Write a Technical Essay

How to Write a Technical Essay

Data collection is only the beginning of the research paper writing process. Writing up the analysis is the bulk of the project. As Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab notes, analysis is a useful tool for investigating content you find in various print and other sources, like journals and video media.

Locate and collect documents. Make multiple photocopies of all relevant print materials. Label and store these in a way that provides easy access. Conduct your analysis.

Create a heading for the analysis section of your paper. Specify the criteria you looked for in the data. For instance, a research paper analyzing the possibility of life on other planets may look for the weight of evidence supporting a particular theory, or the scientific validity of particular publications.

Write about the patterns you found, and note the number of instances a particular idea emerged during analysis. For example, an analysis of Native American cultures may look for similarities between spiritual beliefs, gender roles or agricultural techniques. Researchers frequently repeat the process to find patterns that were missed during the first analysis. You can also write about your comparative analysis, if you did one. It is common to ask a colleague to perform the process and compare their findings with yours.

Summarize your analysis in a paragraph or two. Write the transition for the conclusions section of your paper.

  • Use compare and contrast language. Indicate where there are similarities and differences in the data through the use of phrases like ''in contrast'' and ''similarly.''

Related Articles

How to do flow proofs, how to write a rebuttal speech.

How to Do a Concept Analysis Paper for Nursing

How to Do a Concept Analysis Paper for Nursing

How to Do In-Text Citations in a Research Paper

How to Do In-Text Citations in a Research Paper

How to Write a Seminar Paper

How to Write a Seminar Paper

How to Make a Rough Draft on Science Projects

How to Make a Rough Draft on Science Projects

How to Write a Dissertation Summary

How to Write a Dissertation Summary

How to Start a Good Book Report

How to Start a Good Book Report

  • Purdue University Online Writing Lab - Analysis

Adam Simpson is an author and blogger who started writing professionally in 2006 and has written for OneStopEnglish and other Web sites. He has chapters in the volumes "Teaching and learning vocabulary in another language" and "Educational technology in the Arabian gulf," among others. Simpson attended the University of Central Lancashire where he earned a B.A. in international management.

Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts

OWL logo

Welcome to the Purdue OWL

This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue University. When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice.

Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.

Primary research involves collecting data about a given subject directly from the real world. This section includes information on what primary research is, how to get started, ethics involved with primary research and different types of research you can do. It includes details about interviews, surveys, observations, and analysis.

Analysis is a type of primary research that involves finding and interpreting patterns in data, classifying those patterns, and generalizing the results. It is useful when looking at actions, events, or occurrences in different texts, media, or publications. Analysis can usually be done without considering most of the ethical issues discussed in the overview, as you are not working with people but rather publicly accessible documents. Analysis can be done on new documents or performed on raw data that you yourself have collected.

Here are several examples of analysis:

  • Recording commercials on three major television networks and analyzing race and gender within the commercials to discover some conclusion.
  • Analyzing the historical trends in public laws by looking at the records at a local courthouse.
  • Analyzing topics of discussion in chat rooms for patterns based on gender and age.

Analysis research involves several steps:

  • Finding and collecting documents.
  • Specifying criteria or patterns that you are looking for.
  • Analyzing documents for patterns, noting number of occurrences or other factors.

U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

The .gov means it’s official. Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.

The site is secure. The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

  • Publications
  • Account settings
  • Advanced Search
  • Journal List
  • PLoS Comput Biol
  • v.15(5); 2019 May

Logo of ploscomp

Ten simple rules for carrying out and writing meta-analyses

Diego a. forero.

1 Laboratory of NeuroPsychiatric Genetics, Biomedical Sciences Research Group, School of Medicine, Universidad Antonio Nariño, Bogotá, Colombia

2 PhD Program in Health Sciences, School of Medicine, Universidad Antonio Nariño, Bogotá, Colombia

Sandra Lopez-Leon

3 Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, East Hanover, New Jersey, United States of America

Yeimy González-Giraldo

4 Departamento de Nutrición y Bioquímica, Facultad de Ciencias, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Bogotá., Colombia

Pantelis G. Bagos

5 Department of Computer Science and Biomedical Informatics, University of Thessaly, Lamia, Greece

Introduction

In the context of evidence-based medicine, meta-analyses provide novel and useful information [ 1 ], as they are at the top of the pyramid of evidence and consolidate previous evidence published in multiple previous reports [ 2 ]. Meta-analysis is a powerful tool to cumulate and summarize the knowledge in a research field [ 3 ]. Because of the significant increase in the published scientific literature in recent years, there has also been an important growth in the number of meta-analyses for a large number of topics [ 4 ]. It has been found that meta-analyses are among the types of publications that usually receive a larger number of citations in the biomedical sciences [ 5 , 6 ]. The methods and standards for carrying out meta-analyses have evolved in recent years [ 7 – 9 ].

Although there are several published articles describing comprehensive guidelines for specific types of meta-analyses, there is still the need for an abridged article with general and updated recommendations for researchers interested in the development of meta-analyses. We present here ten simple rules for carrying out and writing meta-analyses.

Rule 1: Specify the topic and type of the meta-analysis

Considering that a systematic review [ 10 ] is fundamental for a meta-analysis, you can use the Population, Intervention, Comparison, Outcome (PICO) model to formulate the research question. It is important to verify that there are no published meta-analyses on the specific topic in order to avoid duplication of efforts [ 11 ]. In some cases, an updated meta-analysis in a topic is needed if additional data become available. It is possible to carry out meta-analyses for multiple types of studies, such as epidemiological variables for case-control, cohort, and randomized clinical trials. As observational studies have a larger possibility of having several biases, meta-analyses of these types of designs should take that into account. In addition, there is the possibility to carry out meta-analyses for genetic association studies, gene expression studies, genome-wide association studies (GWASs), or data from animal experiments. It is advisable to preregister the systematic review protocols at the International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (PROSPERO; https://www.crd.york.ac.uk/Prospero ) database [ 12 ]. Keep in mind that an increasing number of journals require registration prior to publication.

Rule 2: Follow available guidelines for different types of meta-analyses

There are several available general guidelines. The first of such efforts were the Quality of Reports of Meta-analyses of Randomized Controlled Trials (QUORUM) [ 13 ] and the Meta-analysis of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (MOOSE) statements [ 14 ], but currently, the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-analyses (PRISMA) [ 15 ] has been broadly cited and used. In addition, there have been efforts to develop specific guidelines regarding meta-analyses for clinical studies (Cochrane Handbook; https://training.cochrane.org/handbook ), genetic association studies [ 16 ], genome-wide expression studies [ 17 ], GWASs [ 18 ], and animal studies [ 19 ].

Rule 3: Establish inclusion criteria and define key variables

You should establish in advance the inclusion (such as type of study, language of publication, among others) and exclusion (such as minimal sample size, among others) criteria. Keep in mind that the current consensus advises against strict criteria concerning language or sample size. You should clearly define the variables that will be extracted from each primary article. Broad inclusion criteria increase heterogeneity between studies, and narrow inclusion criteria can make it difficult to find studies; therefore, a compromise should be found. Prospective meta-analyses, which usually are carried out by international consortia, have the advantage of the possibility of including individual-level data [ 20 ].

Rule 4: Carry out a systematic search in different databases and extract key data

You can carry out your systematic search in several bibliographic databases, such as PubMed, Embase, The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Scopus, Web of Science, and Google Scholar [ 21 ]. Usually, searching in several databases helps to minimize the possibility of failing to identify all published studies [ 22 ]. In some specific areas, searching in specialized databases is also worth doing (such as BIOSIS, Cumulative index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), PsycINFO, Sociological Abstracts, and EconLit, among others). Moreover, in other cases, direct search for the data is also advisable (i.e., Gene Expression Omnibus [GEO] database for gene expression studies) [ 23 ]. Usually, the bibliography of review articles might help to identify additional articles and data from other types of documents (such as theses or conference proceedings) that might be included in your meta-analysis. The Web of Science database can be used to identify publications that have cited key articles. Adequate extraction and recording of key data from primary articles are fundamental for carrying out a meta-analysis. Quality assessment of the included studies is also an important issue; it can be used for determining inclusion criteria, sensitivity analysis, or differential weighting of the studies. For example the Jadad scale [ 24 ] is frequently used for randomized clinical trials, the Newcastle–Ottawa scale [ 25 ] for nonrandomized studies, and QUADAS-2 for the Quality Assessment of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies [ 26 ]. It is recommended that these steps be carried out by two researchers in parallel and that discrepancies be resolved by consensus. Nevertheless, the reader must be aware that quality assessment has been criticized, especially when it reduces the studies to a single “quality” score [ 27 , 28 ]. In any case, it is important to avoid the confusion of using guidelines for the reporting of primary studies as scales for the assessment of the quality of included articles [ 29 , 30 ].

Rule 5: Contact authors of primary articles to ask for missing data

It is common that key data are not available in the main text or supplementary files of primary articles [ 31 ], leading to the need to contact the authors to ask for missing data. However, the rate of response from authors is lower than expected. There are multiple standards that promote the availability of primary data in published articles, such as the minimum information about a microarray experiment (MIAME) [ 32 ] and the STrengthening the REporting of Genetic Association Studies (STREGA) [ 33 ]. In some areas, such as genetics, in which it was shown that it is possible to identify an individual using the aggregated statistics from a particular study [ 34 ], strict criteria are imposed for data sharing, and specialized permissions might be needed.

Rule 6: Select the best statistical models for your question

For cases in which there is enough primary data of adequate quality for a quantitative summary, there is the option to carry out a meta-analysis. The potential analyst must be warned that in many cases the data are reported in noncompatible forms, so one must be ready to perform various types of transformations. Thankfully, there are methods available for extracting and transforming data regarding continuous variables [ 35 – 37 ], 2 × 2 tables [ 38 , 39 ], or survival data [ 40 ]. Frequently, meta-analyses are based on fixed-effects or random-effects statistical models [ 20 ]. In addition, models based on combining ranks or p -values are also available and can be used in specific cases [ 41 – 44 ]. For more complex data, multivariate methods for meta-analysis have been proposed [ 45 , 46 ]. Additional statistical examinations involve sensitivity analyses, metaregressions, subgroup analyses, and calculation of heterogeneity metrics, such as Q or I 2 [ 20 ]. It is fundamental to assess and, if present, explain the possible sources of heterogeneity. Although random-effects models are suitable for cases of between-studies heterogeneity, the sources of between-studies variation should be identified, and their impact on effect size should be quantified using statistical tests, such as subgroup analyses or metaregression. Publication bias is an important aspect to consider [ 47 ], since in many cases negative findings have less probability of being published. Other types of bias, such as the so-called “Proteus phenomenon” [ 48 ] or “winner’s curse” [ 49 ], are common in some scientific fields, such as genetics, and the approach of cumulative meta-analysis is suggested in order to identify them.

Rule 7: Use available software to carry metastatistics

There are several very user-friendly and freely available programs for carrying out meta-analyses [ 43 , 44 ], either within the framework of a statistical package such as Stata or R or as stand-alone applications. Stata and R [ 50 – 52 ] have dozens of routines, mostly user written, that can handle most meta-analysis tasks, even complex analyses such as network meta-analysis and meta-analyses of GWASs and gene expression studies ( https://cran.r-project.org/web/views/MetaAnalysis.html ; https://www.stata.com/support/faqs/statistics/meta-analysis ). There are also stand-alone packages that can be useful for general applications or for specific areas, such as OpenMetaAnalyst [ 53 ], NetworkAnalyst [ 54 ], JASP [ 55 ], MetaGenyo [ 56 ], Cochrane RevMan ( https://community.cochrane.org/help/tools-and-software/revman-5 ), EpiSheet (krothman.org/episheet.xls), GWAR [ 57 ], GWAMA [ 58 ], and METAL [ 59 ]. Some of these programs are web services or stand-alone software. In some cases, certain programs can present issues when they are run because of their dependency on other packages.

