*Note: this lesson plan is not linked to a particular course, but was developed by Writing at Queens to be easily adapted for any course. You may view and download all lesson plans in this series or download this lesson plan in .docx format.
Outcome: Students will learn the elements of analysis including interpretation and commentary upon “data” through definition, example, and practice.
Work Completed Before Class: Students should have read the assigned materials and thought about an essay topic. Prompt them to underline important passages, have them write in the margin, and/or write important quotes in a notebook.
Sequence of Activities (about 1 hour):
1 (5-10 min) Discuss Harvey’s definition of analysis (below) and the importance of close reading for analysis in terms of their own writing.
2 (10 min) Model paragraph on board in which evidence is used including, introducing a source or main point, explanation of evidence (quotes), and how it supports an overarching argument.
3 (15-20 min) Students work individually. They will pick out a relevant quote and draft a paragraph around it using the model paragraph as a guide.
4 (15 min) Full class discussion in which students volunteer to read their paragraphs. Instructor highlights successful analysis.
Hand-out for students: Gordon Harvey’s definition of “analysis” from “Elements of the Academic Essay” (doc):
Analysis: the work of breaking down, interpreting, and commenting upon the data, of saying what can be inferred from the data such that it supports a thesis (is evidence for something). Analysis is what you do with data when you go beyond observing or summarizing it: you show how its parts contribute to a whole or how causes contribute to an effect; you draw out the significance or implication not apparent to a superficial view. Analysis is what makes the writer feel present, as a reasoning individual; so your essay should do more analyzing than summarizing or quoting.