How to Analyze a text?Elissa Nixon / June 4, 2019
The analysis of a text is the decomposition of a work or a text into its constituent elements. This analysis is done in order to understand the whole of the intellectual approach of the author. To do this, it is necessary to determine the links that exist between these elements in order to derive an overall plan. You must first put the author and his text in context before beginning your reading. To analyze it, one must have read the text several times by annotating it (see section Reading a text: Reading strategies).
Take note of the following:
Who is he? What is his training? What is his competence to approach the subject?
The intention of the author
What was the purpose of the author in writing this text? In what cultural, social or political context does it fit?
Is it linked to a literary stream?
The type of text
Is it a journal article, a commentary, a thesis or something else?
The subject or theme of the text
What is the purpose, the main idea of the text? What does the text cover?
The idea or the thesis
What idea serves as a guideline throughout the text? What position does the author support in this text?
Main ideas, side ideas and arguments
What is the guiding principle? What are the ramifications? How does he support his ideas?
Does the author rely on laws or theories? What are the arguments invoked by the author to support his reasoning?
To help you get an overview of the structure of the text, it is recommended at this stage to present a summary of the author’s writing plan.
The author’s conclusion
What observations does the author make in this text?
Write now your text analysis:
First, make your own writing plan. Your text must contain the following elements:
Present the subject of the text and its author, the type of text and its interest, then specify the thesis, the guiding idea and the outline of your development.
Rebuild the logic and argumentative structure of the text while highlighting the links and processes used by the author.
Synthesize the author’s thought by recalling the essential ideas of his text. Offer an opening on the subject to broaden the scope. It is possible at this stage to make a judgment or an appreciation of the intellectual approach of the author.