Rule 8: The records and study report must be complete and transparent

Following published guidelines for meta-analyses guarantees that the manuscript will describe the different steps and methods used, facilitating their transparency and replicability [ 15 ]. Data such as search and inclusion criteria, numbers of abstracts screened, and included studies are quite useful, in addition to details of meta-analytical strategies used. An assessment of quality of included studies is also useful [ 60 ]. A spreadsheet can be constructed in which every step in the selection criteria is recorded; this will be helpful to construct flow charts. In this context, a flow diagram describing the progression between the different steps is quite useful and might enhance the quality of the meta-analysis [ 61 ]. Records will be also useful if, in the future, the meta-analysis needs to be updated. Stating the limitations of the analysis is also important [ 62 ].

Rule 9: Provide enough data in your manuscript

A table with complete information about included studies (such as author, year, details of included subjects, DOIs, or PubMed IDs, among others) is quite useful in an article reporting a meta-analysis; it can be included in the main text of the manuscript or as a supplementary file. Software used for carrying out meta-analyses and to generate key graphs, such as forest plots, should be referenced. Summary effect measures, such as a pooled odds ratios or the counts used to generate them, should be always reported, including confidence intervals. It is also possible to generate figures with information from multiple forest plots [ 63 ]. In the case of positive findings, plots from sensitivity analyses are quite informative. In more-complex analyses, it is advisable to include in the supplementary files the scripts used to generate the results [ 64 ].

Rule 10: Provide context for your findings and suggest future directions

The Discussion section is an important scientific component in a manuscript describing a meta-analysis, as the authors should discuss their current findings in the context of the available scientific literature and existing knowledge [ 65 ]. Authors can discuss possible reasons for the positive or negative results of their meta-analysis, provide an interpretation of findings based on available biological or epidemiological evidence, and comment on particular features of individual studies or experimental designs used [ 66 ]. As meta-analyses are usually synthesizing the existing evidence from multiple primary studies, which commonly took years and large amounts of funding, authors can recommend key suggestions for conducting and/or reporting future primary studies [ 67 ].

As open science is becoming more important around the globe [ 68 , 69 ], adherence to published standards, in addition to the evolution of methods for different meta-analytical applications, will be even more important to carry out meta-analyses of high quality and impact.

Funding Statement

YG-G is supported by a PhD fellowship from Centro de Estudios Interdisciplinarios Básicos y Aplicados CEIBA (Rodolfo Llinás Program). DAF is supported by research grants from Colciencias and VCTI. PGB is partially supported by ELIXIR-GR, the Greek Research Infrastructure for data management and analysis in the biosciences. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Research Analysis Paper: How to Analyze a Research Article [2024]

Do you need to write a research analysis paper but have no idea how to do that? Then you’re in the right place.

Our specialists will write a custom essay specially for you!

While completing this type of assignment, your key aim is to critically analyze a research article. An article from a serious scientific journal would be a good choice. You can analyze and interpret either quantitative or qualitative research.

Below, you’ll find a how-to guide on research analysis paper writing prepared by our experts. It contains outlining and formatting tips, topics, and examples of research articles analysis.

  • Scan the Paper
  • Examine the Content
  • Check the Format
  • Critique & Evaluate
  • ✅ Key Questions

🔗 References

🔎 how to analyze a research article.

This analysis will be beneficial for you since it develops your critical thinking and research skills. So, let us present the main steps that should be undertaken to read and evaluate the paper correctly.

Now, let’s figure out what an analysis paper should include. There are several essential elements the reader should identify:

  • logical reasons for conducting the study;
  • the description of the methodology applied in the research;
  • concise and clear report of the findings;
  • a logical conclusion based on the results.

You can use free paper samples for college students before you work with your own writing to get a feel of how the analyzing process goes.

Just in 1 hour! We will write you a plagiarism-free paper in hardly more than 1 hour

Step 1: Scan the Paper

First, briefly look through the found paper and evaluate whether it’s appropriate for your research. Scanning helps you to start the content analysis and get the general idea of the study.

To scan the paper effectively, follow these simple steps:

  • Get familiar with the title, abstract , and introduction . Carefully read these parts and make sure you got the author’s point.
  • Read the headings of each section and sub-section. But don’t spend time to get familiar with the content.
  • Look through the conclusions. Check the overall one and the last sentence of each section.
  • Scan the references. Have you read any of these sources before? Highlight them and decide whether they are appropriate for your research or not.

Have you completed these steps of your research paper’s critical analysis? Now, you should be able to answer these questions:

  • What kind of a paper is it (qualitative research, quantitative research, a case study, etc.)?
  • What is the research paper topic? How is it connected to your subject of study?
  • Do you feel like the findings and the conclusions are valid?
  • How can the source contribute to your study?
  • Is the paper clear and well-written?

After completing this step, you should have a clear image of the text’s general idea. Also, here you can decide whether the given paper is worth further examination.

Step 2: Examine the Content

The next step leads to a deeper understanding of the topic. Here, again, you can try the following course of action to take the maximum benefit from the evaluation of the source.

Receive a plagiarism-free paper tailored to your instructions. Cut 20% off your first order!

  • Find the author’s thesis. A thesis statement is usually the last sentence of the introduction (or several sentences). It is an essential part of the paper since it reflects the author’s main point. Make sure you determined the thesis statement and understood it.
  • Consider the author’s arguments. How does the author support his position? What are the key arguments they present in their research paper? Are they logical? Evaluate whether the points are clear and concise enough for any reader to get. Do they support the author’s thesis?
  • Check the evidence. Try to find all the proof provided by the writer. A successful research paper should have valid evidence for every argument. These can be statistics, diagrams, facts taken from documentaries or books, experiments hold by researchers, etc.
  • Determine the limits of the study. An author is supposed to set limits to avoid making their research too broad. Find out what are the variables the writer relied on while determining the exact field of study. Keep them in mind when you decide whether the paper accomplished its goals within limits.
  • Establish the author’s perspective. What position does the author take? What methods are applied to prove the correctness of the writer’s point? Does it match with your opinion? Why/ why not?

Sometimes, even after the second step of evaluation, the writer’s perspective is not evident. What to do in this case? There are three scenarios:

  • Stop investigating the paper and hope that you will not need it for your research.
  • Read some background information on the given topic. Then, reread the paper. This might help you to comprehend the general idea.
  • Don’t give up and move on to the next step of the evaluation.

Step 3: Check the Format and Presentation

At this stage, analyze the research paper format and the general presentation of the arguments and facts. Start with the evaluation of the sentence levels. In the research paper, there should be a hierarchy of sentences. To trace the research paper structure, take a look at the tips:

  • First-level sentences. They include only general statements and present the ideas that will be explored further in the paper.
  • Middle-level sentences. These sentences summarize, give a narrower idea, and present specific arguments.
  • Deep-level sentences. They contain specific facts and evidence that correspond to the arguments stated in middle-level sentences.

Your research paper analysis should also include format evaluation. This task might be challenging unless you have the formatting style manual open in front of your eyes.

Figure out what citation style the author applied and check whether all the requirements are met. Here is a mini checklist you have to follow:

  • in-text citations
  • reference list
  • font style and size, spacing
  • abstract (if needed)
  • appendix (if needed)

Step 4: Critique & Evaluate

This step requires attention to every detail in the paper. Identify each of the author’s assumptions and question them. Do you agree with the author’s evidence? How would you support the arguments? What are your opinions regarding the author’s ideas?

Get an originally-written paper according to your instructions!

For starters:

Try to re-implement the entire paper from your perspective and see how your version differs from the initial work. This trick will help you to determine the strong and weak sides of the work.

Then, move on to criticism. An effective way to evaluate a research paper consists of asking the right questions and assessing the crucial aspects, like:

  • The author’s objective and whether it was reached. Did you get the author’s main idea? Did the writer reach their aim and explain the arguments in great detail? Remember that even if the reader is not majoring in the study field, they should understand the objective. Is there something that remained unclear for you? In your opinion, what is the cause of your inability to comprehend the material?
  • The role in the broader context. Make sure the author’s arguments and evidence sound adequately in the larger context. Do the writer’s ideas contradict social norms. If so, why? Also, check the sources the author uses for their research. Make sure they are reliable and not outdated.
  • Grammar and organization. A professional research paper should not contain any mistakes. Make sure the text is flawless regarding grammar and structure. The ideas have to follow the logical flow; the tone should be academic; the paper should include transitions, summaries should be on point (which is easier to achieve with the help of a paper summarizer ) and so on.
  • What the reader learns. The primary aim of an author is to deliver useful information to the reader. Did you, as a reader, find some new insights? Were they relevant and valuable? Consider whether you’ve read something similar before and how the data fit within limits set by the author.

✅ Research Analysis Paper: Key Questions

As you can see, the task requires a lot of time and effort. That is why we’ve prepared a list of questions you should ask while analyzing a research paper. Use them as a ground for critical reading and evaluation.

Research Article Analysis Topics

  • Research article analysis: Using Evidence-Based Practice to Prevent Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia .
  • Critical analysis of Seligman’s research article on post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Analyze the article on the role of interprofessional communication in healthcare.
  • Examine the articles on the controversy of stem cell research.
  • Write a critical analysis of a research article on abortion .
  • Discuss a research article on nursing and proactive care program.
  • Analyze a quantitative research article on the efficiency of methods used in nursing education .
  • Critical analysis of the research article on the role of environmental biology.
  • Analysis of the articles about primary quantitative and qualitative research .
  • Evaluate Goeders and Guerin’s research on the connection between stress and drug use.
  • Study Angela F. Clark’s research article on the efficacy of a nursing education program.
  • Analyze the research article by Park, Nisch, and Baptiste examining the connection between immigrants’ mental health and the length of stay in the United States.
  • Discuss the scholarly articles researching the connection between obesity and depression.
  • Analysis of nursing research article on level of education .
  • Write a critical analysis of the scholarly article The Effect of Nurse Staffing on Patient Safety Outcomes .
  • Examine a recent research article on spinal cord injuries.
  • Analyze Ronald F. Wright’s research article examining the specifics of jury selection.
  • Study the article by McConnell et al. on the impact of domestic animals on human well-being.
  • Critical evaluation and analysis of the article on ethics and informed consent in research.
  • Analysis of a research article on preventing hospital falls .
  • Write an analysis of the research article studying the challenges of implementing research findings into practice in nursing.
  • Examine the article on the thrombosis process by Bruce Furie and Barbara C. Furie.
  • Analyze Mendenhall and Doherty’s research on a new diabetes management approach.
  • Qualitative research article critique.
  • Critical analysis of a research article on the effectiveness of drug round tabards .
  • Discuss quantitative research about the barriers to electronic commerce implementation.
  • Study the article Health Information Source Use by Jessica Gall Myrick and Michael Hendryx.
  • Analyze a research article by Lengyel et al. That studies the amount of sugar in school breakfast .
  • Write a critical analysis of the research studying the quality of pain management .
  • Examine the research article The Mental Health of Indigenous Peoples in Canada by Sarah E Nelson and Kathi Wilson.
  • Analysis of the article Development of a Proactive Care Program .
  • Study the article on nursing REST: Break Through to Resilience by Rajamohan et al.
  • Critically analyze the research article Quality Management in Healthcare: The Pivotal Desideratum .
  • Examine and interpret the academic article In Defense of the Randomized Controlled Trial by Rosen et al.
  • Write an analysis of a research article Cardiovascular Changes Resulting from Sexual Activity by Bispo, De Lima Lopes, and De Barros.
  • Study the topicality and consistency of Dillner’s article Obstetrician Suspended After Research Inquiry .
  • Critical analysis of research article on nosocomial pneumonia .
  • Discuss the methods used by Johanna Brenner in her research on intersections and class relations.
  • Analyze the research article by Ansari et al. examining the connection between type 2 diabetes and environmental factors.
  • Analysis of research article Nurses’ Perceptions of Research Utilization in a Corporate Health Care System .
  • Examine the importance of the research Effectiveness of Hand Hygiene Interventions in Reducing Illness Absence .
  • Analyze and interpret the article on the toolkit for postgraduate research supervisors by E. Blass & S. Bertone.
  • Discuss the utility and credibility of K. Than’s article A Brief History of Twin Studies .
  • Write a critical analysis of the article researching the current US gun policy and its effect on the rates of gun violence cases.
  • Analysis of articles on evidence-based prevention of surgical site infections.
  • Examine the research article Nurses’ Knowledge about Palliative Care by Etafa et al.
  • Analyze the research conducted by Sandelowski et al. on the stigmatization of HIV-positive women .
  • Discuss the theoretical framework and methodology of a research article on psychological studies .
  • Analysis of a research article about sports and creatine .
  • Study the presentation of research findings in the scholarly article Leadership Characteristics and Digital Transformation .

