4.1: Defining analysis
In a nutshell
The following presents what you essentially need to know about this topic.
In a nutshell - Text version
- Analysis involves breaking things down into parts and looking closely at relations between those parts to see what they mean.
- Analysis describes content; discovers relations; interprets relations.
- In academic contexts, we need to be very aware of the analytical processes we are engaged in.
- The process of analysis will be initially guided by our overall purpose, which will point us in the direction that our enquiry needs to take.
- Analysis is both ‘destructive’ and ‘constructive’; it breaks things down, but then rebuilds in meaningful ways to clarify the ‘bigger picture’.
- Any piece of information or data can be analysed: the results of a scientific experiment; the origins and development of a political movement; a case study outlining and evaluating patient care in a hospital; a ‘text’ in the form of a building, a painting, a poem or a piece of music.
- An academic text such as a description, analysis, critical review or argument can be subject to analysis.
- An idea, concept or other kind of mental representation can also be broken down and analysed.
- If you want more information about this topic, refer to ‘The complete’ version below.
The complete version
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