Putting It Together: Analysis and Synthesis

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The ability to analyze effectively is fundamental to success in college and the workplace, regardless of your major or your career plans. Now that you have an understanding of what analysis is, the keys to effective analysis, and the types of analytic assignments you may face, work on improving your analytic skills by keeping the following important concepts in mind:

  1. Recognize that analysis comes in many forms. Any assignment that asks how parts relate to the whole, how something works, what something means, or why something is important is asking for analysis.
  2. Suspend judgment before undertaking analysis.
  3. Craft analytical theses that address how, why, and so what.
  4. Support analytical interpretations with clear, explicitly cited evidence.
  5. Remember that all analytical tasks require you to break down or investigate something.

Analysis is the first step towards synthesis, which requires not only thinking critically and investigating a topic or source, but combining thoughts and ideas to create new ones. As you synthesize, you will draw inferences and make connections to broader themes and concepts. It’s this step that will really help add substance, complexity, and interest to your essays.