Congrats! Now you know how to write a research paper analysis. You are welcome to check out our writing tips available on the website and save a ton of time on your academic papers. Share the link with your peers who may need our advice as well.

  • An Introduction to Critical Analysis of Publications in Experimental Biomedical Science, the Research Paper in Basic Medical Sciences: K. Rangachari, modified by D.J. Crankshaw, McMaster University Honours Biology & Pharmacology Program
  • Critical Analysis Template: Keiran Rankin and Sara Wolfe, the Writing Centre, Thompson Rivers University
  • How to Read a Paper: S. Keshav, David R. Cheriton, School of Computer Science, the University of Waterloo
  • How to Read a Research Paper: School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University
  • Reading Research Effectively, Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper: Research Guides at the University of Southern California
  • Share to Facebook
  • Share to Twitter
  • Share to LinkedIn
  • Share to email

I would be grateful if you kindly upload a sample of research papers analysis in order to make the points mentioned tangible.

Custom Writing

Dear Mustafa, There might be one available on our free essays page – you are welcome to check it out and find out more about the available sample papers that we have! Have a great day!

P.S. Link to the free essays database

Thanks so much for compiling and sharing this great information on research papers analysis! This is what I need to complete my paper fast and effectively! Thanks again!

When I read your post on research papers analysis, it seems that this is the simplest thing in the world, but I’m afraid of failing. As you were able to write this excellent post, you’ll be able to write a research papers analysis for me too!

Recommended for You

Case Study Analysis: Examples + How-to Guide & Writing Tips

Case Study Analysis: Examples + How-to Guide & Writing Tips

A case study analysis is a typical assignment in business management courses. The task aims to show high school and college students how to analyze a current situation, determine what problems exist, and develop the best possible strategy to achieve the desired outcome. Many students feel anxious about writing case...

Literature Review: Structure, Format, & Writing Tips

Literature Review: Structure, Format, & Writing Tips

If you are a student, you might need to learn how to write a literature review at some point. But don’t think it’s the same as the book review or other types of academic writing you had to do in high school! A literature review is a close examination of...

10 Research Paper Hacks: Tips for Writing a Research Paper

10 Research Paper Hacks: Tips for Writing a Research Paper

So, have you been recently assigned a research project? Or, even worse, is it already due soon? The following research paper hacks will help you do it in record time. In the article, you’ll see ten things you can do to conduct a study and compose a piece like a...

An Impressive Persuasive Speech Outline: Examples & Guide

An Impressive Persuasive Speech Outline: Examples & Guide

Eating a delicacy, watching a good movie, and proving a point to an audience are the three things that make life seem better. Today, you’ll deal with the last one. You’re about to become a professional at public speaking and attention grabbing. Here, you can learn how to write a...

American Antiquity Style Guide: Citation Rules & Examples [2024]

American Antiquity Style Guide: Citation Rules & Examples [2024]

American Antiquity is a professional quarterly journal, which contains various papers on the American archeology. It is incredibly popular among archeologists and the students majoring in history. The organization adopted the rules of The Society for American Archaeology (SAA) citation style. As a result: The journal includes numerous references that...

How to Write Bibliography for Assignment: Tips on Working with Your Sources

How to Write Bibliography for Assignment: Tips on Working with Your Sources

The most tedious and time-consuming part of any school or college written assignment is the bibliography. Sometimes, it can even be challenging! For example, if you’re confused by the variety of citation styles. This is probably when the most students wonder “Is there someone who could complete my assignment?” That...

  • Privacy Policy
  • SignUp/Login

Research Method

Home » Critical Analysis – Types, Examples and Writing Guide

Critical Analysis – Types, Examples and Writing Guide

Table of Contents

Critical Analysis

Critical Analysis

Definition:

Critical analysis is a process of examining a piece of work or an idea in a systematic, objective, and analytical way. It involves breaking down complex ideas, concepts, or arguments into smaller, more manageable parts to understand them better.

Types of Critical Analysis

Types of Critical Analysis are as follows:

Literary Analysis

This type of analysis focuses on analyzing and interpreting works of literature , such as novels, poetry, plays, etc. The analysis involves examining the literary devices used in the work, such as symbolism, imagery, and metaphor, and how they contribute to the overall meaning of the work.

Film Analysis

This type of analysis involves examining and interpreting films, including their themes, cinematography, editing, and sound. Film analysis can also include evaluating the director’s style and how it contributes to the overall message of the film.

Art Analysis

This type of analysis involves examining and interpreting works of art , such as paintings, sculptures, and installations. The analysis involves examining the elements of the artwork, such as color, composition, and technique, and how they contribute to the overall meaning of the work.

Cultural Analysis

This type of analysis involves examining and interpreting cultural artifacts , such as advertisements, popular music, and social media posts. The analysis involves examining the cultural context of the artifact and how it reflects and shapes cultural values, beliefs, and norms.

Historical Analysis

This type of analysis involves examining and interpreting historical documents , such as diaries, letters, and government records. The analysis involves examining the historical context of the document and how it reflects the social, political, and cultural attitudes of the time.

Philosophical Analysis

This type of analysis involves examining and interpreting philosophical texts and ideas, such as the works of philosophers and their arguments. The analysis involves evaluating the logical consistency of the arguments and assessing the validity and soundness of the conclusions.

Scientific Analysis

This type of analysis involves examining and interpreting scientific research studies and their findings. The analysis involves evaluating the methods used in the study, the data collected, and the conclusions drawn, and assessing their reliability and validity.

Critical Discourse Analysis

This type of analysis involves examining and interpreting language use in social and political contexts. The analysis involves evaluating the power dynamics and social relationships conveyed through language use and how they shape discourse and social reality.

Comparative Analysis

This type of analysis involves examining and interpreting multiple texts or works of art and comparing them to each other. The analysis involves evaluating the similarities and differences between the texts and how they contribute to understanding the themes and meanings conveyed.

Critical Analysis Format

Critical Analysis Format is as follows:

I. Introduction

  • Provide a brief overview of the text, object, or event being analyzed
  • Explain the purpose of the analysis and its significance
  • Provide background information on the context and relevant historical or cultural factors

II. Description

  • Provide a detailed description of the text, object, or event being analyzed
  • Identify key themes, ideas, and arguments presented
  • Describe the author or creator’s style, tone, and use of language or visual elements

III. Analysis

  • Analyze the text, object, or event using critical thinking skills
  • Identify the main strengths and weaknesses of the argument or presentation
  • Evaluate the reliability and validity of the evidence presented
  • Assess any assumptions or biases that may be present in the text, object, or event
  • Consider the implications of the argument or presentation for different audiences and contexts

IV. Evaluation

  • Provide an overall evaluation of the text, object, or event based on the analysis
  • Assess the effectiveness of the argument or presentation in achieving its intended purpose
  • Identify any limitations or gaps in the argument or presentation
  • Consider any alternative viewpoints or interpretations that could be presented
  • Summarize the main points of the analysis and evaluation
  • Reiterate the significance of the text, object, or event and its relevance to broader issues or debates
  • Provide any recommendations for further research or future developments in the field.

VI. Example

  • Provide an example or two to support your analysis and evaluation
  • Use quotes or specific details from the text, object, or event to support your claims
  • Analyze the example(s) using critical thinking skills and explain how they relate to your overall argument

VII. Conclusion

  • Reiterate your thesis statement and summarize your main points
  • Provide a final evaluation of the text, object, or event based on your analysis
  • Offer recommendations for future research or further developments in the field
  • End with a thought-provoking statement or question that encourages the reader to think more deeply about the topic

How to Write Critical Analysis

Writing a critical analysis involves evaluating and interpreting a text, such as a book, article, or film, and expressing your opinion about its quality and significance. Here are some steps you can follow to write a critical analysis:

  • Read and re-read the text: Before you begin writing, make sure you have a good understanding of the text. Read it several times and take notes on the key points, themes, and arguments.
  • Identify the author’s purpose and audience: Consider why the author wrote the text and who the intended audience is. This can help you evaluate whether the author achieved their goals and whether the text is effective in reaching its audience.
  • Analyze the structure and style: Look at the organization of the text and the author’s writing style. Consider how these elements contribute to the overall meaning of the text.
  • Evaluate the content : Analyze the author’s arguments, evidence, and conclusions. Consider whether they are logical, convincing, and supported by the evidence presented in the text.
  • Consider the context: Think about the historical, cultural, and social context in which the text was written. This can help you understand the author’s perspective and the significance of the text.
  • Develop your thesis statement : Based on your analysis, develop a clear and concise thesis statement that summarizes your overall evaluation of the text.
  • Support your thesis: Use evidence from the text to support your thesis statement. This can include direct quotes, paraphrases, and examples from the text.
  • Write the introduction, body, and conclusion : Organize your analysis into an introduction that provides context and presents your thesis, a body that presents your evidence and analysis, and a conclusion that summarizes your main points and restates your thesis.
  • Revise and edit: After you have written your analysis, revise and edit it to ensure that your writing is clear, concise, and well-organized. Check for spelling and grammar errors, and make sure that your analysis is logically sound and supported by evidence.

When to Write Critical Analysis

You may want to write a critical analysis in the following situations:

  • Academic Assignments: If you are a student, you may be assigned to write a critical analysis as a part of your coursework. This could include analyzing a piece of literature, a historical event, or a scientific paper.
  • Journalism and Media: As a journalist or media person, you may need to write a critical analysis of current events, political speeches, or media coverage.
  • Personal Interest: If you are interested in a particular topic, you may want to write a critical analysis to gain a deeper understanding of it. For example, you may want to analyze the themes and motifs in a novel or film that you enjoyed.
  • Professional Development : Professionals such as writers, scholars, and researchers often write critical analyses to gain insights into their field of study or work.

Critical Analysis Example

An Example of Critical Analysis Could be as follow:

Research Topic:

The Impact of Online Learning on Student Performance

Introduction:

The introduction of the research topic is clear and provides an overview of the issue. However, it could benefit from providing more background information on the prevalence of online learning and its potential impact on student performance.

Literature Review:

The literature review is comprehensive and well-structured. It covers a broad range of studies that have examined the relationship between online learning and student performance. However, it could benefit from including more recent studies and providing a more critical analysis of the existing literature.

Research Methods:

The research methods are clearly described and appropriate for the research question. The study uses a quasi-experimental design to compare the performance of students who took an online course with those who took the same course in a traditional classroom setting. However, the study may benefit from using a randomized controlled trial design to reduce potential confounding factors.

The results are presented in a clear and concise manner. The study finds that students who took the online course performed similarly to those who took the traditional course. However, the study only measures performance on one course and may not be generalizable to other courses or contexts.

Discussion :

The discussion section provides a thorough analysis of the study’s findings. The authors acknowledge the limitations of the study and provide suggestions for future research. However, they could benefit from discussing potential mechanisms underlying the relationship between online learning and student performance.

