Analysis writing

Going deeper: what is this all about?

This is the most difficult kind of writing to explain because 'analysis' is a term that is frequently used by university tutors in different ways. It always demands that you say more about, for instance, what you are describing or comparing. It requires you to be searching and to ask questions such as:

These are just some of the questions involved in 'being analytical', or 'using analysis'; use them if they seem appropriate. However, it is equally important to think of your own questions, in context, when you are attempting to be analytical.

Strictly, 'analysis' means breaking things down into their constituent parts, and this idea comes from science. This thought can be helpful in understanding what you need to do in any analytical writing. It means that you can't just make 'big' statements, as you might do in daily life. If you do, tutors might suggest that 'you need to unpack it', to 'tease it out' (we say more about this in the section on feedback in Chapter 11). For example, in film studies students are not required to say whether a film is 'good', which is simply a value judgement, but to work out how it is put together to make its impact. Being analytical involves thinking through what you are doing in your writing and the information and ideas you are presenting in a particular, sharp, questioning way.

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