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Writing Projects » Key Words » Analyze » Try Your Hand

Almost anything can be analyzed: a physical phenomenon such as a tornado, an ecosystem, or a black hole; a social event such as a high school prom or the war in Vietnam; or a text. The molecular breakdown H2O is just one kind of description of water; let's analyze another very different representation.

Step 1: Study this image carefully.


Step 2: In the box below, describe what you see in this image. In a separate paragraph, reflect on how this description differs from the description of a molecule of water.

Step 3: If you were writing to analyze this picture, what elements would you look for? For example, one element could be the color. Another might be the shapes in the picture, or the light. List as many other elements as you can.

(If you would like to learn more about the visual elements of images, you can visit The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Looking at Art Web site. You might also be interested in Water in Art, by Prof. Chris Witcombe of Sweet Briar College.)

Notice how the different elements you observe affect how you understand the image. How would you rewrite your first description after considering these elements?

Analyzing is a systematic way of understanding things. It is a powerful tool to sharpen your observations and communicate them to your audience.

Have you received an assignment that asks you to analyze something? Do Your Own is a section that can help you get started. We also have a sample CUNY assignment that asks students to analyze.

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