Conclusion :

The conclusion summarizes the main findings of the study and provides some implications for future research and practice. However, it could benefit from providing more specific recommendations for implementing online learning programs in educational settings.

Purpose of Critical Analysis

There are several purposes of critical analysis, including:

  • To identify and evaluate arguments : Critical analysis helps to identify the main arguments in a piece of writing or speech and evaluate their strengths and weaknesses. This enables the reader to form their own opinion and make informed decisions.
  • To assess evidence : Critical analysis involves examining the evidence presented in a text or speech and evaluating its quality and relevance to the argument. This helps to determine the credibility of the claims being made.
  • To recognize biases and assumptions : Critical analysis helps to identify any biases or assumptions that may be present in the argument, and evaluate how these affect the credibility of the argument.
  • To develop critical thinking skills: Critical analysis helps to develop the ability to think critically, evaluate information objectively, and make reasoned judgments based on evidence.
  • To improve communication skills: Critical analysis involves carefully reading and listening to information, evaluating it, and expressing one’s own opinion in a clear and concise manner. This helps to improve communication skills and the ability to express ideas effectively.

Importance of Critical Analysis

Here are some specific reasons why critical analysis is important:

  • Helps to identify biases: Critical analysis helps individuals to recognize their own biases and assumptions, as well as the biases of others. By being aware of biases, individuals can better evaluate the credibility and reliability of information.
  • Enhances problem-solving skills : Critical analysis encourages individuals to question assumptions and consider multiple perspectives, which can lead to creative problem-solving and innovation.
  • Promotes better decision-making: By carefully evaluating evidence and arguments, critical analysis can help individuals make more informed and effective decisions.
  • Facilitates understanding: Critical analysis helps individuals to understand complex issues and ideas by breaking them down into smaller parts and evaluating them separately.
  • Fosters intellectual growth : Engaging in critical analysis challenges individuals to think deeply and critically, which can lead to intellectual growth and development.

Advantages of Critical Analysis

Some advantages of critical analysis include:

  • Improved decision-making: Critical analysis helps individuals make informed decisions by evaluating all available information and considering various perspectives.
  • Enhanced problem-solving skills : Critical analysis requires individuals to identify and analyze the root cause of a problem, which can help develop effective solutions.
  • Increased creativity : Critical analysis encourages individuals to think outside the box and consider alternative solutions to problems, which can lead to more creative and innovative ideas.
  • Improved communication : Critical analysis helps individuals communicate their ideas and opinions more effectively by providing logical and coherent arguments.
  • Reduced bias: Critical analysis requires individuals to evaluate information objectively, which can help reduce personal biases and subjective opinions.
  • Better understanding of complex issues : Critical analysis helps individuals to understand complex issues by breaking them down into smaller parts, examining each part and understanding how they fit together.
  • Greater self-awareness: Critical analysis helps individuals to recognize their own biases, assumptions, and limitations, which can lead to personal growth and development.

About the author

' src=

Muhammad Hassan

Researcher, Academic Writer, Web developer

You may also like

Research Paper Conclusion

Research Paper Conclusion – Writing Guide and...

Probability Histogram

Probability Histogram – Definition, Examples and...

Appendices

Appendices – Writing Guide, Types and Examples

Substantive Framework

Substantive Framework – Types, Methods and...

Research Report

Research Report – Example, Writing Guide and...

Delimitations

Delimitations in Research – Types, Examples and...

Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Assignments

  • Annotated Bibliography
  • Analyzing a Scholarly Journal Article
  • Group Presentations
  • Dealing with Nervousness
  • Using Visual Aids
  • Grading Someone Else's Paper
  • Types of Structured Group Activities
  • Group Project Survival Skills
  • Leading a Class Discussion
  • Multiple Book Review Essay
  • Reviewing Collected Works
  • Writing a Case Analysis Paper
  • Writing a Case Study
  • About Informed Consent
  • Writing Field Notes
  • Writing a Policy Memo
  • Writing a Reflective Paper
  • Writing a Research Proposal
  • Generative AI and Writing
  • Acknowledgments

Definition and Introduction

Case analysis is a problem-based teaching and learning method that involves critically analyzing complex scenarios within an organizational setting for the purpose of placing the student in a “real world” situation and applying reflection and critical thinking skills to contemplate appropriate solutions, decisions, or recommended courses of action. It is considered a more effective teaching technique than in-class role playing or simulation activities. The analytical process is often guided by questions provided by the instructor that ask students to contemplate relationships between the facts and critical incidents described in the case.

Cases generally include both descriptive and statistical elements and rely on students applying abductive reasoning to develop and argue for preferred or best outcomes [i.e., case scenarios rarely have a single correct or perfect answer based on the evidence provided]. Rather than emphasizing theories or concepts, case analysis assignments emphasize building a bridge of relevancy between abstract thinking and practical application and, by so doing, teaches the value of both within a specific area of professional practice.

Given this, the purpose of a case analysis paper is to present a structured and logically organized format for analyzing the case situation. It can be assigned to students individually or as a small group assignment and it may include an in-class presentation component. Case analysis is predominately taught in economics and business-related courses, but it is also a method of teaching and learning found in other applied social sciences disciplines, such as, social work, public relations, education, journalism, and public administration.

Ellet, William. The Case Study Handbook: A Student's Guide . Revised Edition. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Publishing, 2018; Christoph Rasche and Achim Seisreiner. Guidelines for Business Case Analysis . University of Potsdam; Writing a Case Analysis . Writing Center, Baruch College; Volpe, Guglielmo. "Case Teaching in Economics: History, Practice and Evidence." Cogent Economics and Finance 3 (December 2015). doi:https://doi.org/10.1080/23322039.2015.1120977.

How to Approach Writing a Case Analysis Paper

The organization and structure of a case analysis paper can vary depending on the organizational setting, the situation, and how your professor wants you to approach the assignment. Nevertheless, preparing to write a case analysis paper involves several important steps. As Hawes notes, a case analysis assignment “...is useful in developing the ability to get to the heart of a problem, analyze it thoroughly, and to indicate the appropriate solution as well as how it should be implemented” [p.48]. This statement encapsulates how you should approach preparing to write a case analysis paper.

Before you begin to write your paper, consider the following analytical procedures:

  • Review the case to get an overview of the situation . A case can be only a few pages in length, however, it is most often very lengthy and contains a significant amount of detailed background information and statistics, with multilayered descriptions of the scenario, the roles and behaviors of various stakeholder groups, and situational events. Therefore, a quick reading of the case will help you gain an overall sense of the situation and illuminate the types of issues and problems that you will need to address in your paper. If your professor has provided questions intended to help frame your analysis, use them to guide your initial reading of the case.
  • Read the case thoroughly . After gaining a general overview of the case, carefully read the content again with the purpose of understanding key circumstances, events, and behaviors among stakeholder groups. Look for information or data that appears contradictory, extraneous, or misleading. At this point, you should be taking notes as you read because this will help you develop a general outline of your paper. The aim is to obtain a complete understanding of the situation so that you can begin contemplating tentative answers to any questions your professor has provided or, if they have not provided, developing answers to your own questions about the case scenario and its connection to the course readings,lectures, and class discussions.
  • Determine key stakeholder groups, issues, and events and the relationships they all have to each other . As you analyze the content, pay particular attention to identifying individuals, groups, or organizations described in the case and identify evidence of any problems or issues of concern that impact the situation in a negative way. Other things to look for include identifying any assumptions being made by or about each stakeholder, potential biased explanations or actions, explicit demands or ultimatums , and the underlying concerns that motivate these behaviors among stakeholders. The goal at this stage is to develop a comprehensive understanding of the situational and behavioral dynamics of the case and the explicit and implicit consequences of each of these actions.
  • Identify the core problems . The next step in most case analysis assignments is to discern what the core [i.e., most damaging, detrimental, injurious] problems are within the organizational setting and to determine their implications. The purpose at this stage of preparing to write your analysis paper is to distinguish between the symptoms of core problems and the core problems themselves and to decide which of these must be addressed immediately and which problems do not appear critical but may escalate over time. Identify evidence from the case to support your decisions by determining what information or data is essential to addressing the core problems and what information is not relevant or is misleading.
  • Explore alternative solutions . As noted, case analysis scenarios rarely have only one correct answer. Therefore, it is important to keep in mind that the process of analyzing the case and diagnosing core problems, while based on evidence, is a subjective process open to various avenues of interpretation. This means that you must consider alternative solutions or courses of action by critically examining strengths and weaknesses, risk factors, and the differences between short and long-term solutions. For each possible solution or course of action, consider the consequences they may have related to their implementation and how these recommendations might lead to new problems. Also, consider thinking about your recommended solutions or courses of action in relation to issues of fairness, equity, and inclusion.
  • Decide on a final set of recommendations . The last stage in preparing to write a case analysis paper is to assert an opinion or viewpoint about the recommendations needed to help resolve the core problems as you see them and to make a persuasive argument for supporting this point of view. Prepare a clear rationale for your recommendations based on examining each element of your analysis. Anticipate possible obstacles that could derail their implementation. Consider any counter-arguments that could be made concerning the validity of your recommended actions. Finally, describe a set of criteria and measurable indicators that could be applied to evaluating the effectiveness of your implementation plan.

Use these steps as the framework for writing your paper. Remember that the more detailed you are in taking notes as you critically examine each element of the case, the more information you will have to draw from when you begin to write. This will save you time.

NOTE : If the process of preparing to write a case analysis paper is assigned as a student group project, consider having each member of the group analyze a specific element of the case, including drafting answers to the corresponding questions used by your professor to frame the analysis. This will help make the analytical process more efficient and ensure that the distribution of work is equitable. This can also facilitate who is responsible for drafting each part of the final case analysis paper and, if applicable, the in-class presentation.

Framework for Case Analysis . College of Management. University of Massachusetts; Hawes, Jon M. "Teaching is Not Telling: The Case Method as a Form of Interactive Learning." Journal for Advancement of Marketing Education 5 (Winter 2004): 47-54; Rasche, Christoph and Achim Seisreiner. Guidelines for Business Case Analysis . University of Potsdam; Writing a Case Study Analysis . University of Arizona Global Campus Writing Center; Van Ness, Raymond K. A Guide to Case Analysis . School of Business. State University of New York, Albany; Writing a Case Analysis . Business School, University of New South Wales.

Structure and Writing Style

A case analysis paper should be detailed, concise, persuasive, clearly written, and professional in tone and in the use of language . As with other forms of college-level academic writing, declarative statements that convey information, provide a fact, or offer an explanation or any recommended courses of action should be based on evidence. If allowed by your professor, any external sources used to support your analysis, such as course readings, should be properly cited under a list of references. The organization and structure of case analysis papers can vary depending on your professor’s preferred format, but its structure generally follows the steps used for analyzing the case.

Introduction

The introduction should provide a succinct but thorough descriptive overview of the main facts, issues, and core problems of the case . The introduction should also include a brief summary of the most relevant details about the situation and organizational setting. This includes defining the theoretical framework or conceptual model on which any questions were used to frame your analysis.

Following the rules of most college-level research papers, the introduction should then inform the reader how the paper will be organized. This includes describing the major sections of the paper and the order in which they will be presented. Unless you are told to do so by your professor, you do not need to preview your final recommendations in the introduction. U nlike most college-level research papers , the introduction does not include a statement about the significance of your findings because a case analysis assignment does not involve contributing new knowledge about a research problem.

Background Analysis

Background analysis can vary depending on any guiding questions provided by your professor and the underlying concept or theory that the case is based upon. In general, however, this section of your paper should focus on:

  • Providing an overarching analysis of problems identified from the case scenario, including identifying events that stakeholders find challenging or troublesome,
  • Identifying assumptions made by each stakeholder and any apparent biases they may exhibit,
  • Describing any demands or claims made by or forced upon key stakeholders, and
  • Highlighting any issues of concern or complaints expressed by stakeholders in response to those demands or claims.

These aspects of the case are often in the form of behavioral responses expressed by individuals or groups within the organizational setting. However, note that problems in a case situation can also be reflected in data [or the lack thereof] and in the decision-making, operational, cultural, or institutional structure of the organization. Additionally, demands or claims can be either internal and external to the organization [e.g., a case analysis involving a president considering arms sales to Saudi Arabia could include managing internal demands from White House advisors as well as demands from members of Congress].

Throughout this section, present all relevant evidence from the case that supports your analysis. Do not simply claim there is a problem, an assumption, a demand, or a concern; tell the reader what part of the case informed how you identified these background elements.

Identification of Problems

In most case analysis assignments, there are problems, and then there are problems . Each problem can reflect a multitude of underlying symptoms that are detrimental to the interests of the organization. The purpose of identifying problems is to teach students how to differentiate between problems that vary in severity, impact, and relative importance. Given this, problems can be described in three general forms: those that must be addressed immediately, those that should be addressed but the impact is not severe, and those that do not require immediate attention and can be set aside for the time being.

All of the problems you identify from the case should be identified in this section of your paper, with a description based on evidence explaining the problem variances. If the assignment asks you to conduct research to further support your assessment of the problems, include this in your explanation. Remember to cite those sources in a list of references. Use specific evidence from the case and apply appropriate concepts, theories, and models discussed in class or in relevant course readings to highlight and explain the key problems [or problem] that you believe must be solved immediately and describe the underlying symptoms and why they are so critical.

Alternative Solutions

This section is where you provide specific, realistic, and evidence-based solutions to the problems you have identified and make recommendations about how to alleviate the underlying symptomatic conditions impacting the organizational setting. For each solution, you must explain why it was chosen and provide clear evidence to support your reasoning. This can include, for example, course readings and class discussions as well as research resources, such as, books, journal articles, research reports, or government documents. In some cases, your professor may encourage you to include personal, anecdotal experiences as evidence to support why you chose a particular solution or set of solutions. Using anecdotal evidence helps promote reflective thinking about the process of determining what qualifies as a core problem and relevant solution .

Throughout this part of the paper, keep in mind the entire array of problems that must be addressed and describe in detail the solutions that might be implemented to resolve these problems.

Recommended Courses of Action

In some case analysis assignments, your professor may ask you to combine the alternative solutions section with your recommended courses of action. However, it is important to know the difference between the two. A solution refers to the answer to a problem. A course of action refers to a procedure or deliberate sequence of activities adopted to proactively confront a situation, often in the context of accomplishing a goal. In this context, proposed courses of action are based on your analysis of alternative solutions. Your description and justification for pursuing each course of action should represent the overall plan for implementing your recommendations.

For each course of action, you need to explain the rationale for your recommendation in a way that confronts challenges, explains risks, and anticipates any counter-arguments from stakeholders. Do this by considering the strengths and weaknesses of each course of action framed in relation to how the action is expected to resolve the core problems presented, the possible ways the action may affect remaining problems, and how the recommended action will be perceived by each stakeholder.

In addition, you should describe the criteria needed to measure how well the implementation of these actions is working and explain which individuals or groups are responsible for ensuring your recommendations are successful. In addition, always consider the law of unintended consequences. Outline difficulties that may arise in implementing each course of action and describe how implementing the proposed courses of action [either individually or collectively] may lead to new problems [both large and small].

Throughout this section, you must consider the costs and benefits of recommending your courses of action in relation to uncertainties or missing information and the negative consequences of success.

The conclusion should be brief and introspective. Unlike a research paper, the conclusion in a case analysis paper does not include a summary of key findings and their significance, a statement about how the study contributed to existing knowledge, or indicate opportunities for future research.

Begin by synthesizing the core problems presented in the case and the relevance of your recommended solutions. This can include an explanation of what you have learned about the case in the context of your answers to the questions provided by your professor. The conclusion is also where you link what you learned from analyzing the case with the course readings or class discussions. This can further demonstrate your understanding of the relationships between the practical case situation and the theoretical and abstract content of assigned readings and other course content.

Problems to Avoid

The literature on case analysis assignments often includes examples of difficulties students have with applying methods of critical analysis and effectively reporting the results of their assessment of the situation. A common reason cited by scholars is that the application of this type of teaching and learning method is limited to applied fields of social and behavioral sciences and, as a result, writing a case analysis paper can be unfamiliar to most students entering college.

After you have drafted your paper, proofread the narrative flow and revise any of these common errors:

  • Unnecessary detail in the background section . The background section should highlight the essential elements of the case based on your analysis. Focus on summarizing the facts and highlighting the key factors that become relevant in the other sections of the paper by eliminating any unnecessary information.
  • Analysis relies too much on opinion . Your analysis is interpretive, but the narrative must be connected clearly to evidence from the case and any models and theories discussed in class or in course readings. Any positions or arguments you make should be supported by evidence.
  • Analysis does not focus on the most important elements of the case . Your paper should provide a thorough overview of the case. However, the analysis should focus on providing evidence about what you identify are the key events, stakeholders, issues, and problems. Emphasize what you identify as the most critical aspects of the case to be developed throughout your analysis. Be thorough but succinct.
  • Writing is too descriptive . A paper with too much descriptive information detracts from your analysis of the complexities of the case situation. Questions about what happened, where, when, and by whom should only be included as essential information leading to your examination of questions related to why, how, and for what purpose.
  • Inadequate definition of a core problem and associated symptoms . A common error found in case analysis papers is recommending a solution or course of action without adequately defining or demonstrating that you understand the problem. Make sure you have clearly described the problem and its impact and scope within the organizational setting. Ensure that you have adequately described the root causes w hen describing the symptoms of the problem.
  • Recommendations lack specificity . Identify any use of vague statements and indeterminate terminology, such as, “A particular experience” or “a large increase to the budget.” These statements cannot be measured and, as a result, there is no way to evaluate their successful implementation. Provide specific data and use direct language in describing recommended actions.
  • Unrealistic, exaggerated, or unattainable recommendations . Review your recommendations to ensure that they are based on the situational facts of the case. Your recommended solutions and courses of action must be based on realistic assumptions and fit within the constraints of the situation. Also note that the case scenario has already happened, therefore, any speculation or arguments about what could have occurred if the circumstances were different should be revised or eliminated.

Bee, Lian Song et al. "Business Students' Perspectives on Case Method Coaching for Problem-Based Learning: Impacts on Student Engagement and Learning Performance in Higher Education." Education & Training 64 (2022): 416-432; The Case Analysis . Fred Meijer Center for Writing and Michigan Authors. Grand Valley State University; Georgallis, Panikos and Kayleigh Bruijn. "Sustainability Teaching using Case-Based Debates." Journal of International Education in Business 15 (2022): 147-163; Hawes, Jon M. "Teaching is Not Telling: The Case Method as a Form of Interactive Learning." Journal for Advancement of Marketing Education 5 (Winter 2004): 47-54; Georgallis, Panikos, and Kayleigh Bruijn. "Sustainability Teaching Using Case-based Debates." Journal of International Education in Business 15 (2022): 147-163; .Dean,  Kathy Lund and Charles J. Fornaciari. "How to Create and Use Experiential Case-Based Exercises in a Management Classroom." Journal of Management Education 26 (October 2002): 586-603; Klebba, Joanne M. and Janet G. Hamilton. "Structured Case Analysis: Developing Critical Thinking Skills in a Marketing Case Course." Journal of Marketing Education 29 (August 2007): 132-137, 139; Klein, Norman. "The Case Discussion Method Revisited: Some Questions about Student Skills." Exchange: The Organizational Behavior Teaching Journal 6 (November 1981): 30-32; Mukherjee, Arup. "Effective Use of In-Class Mini Case Analysis for Discovery Learning in an Undergraduate MIS Course." The Journal of Computer Information Systems 40 (Spring 2000): 15-23; Pessoa, Silviaet al. "Scaffolding the Case Analysis in an Organizational Behavior Course: Making Analytical Language Explicit." Journal of Management Education 46 (2022): 226-251: Ramsey, V. J. and L. D. Dodge. "Case Analysis: A Structured Approach." Exchange: The Organizational Behavior Teaching Journal 6 (November 1981): 27-29; Schweitzer, Karen. "How to Write and Format a Business Case Study." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/how-to-write-and-format-a-business-case-study-466324 (accessed December 5, 2022); Reddy, C. D. "Teaching Research Methodology: Everything's a Case." Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods 18 (December 2020): 178-188; Volpe, Guglielmo. "Case Teaching in Economics: History, Practice and Evidence." Cogent Economics and Finance 3 (December 2015). doi:https://doi.org/10.1080/23322039.2015.1120977.

Writing Tip

Ca se Study and Case Analysis Are Not the Same!

Confusion often exists between what it means to write a paper that uses a case study research design and writing a paper that analyzes a case; they are two different types of approaches to learning in the social and behavioral sciences. Professors as well as educational researchers contribute to this confusion because they often use the term "case study" when describing the subject of analysis for a case analysis paper. But you are not studying a case for the purpose of generating a comprehensive, multi-faceted understanding of a research problem. R ather, you are critically analyzing a specific scenario to argue logically for recommended solutions and courses of action that lead to optimal outcomes applicable to professional practice.

To avoid any confusion, here are twelve characteristics that delineate the differences between writing a paper using the case study research method and writing a case analysis paper:

  • Case study is a method of in-depth research and rigorous inquiry ; case analysis is a reliable method of teaching and learning . A case study is a modality of research that investigates a phenomenon for the purpose of creating new knowledge, solving a problem, or testing a hypothesis using empirical evidence derived from the case being studied. Often, the results are used to generalize about a larger population or within a wider context. The writing adheres to the traditional standards of a scholarly research study. A case analysis is a pedagogical tool used to teach students how to reflect and think critically about a practical, real-life problem in an organizational setting.
  • The researcher is responsible for identifying the case to study; a case analysis is assigned by your professor . As the researcher, you choose the case study to investigate in support of obtaining new knowledge and understanding about the research problem. The case in a case analysis assignment is almost always provided, and sometimes written, by your professor and either given to every student in class to analyze individually or to a small group of students, or students select a case to analyze from a predetermined list.
  • A case study is indeterminate and boundless; a case analysis is predetermined and confined . A case study can be almost anything [see item 9 below] as long as it relates directly to examining the research problem. This relationship is the only limit to what a researcher can choose as the subject of their case study. The content of a case analysis is determined by your professor and its parameters are well-defined and limited to elucidating insights of practical value applied to practice.
  • Case study is fact-based and describes actual events or situations; case analysis can be entirely fictional or adapted from an actual situation . The entire content of a case study must be grounded in reality to be a valid subject of investigation in an empirical research study. A case analysis only needs to set the stage for critically examining a situation in practice and, therefore, can be entirely fictional or adapted, all or in-part, from an actual situation.
  • Research using a case study method must adhere to principles of intellectual honesty and academic integrity; a case analysis scenario can include misleading or false information . A case study paper must report research objectively and factually to ensure that any findings are understood to be logically correct and trustworthy. A case analysis scenario may include misleading or false information intended to deliberately distract from the central issues of the case. The purpose is to teach students how to sort through conflicting or useless information in order to come up with the preferred solution. Any use of misleading or false information in academic research is considered unethical.
  • Case study is linked to a research problem; case analysis is linked to a practical situation or scenario . In the social sciences, the subject of an investigation is most often framed as a problem that must be researched in order to generate new knowledge leading to a solution. Case analysis narratives are grounded in real life scenarios for the purpose of examining the realities of decision-making behavior and processes within organizational settings. A case analysis assignments include a problem or set of problems to be analyzed. However, the goal is centered around the act of identifying and evaluating courses of action leading to best possible outcomes.
  • The purpose of a case study is to create new knowledge through research; the purpose of a case analysis is to teach new understanding . Case studies are a choice of methodological design intended to create new knowledge about resolving a research problem. A case analysis is a mode of teaching and learning intended to create new understanding and an awareness of uncertainty applied to practice through acts of critical thinking and reflection.
  • A case study seeks to identify the best possible solution to a research problem; case analysis can have an indeterminate set of solutions or outcomes . Your role in studying a case is to discover the most logical, evidence-based ways to address a research problem. A case analysis assignment rarely has a single correct answer because one of the goals is to force students to confront the real life dynamics of uncertainly, ambiguity, and missing or conflicting information within professional practice. Under these conditions, a perfect outcome or solution almost never exists.
  • Case study is unbounded and relies on gathering external information; case analysis is a self-contained subject of analysis . The scope of a case study chosen as a method of research is bounded. However, the researcher is free to gather whatever information and data is necessary to investigate its relevance to understanding the research problem. For a case analysis assignment, your professor will often ask you to examine solutions or recommended courses of action based solely on facts and information from the case.
  • Case study can be a person, place, object, issue, event, condition, or phenomenon; a case analysis is a carefully constructed synopsis of events, situations, and behaviors . The research problem dictates the type of case being studied and, therefore, the design can encompass almost anything tangible as long as it fulfills the objective of generating new knowledge and understanding. A case analysis is in the form of a narrative containing descriptions of facts, situations, processes, rules, and behaviors within a particular setting and under a specific set of circumstances.
  • Case study can represent an open-ended subject of inquiry; a case analysis is a narrative about something that has happened in the past . A case study is not restricted by time and can encompass an event or issue with no temporal limit or end. For example, the current war in Ukraine can be used as a case study of how medical personnel help civilians during a large military conflict, even though circumstances around this event are still evolving. A case analysis can be used to elicit critical thinking about current or future situations in practice, but the case itself is a narrative about something finite and that has taken place in the past.
  • Multiple case studies can be used in a research study; case analysis involves examining a single scenario . Case study research can use two or more cases to examine a problem, often for the purpose of conducting a comparative investigation intended to discover hidden relationships, document emerging trends, or determine variations among different examples. A case analysis assignment typically describes a stand-alone, self-contained situation and any comparisons among cases are conducted during in-class discussions and/or student presentations.

The Case Analysis . Fred Meijer Center for Writing and Michigan Authors. Grand Valley State University; Mills, Albert J. , Gabrielle Durepos, and Eiden Wiebe, editors. Encyclopedia of Case Study Research . Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, 2010; Ramsey, V. J. and L. D. Dodge. "Case Analysis: A Structured Approach." Exchange: The Organizational Behavior Teaching Journal 6 (November 1981): 27-29; Yin, Robert K. Case Study Research and Applications: Design and Methods . 6th edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2017; Crowe, Sarah et al. “The Case Study Approach.” BMC Medical Research Methodology 11 (2011):  doi: 10.1186/1471-2288-11-100; Yin, Robert K. Case Study Research: Design and Methods . 4th edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publishing; 1994.

  • << Previous: Reviewing Collected Works
  • Next: Writing a Case Study >>
  • Last Updated: Feb 8, 2024 10:20 AM
  • URL: https://libguides.usc.edu/writingguide/assignments

Join thousands of product people at Insight Out Conf on April 11. Register free.

Insights hub solutions

Analyze data

Uncover deep customer insights with fast, powerful features, store insights, curate and manage insights in one searchable platform, scale research, unlock the potential of customer insights at enterprise scale.

Featured reads

how to write research paper analysis

Tips and tricks

How to affinity map using the canvas

how to write research paper analysis

Product updates

Dovetail in the Details: 21 improvements to influence, transcribe, and store

how to write research paper analysis

Customer stories

Okta securely scales customer insights across 30+ teams

Events and videos

© Dovetail Research Pty. Ltd.

How to write a strong conclusion for your research paper

Last updated

17 February 2024

Reviewed by

Writing a research paper is a chance to share your knowledge and hypothesis. It's an opportunity to demonstrate your many hours of research and prove your ability to write convincingly.

Ideally, by the end of your research paper, you'll have brought your readers on a journey to reach the conclusions you've pre-determined. However, if you don't stick the landing with a good conclusion, you'll risk losing your reader’s trust.

Writing a strong conclusion for your research paper involves a few important steps, including restating the thesis and summing up everything properly.

Find out what to include and what to avoid, so you can effectively demonstrate your understanding of the topic and prove your expertise.

  • Why is a good conclusion important?

A good conclusion can cement your paper in the reader’s mind. Making a strong impression in your introduction can draw your readers in, but it's the conclusion that will inspire them.

  • What to include in a research paper conclusion

There are a few specifics you should include in your research paper conclusion. Offer your readers some sense of urgency or consequence by pointing out why they should care about the topic you have covered. Discuss any common problems associated with your topic and provide suggestions as to how these problems can be solved or addressed.

The conclusion should include a restatement of your initial thesis. Thesis statements are strengthened after you’ve presented supporting evidence (as you will have done in the paper), so make a point to reintroduce it at the end.

Finally, recap the main points of your research paper, highlighting the key takeaways you want readers to remember. If you've made multiple points throughout the paper, refer to the ones with the strongest supporting evidence.

  • Steps for writing a research paper conclusion

Many writers find the conclusion the most challenging part of any research project . By following these three steps, you'll be prepared to write a conclusion that is effective and concise.

  • Step 1: Restate the problem

Always begin by restating the research problem in the conclusion of a research paper. This serves to remind the reader of your hypothesis and refresh them on the main point of the paper. 

When restating the problem, take care to avoid using exactly the same words you employed earlier in the paper.

  • Step 2: Sum up the paper

After you've restated the problem, sum up the paper by revealing your overall findings. The method for this differs slightly, depending on whether you're crafting an argumentative paper or an empirical paper.

Argumentative paper: Restate your thesis and arguments

Argumentative papers involve introducing a thesis statement early on. In crafting the conclusion for an argumentative paper, always restate the thesis, outlining the way you've developed it throughout the entire paper.

It might be appropriate to mention any counterarguments in the conclusion, so you can demonstrate how your thesis is correct or how the data best supports your main points.

Empirical paper: Summarize research findings

Empirical papers break down a series of research questions. In your conclusion, discuss the findings your research revealed, including any information that surprised you.

Be clear about the conclusions you reached, and explain whether or not you expected to arrive at these particular ones.

  • Step 3: Discuss the implications of your research

Argumentative papers and empirical papers also differ in this part of a research paper conclusion. Here are some tips on crafting conclusions for argumentative and empirical papers.

Argumentative paper: Powerful closing statement

In an argumentative paper, you'll have spent a great deal of time expressing the opinions you formed after doing a significant amount of research. Make a strong closing statement in your argumentative paper's conclusion to share the significance of your work.

You can outline the next steps through a bold call to action, or restate how powerful your ideas turned out to be.

Empirical paper: Directions for future research

Empirical papers are broader in scope. They usually cover a variety of aspects and can include several points of view.

To write a good conclusion for an empirical paper, suggest the type of research that could be done in the future, including methods for further investigation or outlining ways other researchers might proceed.

If you feel your research had any limitations, even if they were outside your control, you could mention these in your conclusion.

After you finish outlining your conclusion, ask someone to read it and offer feedback. In any research project you're especially close to, it can be hard to identify problem areas. Having a close friend or someone whose opinion you value read the research paper and provide honest feedback can be invaluable. Take note of any suggested edits and consider incorporating them into your paper if they make sense.

  • Things to avoid in a research paper conclusion

Keep these aspects to avoid in mind as you're writing your conclusion and refer to them after you've created an outline.

Dry summary

Writing a memorable, succinct conclusion is arguably more important than a strong introduction. Take care to avoid just rephrasing your main points, and don't fall into the trap of repeating dry facts or citations.

You can provide a new perspective for your readers to think about or contextualize your research. Either way, make the conclusion vibrant and interesting, rather than a rote recitation of your research paper’s highlights.

Clichéd or generic phrasing

Your research paper conclusion should feel fresh and inspiring. Avoid generic phrases like "to sum up" or "in conclusion." These phrases tend to be overused, especially in an academic context and might turn your readers off.

The conclusion also isn't the time to introduce colloquial phrases or informal language. Retain a professional, confident tone consistent throughout your paper’s conclusion so it feels exciting and bold.

New data or evidence

While you should present strong data throughout your paper, the conclusion isn't the place to introduce new evidence. This is because readers are engaged in actively learning as they read through the body of your paper.

By the time they reach the conclusion, they will have formed an opinion one way or the other (hopefully in your favor!). Introducing new evidence in the conclusion will only serve to surprise or frustrate your reader.

Ignoring contradictory evidence

If your research reveals contradictory evidence, don't ignore it in the conclusion. This will damage your credibility as an expert and might even serve to highlight the contradictions.

Be as transparent as possible and admit to any shortcomings in your research, but don't dwell on them for too long.

Ambiguous or unclear resolutions

The point of a research paper conclusion is to provide closure and bring all your ideas together. You should wrap up any arguments you introduced in the paper and tie up any loose ends, while demonstrating why your research and data are strong.

Use direct language in your conclusion and avoid ambiguity. Even if some of the data and sources you cite are inconclusive or contradictory, note this in your conclusion to come across as confident and trustworthy.

  • Examples of research paper conclusions

Your research paper should provide a compelling close to the paper as a whole, highlighting your research and hard work. While the conclusion should represent your unique style, these examples offer a starting point:

Ultimately, the data we examined all point to the same conclusion: Encouraging a good work-life balance improves employee productivity and benefits the company overall. The research suggests that when employees feel their personal lives are valued and respected by their employers, they are more likely to be productive when at work. In addition, company turnover tends to be reduced when employees have a balance between their personal and professional lives. While additional research is required to establish ways companies can support employees in creating a stronger work-life balance, it's clear the need is there.

Social media is a primary method of communication among young people. As we've seen in the data presented, most young people in high school use a variety of social media applications at least every hour, including Instagram and Facebook. While social media is an avenue for connection with peers, research increasingly suggests that social media use correlates with body image issues. Young girls with lower self-esteem tend to use social media more often than those who don't log onto social media apps every day. As new applications continue to gain popularity, and as more high school students are given smartphones, more research will be required to measure the effects of prolonged social media use.

What are the different kinds of research paper conclusions?

There are no formal types of research paper conclusions. Ultimately, the conclusion depends on the outline of your paper and the type of research you’re presenting. While some experts note that research papers can end with a new perspective or commentary, most papers should conclude with a combination of both. The most important aspect of a good research paper conclusion is that it accurately represents the body of the paper.

Can I present new arguments in my research paper conclusion?

Research paper conclusions are not the place to introduce new data or arguments. The body of your paper is where you should share research and insights, where the reader is actively absorbing the content. By the time a reader reaches the conclusion of the research paper, they should have formed their opinion. Introducing new arguments in the conclusion can take a reader by surprise, and not in a positive way. It might also serve to frustrate readers.

How long should a research paper conclusion be?

There's no set length for a research paper conclusion. However, it's a good idea not to run on too long, since conclusions are supposed to be succinct. A good rule of thumb is to keep your conclusion around 5 to 10 percent of the paper's total length. If your paper is 10 pages, try to keep your conclusion under one page.

What should I include in a research paper conclusion?

A good research paper conclusion should always include a sense of urgency, so the reader can see how and why the topic should matter to them. You can also note some recommended actions to help fix the problem and some obstacles they might encounter. A conclusion should also remind the reader of the thesis statement, along with the main points you covered in the paper. At the end of the conclusion, add a powerful closing statement that helps cement the paper in the mind of the reader.

Get started today

Go from raw data to valuable insights with a flexible research platform

Editor’s picks

Last updated: 21 September 2023

Last updated: 14 February 2024

Last updated: 17 February 2024

Last updated: 19 November 2023

Last updated: 5 February 2024

Last updated: 30 January 2024

Last updated: 15 February 2024

Last updated: 12 October 2023

Last updated: 31 January 2024

Last updated: 10 April 2023

Latest articles

Related topics, log in or sign up.

Get started with a free trial

  • Skip to Guides Search
  • Skip to breadcrumb
  • Skip to main content
  • Skip to footer
  • Skip to chat link
  • Report accessibility issues and get help
  • Go to Penn Libraries Home
  • Go to Franklin catalog

Critical Writing Program: Decision Making - Spring 2024: Researching the White Paper

  • Getting started
  • News and Opinion Sites
  • Academic Sources
  • Grey Literature
  • Substantive News Sources
  • What to Do When You Are Stuck
  • Understanding a citation
  • Examples of Quotation
  • Examples of Paraphrase
  • Chicago Manual of Style: Citing Images
  • Researching the Op-Ed
  • Researching Prospective Employers
  • Resume Resources
  • Cover Letter Resources

Research the White Paper

Researching the White Paper:

The process of researching and composing a white paper shares some similarities with the kind of research and writing one does for a high school or college research paper. What’s important for writers of white papers to grasp, however, is how much this genre differs from a research paper.  First, the author of a white paper already recognizes that there is a problem to be solved, a decision to be made, and the job of the author is to provide readers with substantive information to help them make some kind of decision--which may include a decision to do more research because major gaps remain. 

Thus, a white paper author would not “brainstorm” a topic. Instead, the white paper author would get busy figuring out how the problem is defined by those who are experiencing it as a problem. Typically that research begins in popular culture--social media, surveys, interviews, newspapers. Once the author has a handle on how the problem is being defined and experienced, its history and its impact, what people in the trenches believe might be the best or worst ways of addressing it, the author then will turn to academic scholarship as well as “grey” literature (more about that later).  Unlike a school research paper, the author does not set out to argue for or against a particular position, and then devote the majority of effort to finding sources to support the selected position.  Instead, the author sets out in good faith to do as much fact-finding as possible, and thus research is likely to present multiple, conflicting, and overlapping perspectives. When people research out of a genuine desire to understand and solve a problem, they listen to every source that may offer helpful information. They will thus have to do much more analysis, synthesis, and sorting of that information, which will often not fall neatly into a “pro” or “con” camp:  Solution A may, for example, solve one part of the problem but exacerbate another part of the problem. Solution C may sound like what everyone wants, but what if it’s built on a set of data that have been criticized by another reliable source?  And so it goes. 

For example, if you are trying to write a white paper on the opioid crisis, you may focus on the value of  providing free, sterilized needles--which do indeed reduce disease, and also provide an opportunity for the health care provider distributing them to offer addiction treatment to the user. However, the free needles are sometimes discarded on the ground, posing a danger to others; or they may be shared; or they may encourage more drug usage. All of those things can be true at once; a reader will want to know about all of these considerations in order to make an informed decision. That is the challenging job of the white paper author.     
 The research you do for your white paper will require that you identify a specific problem, seek popular culture sources to help define the problem, its history, its significance and impact for people affected by it.  You will then delve into academic and grey literature to learn about the way scholars and others with professional expertise answer these same questions. In this way, you will create creating a layered, complex portrait that provides readers with a substantive exploration useful for deliberating and decision-making. You will also likely need to find or create images, including tables, figures, illustrations or photographs, and you will document all of your sources. 

Business & Research Support Services Librarian

Profile Photo

Connect to a Librarian Live Chat or "Ask a Question"

  • Librarians staff live chat from 9-5 Monday through Friday . You can also text to chat: 215-543-7674
  • You can submit a question 24 hours a day and we aim to respond within 24 hours 
  • You can click the "Schedule Appointment" button above in librarian's profile box (to the left), to schedule a consultation with her in person or by video conference.  
  • You can also make an appointment with a  Librarian by subject specialization . 
  • Connect by email with a subject librarian

Find more easy contacts at our Quick Start Guide

  • Next: Getting started >>
  • Last Updated: Feb 15, 2024 12:28 PM
  • URL: https://guides.library.upenn.edu/spring2024/decision-making

Have a language expert improve your writing

Run a free plagiarism check in 10 minutes, generate accurate citations for free.

  • Knowledge Base

Methodology

  • Content Analysis | Guide, Methods & Examples

Content Analysis | Guide, Methods & Examples

Published on July 18, 2019 by Amy Luo . Revised on June 22, 2023.

Content analysis is a research method used to identify patterns in recorded communication. To conduct content analysis, you systematically collect data from a set of texts, which can be written, oral, or visual:

  • Books, newspapers and magazines
  • Speeches and interviews
  • Web content and social media posts
  • Photographs and films

Content analysis can be both quantitative (focused on counting and measuring) and qualitative (focused on interpreting and understanding).  In both types, you categorize or “code” words, themes, and concepts within the texts and then analyze the results.

Table of contents

What is content analysis used for, advantages of content analysis, disadvantages of content analysis, how to conduct content analysis, other interesting articles.

Researchers use content analysis to find out about the purposes, messages, and effects of communication content. They can also make inferences about the producers and audience of the texts they analyze.

Content analysis can be used to quantify the occurrence of certain words, phrases, subjects or concepts in a set of historical or contemporary texts.

Quantitative content analysis example

To research the importance of employment issues in political campaigns, you could analyze campaign speeches for the frequency of terms such as unemployment , jobs , and work  and use statistical analysis to find differences over time or between candidates.

In addition, content analysis can be used to make qualitative inferences by analyzing the meaning and semantic relationship of words and concepts.

Qualitative content analysis example

To gain a more qualitative understanding of employment issues in political campaigns, you could locate the word unemployment in speeches, identify what other words or phrases appear next to it (such as economy,   inequality or  laziness ), and analyze the meanings of these relationships to better understand the intentions and targets of different campaigns.

Because content analysis can be applied to a broad range of texts, it is used in a variety of fields, including marketing, media studies, anthropology, cognitive science, psychology, and many social science disciplines. It has various possible goals:

  • Finding correlations and patterns in how concepts are communicated
  • Understanding the intentions of an individual, group or institution
  • Identifying propaganda and bias in communication
  • Revealing differences in communication in different contexts
  • Analyzing the consequences of communication content, such as the flow of information or audience responses

Receive feedback on language, structure, and formatting

Professional editors proofread and edit your paper by focusing on:

  • Academic style
  • Vague sentences
  • Style consistency

See an example

how to write research paper analysis

  • Unobtrusive data collection

You can analyze communication and social interaction without the direct involvement of participants, so your presence as a researcher doesn’t influence the results.

  • Transparent and replicable

When done well, content analysis follows a systematic procedure that can easily be replicated by other researchers, yielding results with high reliability .

  • Highly flexible

You can conduct content analysis at any time, in any location, and at low cost – all you need is access to the appropriate sources.

Focusing on words or phrases in isolation can sometimes be overly reductive, disregarding context, nuance, and ambiguous meanings.

Content analysis almost always involves some level of subjective interpretation, which can affect the reliability and validity of the results and conclusions, leading to various types of research bias and cognitive bias .

  • Time intensive

Manually coding large volumes of text is extremely time-consuming, and it can be difficult to automate effectively.

If you want to use content analysis in your research, you need to start with a clear, direct  research question .

Example research question for content analysis

Is there a difference in how the US media represents younger politicians compared to older ones in terms of trustworthiness?

Next, you follow these five steps.

1. Select the content you will analyze

Based on your research question, choose the texts that you will analyze. You need to decide:

  • The medium (e.g. newspapers, speeches or websites) and genre (e.g. opinion pieces, political campaign speeches, or marketing copy)
  • The inclusion and exclusion criteria (e.g. newspaper articles that mention a particular event, speeches by a certain politician, or websites selling a specific type of product)
  • The parameters in terms of date range, location, etc.

If there are only a small amount of texts that meet your criteria, you might analyze all of them. If there is a large volume of texts, you can select a sample .

2. Define the units and categories of analysis

Next, you need to determine the level at which you will analyze your chosen texts. This means defining:

  • The unit(s) of meaning that will be coded. For example, are you going to record the frequency of individual words and phrases, the characteristics of people who produced or appear in the texts, the presence and positioning of images, or the treatment of themes and concepts?
  • The set of categories that you will use for coding. Categories can be objective characteristics (e.g. aged 30-40 ,  lawyer , parent ) or more conceptual (e.g. trustworthy , corrupt , conservative , family oriented ).

Your units of analysis are the politicians who appear in each article and the words and phrases that are used to describe them. Based on your research question, you have to categorize based on age and the concept of trustworthiness. To get more detailed data, you also code for other categories such as their political party and the marital status of each politician mentioned.

3. Develop a set of rules for coding

Coding involves organizing the units of meaning into the previously defined categories. Especially with more conceptual categories, it’s important to clearly define the rules for what will and won’t be included to ensure that all texts are coded consistently.

Coding rules are especially important if multiple researchers are involved, but even if you’re coding all of the text by yourself, recording the rules makes your method more transparent and reliable.

In considering the category “younger politician,” you decide which titles will be coded with this category ( senator, governor, counselor, mayor ). With “trustworthy”, you decide which specific words or phrases related to trustworthiness (e.g. honest and reliable ) will be coded in this category.

4. Code the text according to the rules

You go through each text and record all relevant data in the appropriate categories. This can be done manually or aided with computer programs, such as QSR NVivo , Atlas.ti and Diction , which can help speed up the process of counting and categorizing words and phrases.

Following your coding rules, you examine each newspaper article in your sample. You record the characteristics of each politician mentioned, along with all words and phrases related to trustworthiness that are used to describe them.

5. Analyze the results and draw conclusions

Once coding is complete, the collected data is examined to find patterns and draw conclusions in response to your research question. You might use statistical analysis to find correlations or trends, discuss your interpretations of what the results mean, and make inferences about the creators, context and audience of the texts.

Let’s say the results reveal that words and phrases related to trustworthiness appeared in the same sentence as an older politician more frequently than they did in the same sentence as a younger politician. From these results, you conclude that national newspapers present older politicians as more trustworthy than younger politicians, and infer that this might have an effect on readers’ perceptions of younger people in politics.

If you want to know more about statistics , methodology , or research bias , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

  • Normal distribution
  • Measures of central tendency
  • Chi square tests
  • Confidence interval
  • Quartiles & Quantiles
  • Cluster sampling
  • Stratified sampling
  • Thematic analysis
  • Cohort study
  • Peer review
  • Ethnography

Research bias

  • Implicit bias
  • Cognitive bias
  • Conformity bias
  • Hawthorne effect
  • Availability heuristic
  • Attrition bias
  • Social desirability bias

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.

Luo, A. (2023, June 22). Content Analysis | Guide, Methods & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved February 19, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/methodology/content-analysis/

Is this article helpful?

Amy Luo

Other students also liked

Qualitative vs. quantitative research | differences, examples & methods, descriptive research | definition, types, methods & examples, reliability vs. validity in research | difference, types and examples, what is your plagiarism score.

📕 Studying HQ

  • A Guide to Writing an Argument Synthesis Essay

Racheal R.N.

  • February 20, 2024
  • How to Guides

A guide to writing an argument synthesis essay 1

What You'll Learn

Introduction

An argument synthesis essay is a critical piece of writing that requires students to analyze and synthesize information from various sources to develop a coherent argument. This type of essay demands a careful examination of multiple perspectives on a given topic and the integration of these viewpoints to construct a well-supported argument. To successfully navigate the intricacies of an argument synthesis essay, one must follow a systematic approach that encompasses thorough research, thoughtful analysis, and effective synthesis.(A Guide to Writing an Argument Synthesis Essay)

Thesis Formation

The first step in crafting an argument synthesis essay is formulating a clear and concise thesis statement. The thesis serves as the central claim of the essay and should articulate the main point or argument that the writer aims to convey. To create an effective thesis, it is essential to identify the key themes and patterns within the selected sources and determine the overarching message that will guide the essay’s development.(A Guide to Writing an Argument Synthesis Essay)

Research and Source Selection

Conducting comprehensive research is fundamental to the success of an argument synthesis essay. Students should explore a range of reputable sources, including academic articles, books, and credible online resources. The selected sources should offer diverse perspectives on the chosen topic, allowing for a nuanced and well-rounded understanding. Evaluating the reliability, relevance, and credibility of each source is crucial to ensure the strength of the synthesis.(A Guide to Writing an Argument Synthesis Essay)

Source Annotation and Analysis

After gathering the necessary sources, it is essential to annotate and analyze each one thoroughly. Annotation involves summarizing the main ideas, identifying key arguments, and noting relevant evidence within each source. Concurrently, critical analysis should assess the credibility of the author, evaluate the intended audience, and identify any potential biases. Understanding the context and purpose of each source lays the foundation for a comprehensive synthesis.

Organizing the Essay

A well-organized structure is pivotal to the success of an argument synthesis essay. The essay typically follows a three-part structure – introduction, body, and conclusion. The introduction should provide background information on the topic, present the thesis statement, and outline the scope of the synthesis. The body paragraphs should each focus on a specific aspect of the synthesis, presenting evidence from the sources and showcasing the writer’s analytical skills. Finally, the conclusion should summarize the key points, restate the thesis, and offer insights into the broader implications of the synthesized argument.(A Guide to Writing an Argument Synthesis Essay)

Synthesis of Information

The heart of an argument synthesis essay lies in the synthesis of information from the various sources. Rather than presenting a mere compilation of individual ideas, the writer must strive to create a coherent narrative that weaves together different perspectives to support the thesis. Effective synthesis involves identifying commonalities and contradictions among the sources, highlighting the relationships between ideas, and showcasing the evolution of the argument throughout the essay.(A Guide to Writing an Argument Synthesis Essay)

Incorporating Counterarguments

A compelling argument synthesis essay acknowledges and addresses counterarguments. By integrating opposing viewpoints, the writer demonstrates a comprehensive understanding of the topic and reinforces the strength of their own argument. This not only adds depth to the synthesis but also showcases the writer’s ability to critically engage with diverse perspectives.(A Guide to Writing an Argument Synthesis Essay)

In conclusion, writing an argument synthesis essay is a multifaceted process that demands careful research, critical analysis, and skillful synthesis of information. By following a systematic approach, from thesis formation to source selection, annotation, and organization, writers can create a compelling and well-supported argument synthesis essay. Emphasizing the importance of thorough research, critical thinking, and effective communication, this guide provides a framework for success in mastering the art of argument synthesis.(A Guide to Writing an Argument Synthesis Essay)

Latifi, S., Noroozi, O., & Talaee, E. (2023). Worked example or scripting? Fostering students’ online argumentative peer feedback, essay writing and learning. Interactive Learning Environments, 31(2), 655-669. https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=q5q2mN8AAAAJ&hl=en&oi=sra

Noroozi, O., Hatami, J., Bayat, A., Van Ginkel, S., Biemans, H. J., & Mulder, M. (2020). Students’ online argumentative peer feedback, essay writing, and content learning: Does gender matter?.  Interactive Learning Environments ,  28 (6), 698-712. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10494820.2018.1543200

Start by filling this short order form order.studyinghq.com

And then follow the progressive flow. 

Having an issue, chat with us here

Cathy, CS. 

New Concept ? Let a subject expert write your paper for You​

Racheal R.N.

Related Posts

  • Comprehensive Argumentative essay example on the Rights of Women
  • Updated – BlueBook Format and Citation Guide
  • Literary Analysis Paper Outline and Literary Analysis Examples
  • How to Write a Research Summary Paper: Easy Guide
  • Free Essays
  • Citation Generator
  • Topic Generator
  • Paraphrasing Tool
  • Conclusion Maker
  • Research Title Generator
  • Thesis Statement Generator
  • Summarizing Tool
  • Essay Topics and Ideas
  • Manage Orders
  • Business StudyingHq
  • Writing Service 
  • Discounts / Offers 

Study Hub: 

  • Studying Blog
  • Topic Ideas 
  • Business Studying 
  • Nursing Studying 
  • Literature and English Studying

Writing Tools  

  • Terms and Conditions
  • Privacy Policy
  • Confidentiality Policy
  • Cookies Policy
  • Refund and Revision Policy

Our samples and other types of content are meant for research and reference purposes only. We are strongly against plagiarism and academic dishonesty. 

Contact Us:

📧 [email protected]

📞 +15512677917

2012-2024 © studyinghq.com. All rights reserved

COMMENTS

  1. PDF Summary and Analysis of Scientific Research Articles

    Being able to summarize and analyze a research article is important not only for showing your professor that you have understood your assigned reading, but it also is the first step to learning how to write your own research papers and literature reviews. The summary section of your paper shows that you understood the basic facts of the research.

  2. How to Write a Research Paper

    Knowledge Base Research paper How to Write a Research Paper | A Beginner's Guide A research paper is a piece of academic writing that provides analysis, interpretation, and argument based on in-depth independent research.

  3. How To Write an Analysis (With Examples and Tips)

    How to write an analysis Writing an analysis requires a particular structure and key components to create a compelling argument. The following steps can help you format and write your analysis: Choose your argument. Define your thesis. Write the introduction. Write the body paragraphs. Add a conclusion. 1. Choose your argument

  4. How to Write a Results Section

    Here are a few best practices: Your results should always be written in the past tense. While the length of this section depends on how much data you collected and analyzed, it should be written as concisely as possible. Only include results that are directly relevant to answering your research questions.

  5. Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Assignments

    A journal article analysis paper should be written in paragraph format and include an instruction to the study, your analysis of the research, and a conclusion that provides an overall assessment of the author's work, along with an explanation of what you believe is the study's overall impact and significance.

  6. The Beginner's Guide to Statistical Analysis

    Step 1: Write your hypotheses and plan your research design. To collect valid data for statistical analysis, you first need to specify your hypotheses and plan out your research design. Writing statistical hypotheses. The goal of research is often to investigate a relationship between variables within a population. You start with a prediction ...

  7. How to Write an Analysis (with Pictures)

    1 Review your assignment carefully. Before you begin working on your analysis, make sure you have a clear understanding of what you are supposed to do. [1] If you're writing an analysis for a class, your instructor probably provided detailed instructions for completing the assignment.

  8. PDF Tips for Writing Analytic Research Papers

    • State your hypothesis or purpose up front, explain why it's important or interesting, and then give a roadmap to show how you'll make your case • Choose interesting facts from the readings and form them into arguments for and against your hypothesis.

  9. The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Research Paper

    1 Understand the assignment For some of you this goes without saying, but you might be surprised at how many students start a research paper without even reading the assignment guidelines. So your first step should be to review the assignment and carefully read the writing prompt.

  10. Analysis in Research Papers

    Analysis in Research Papers. To analyze means to break a topic or concept down into its parts in order to inspect and understand it, and to restructure those parts in a way that makes sense to you. In an analytical research paper, you do research to become an expert on a topic so that you can restructure and present the parts of the topic from ...

  11. 8.5 Writing Process: Creating an Analytical Report

    Whenever you choose to write the introduction, use it to draw readers into your report. Make the topic of your report clear, and be concise and sincere. End the introduction with your thesis statement. Depending on your topic and the type of report, you can write an effective introduction in several ways.

  12. How to Write the Analysis Section of My Research Paper

    Summarize your analysis in a paragraph or two. Write the transition for the conclusions section of your paper. Tip Use compare and contrast language. Indicate where there are similarities and differences in the data through the use of phrases like ''in contrast'' and ''similarly.''

  13. Analysis

    Methods Analysis research involves several steps: Finding and collecting documents. Specifying criteria or patterns that you are looking for. Analyzing documents for patterns, noting number of occurrences or other factors.

  14. Research Paper

    Definition: Research Paper is a written document that presents the author's original research, analysis, and interpretation of a specific topic or issue. It is typically based on Empirical Evidence, and may involve qualitative or quantitative research methods, or a combination of both.

  15. Ten simple rules for carrying out and writing meta-analyses

    Rule 1: Specify the topic and type of the meta-analysis Considering that a systematic review [ 10] is fundamental for a meta-analysis, you can use the Population, Intervention, Comparison, Outcome (PICO) model to formulate the research question.

  16. Research Analysis Paper: How to Analyze a Research Article [2024]

    Do you need to write a research analysis paper but have no idea how to do that? Then you're in the right place. Our specialists will write a custom essay specially for you! Hire Expert While completing this type of assignment, your key aim is to critically analyze a research article.

  17. Research Paper Analysis: How to Analyze a Research Article + Example

    Table of Contents 🔤 Research Analysis Definition 📋 Format 📊 How to Analyze a Research Article ️ How to Write a Research Analysis 📝 Analysis Example 🔎 More Examples 🔗 References 🔤 Research Paper Analysis: What Is It? We'll deliver a custom paper tailored to your requirements. We'll even cut 15% OFF your first order! Use discount

  18. Critical Analysis

    When to Write Critical Analysis. You may want to write a critical analysis in the following situations: Academic Assignments: If you are a student, you may be assigned to write a critical analysis as a part of your coursework. This could include analyzing a piece of literature, a historical event, or a scientific paper.

  19. How to Write an Analytical Essay in 6 Steps

    1 Introduction 2 Body 3 Conclusion The introduction is where you present your thesis statement and prepare your reader for what follows. Because analytical essays focus on a single topic, the introduction should give all the background information and context necessary for the reader to understand the writer's argument.

  20. What Is a Research Methodology?

    Step 1: Explain your methodological approach. Step 2: Describe your data collection methods. Step 3: Describe your analysis method. Step 4: Evaluate and justify the methodological choices you made. Tips for writing a strong methodology chapter. Other interesting articles.

  21. PDF Strategies for Essay Writing

    In a short paper—even a research paper—you don't need to provide an exhaustive summary as part of your conclusion. But you do need to make some kind of transition between your final body paragraph and your concluding paragraph. This may come in the form of a few sentences of summary. Or it may come in the form of a sentence that

  22. Writing a Case Analysis Paper

    To avoid any confusion, here are twelve characteristics that delineate the differences between writing a paper using the case study research method and writing a case analysis paper: Case study is a method of in-depth research and rigorous inquiry; case analysis is a reliable method of teaching and learning. A case study is a modality of ...

  23. How to write a strong conclusion for your research paper

    Writing a research paper is a chance to share your knowledge and hypothesis. It's an opportunity to demonstrate your many hours of research and prove your ability to write convincingly. Ideally, by the end of your research paper, you'll have brought your readers on a journey to reach the conclusions you've pre-determined.

  24. Researching the White Paper

    The process of researching and composing a white paper shares some similarities with the kind of research and writing one does for a high school or college research paper. What's important for writers of white papers to grasp, however, is how much this genre differs from a research paper. ... They will thus have to do much more analysis ...

  25. How To Write An Analytical Essay: Writing Guide With Examples

    Read on how to write a good analysis essay and get some perfect topics for analytical essay writing from the best authors skilled in analysis papers. ... arguments, and evidence that are results of research on a stated topic. To write an analytical essay correctly, you must present facts, prove their relation to the subject, and evaluate each ...

  26. Content Analysis

    Content analysis is a research method used to identify patterns in recorded communication. To conduct content analysis, you systematically collect data from a set of texts, which can be written, oral, or visual: Books, newspapers and magazines. Speeches and interviews. Web content and social media posts. Photographs and films.

  27. A Guide to Writing an Argument Synthesis Essay

    In conclusion, writing an argument synthesis essay is a multifaceted process that demands careful research, critical analysis, and skillful synthesis of information. By following a systematic approach, from thesis formation to source selection, annotation, and organization, writers can create a compelling and well-supported argument synthesis ...