How to Write an Analysis Response Essay

Updated on March 10, 2017
VirginiaLynne profile image

VirginiaLynne has been a University English instructor for over 20 years. She specializes in helping people write essays faster and easier.

Analysis Response Essays Include:

1. Evaluating author's purpose and audience.

3. Analyzing effectiveness of writing for that purpose and audience.

4. Giving personal response.

What You Need to Do

You have two jobs in this sort of essay. Your first job is to think carefully about what the author is trying to say to readers and to decide whether they write effectively to persuade that audience. Secondly, you need to explain how you personally react to the essay. Does this essay persuade you? Give you new ideas? Remind you of something you've seen, read or heard? Have you had a personal experience which gives you an insight into this subject?

Evaluating Purpose and Audience

In order to analyze the essay, you will need to consider the author's purpose in writing and the audience the author intended to reach. You may or may not be a part of that audience. In addition, you will need to consider any events or historical circumstances that prompted the author to write. Here are some questions to answer that can help you develop this part of your essay:

  1. Who was the author? What is their point of view on this subject? What about their personal life would make them take this point of view? You might want to research to find out more about the author's life.
  2. Why did the author write this? Before you can decide whether the author did a good job of writing the article, or what was effective or ineffective, you will need to decide what the author intended to so. To find out the purpose, think about these questions:
  3. When was the article written? What was happening in that moment of time that made the author decide to write? You might want to research the news, events or ideas in the article.
  4. Who was the audience for this article? Was the author writing to people who would tend to agree with them on the issue, trying to persuade a group that was neutral, or trying to argue with an audience who disagreed?
  5. Where was this published? What sort of a publication was this and who were the readers? What did the readers of this publication think about this subject? Were readers of the article the main group the author hoped to persuade?
  6. What is the takeaway for readers? What does the author want the readers to think, believe or do after reading this article?

Summary

Often, you will need to include at least a brief summary of the ideas in the article you are discussing. If your audience is familiar with the text, then this can be a one or two sentence reminder:

Example: In Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, King sets forth his idea of a society free from racial discrimination and encourages his audience to not only envision but to work to create this new world.

If your article is not familiar to your readers, you may need to do a more extended summary, but be careful not to get into too many details because you want to make sure most of your paper is analysis and response. Just tell the main ideas. Generally, one paragraph is enough.

Want to include more? Don't forget that you can include more details from the original article as examples to prove your different points of analysis or reasons for your response.

Respond to Images

Hay on crowded road. How would you analyze this photo?
Hay on crowded road. How would you analyze this photo? | Source

Analysis

Basic Features

  1. Describes author's purpose in writing.
  2. Explains historical context and events which prompted the author to write.
  3. Analyzes intended audience and what they believe about this subject.
  4. Examines how this piece of writing fits into other writing about this subject.
  5. Describes the organization of the essay.
  6. Tells the claim and sub-claims.
  7. Explains the support.
  8. Analyzes the type, quantity, quality and relevance of the support.
  9. Explains how the author shows they are an authority.
  10. Explains how the author makes their writing interesting and effective for this audience.
  11. Tells what makes this essay effective or ineffective as an argument.

Analysis Includes

Description: How the paper is written.

Evaluation: How effectively it persuades.

How to Write

There are several ways to effectively analyze an article but every analysis must have two parts: description and evaluation. How do you do this? First, it helps to do a short outline or write notes as you read so that you can see the structure of how the essay is written. Second, answer the following questions. One hint I give students is that if they write the answers to the questions in full sentences, you can actually save a lot of time because those full sentences can be copied and pasted right into your essay.

Description Questions

  1. What kind of an essay is it? Types of essays: cause, problem solution, definition, evaluation, analysis, comparison and contrast, personal experience.
  2. What sort of claim does it make? Types of claims: fact, definition, cause, value, policy.
  3. How is the essay organized?
  4. What is the main claim of the essay?
  5. What are the sub-claims or reasons to support the thesis?
  6. What does the author do at opening and conclusion?
  7. What kind of support does the author use? Types of support: Logical: sign, induction, cause, deduction, analogy, definition, statistics, pathos, authority, emotional, values. Don't forget visual proof and stories in the article which attempt to persuade you.

Evaluation Questions

  1. Who is the audience? How well does the author appeal to this audience? How does the author establish common ground?
  2. Is the organization effective?
  3. Is support effective? Relevant? Enough? Logical?
  4. What is the purpose of the author in this essay? Is the argument obvious? Extremist? Hidden? Unconscious? Exploratory? Objective Reporting?
  5. Is this article a classic argument where the author wants to convince you of their point? Or is it more exploratory and consensual, attempting to look at several sides of an issue and letting the reader decide or leaving the decision tentative?
  6. What are the constraints on this issue? What current events, circumstances or attitudes affect the audience and author?

Author Tone and Style

Source

Analysis Sample

Use this sample format to take your questions from description and evaluation above to turn them into a smoothly written paper. The "XXX" is your answer:

Summary:

In "Why I Hate Cats" author John Stephans explains XXX (give a summary of article).

Description:

"Why I Hate Cats" is an XXX essay which makes the claim XXX. The essay opens with XXX and makes the claim XXX in paragraph XXX that XXX. The rest of essay is organized by XXX (very brief description of the outline of essay perhaps telling where the description of problem is, where claims are and where support is located in the paper).

Evaluation:

Because the article was published in XXX, the intended audience is probably XXX and they believe XXX. Stephans wants to convince them XXX. The author establishes his/her authority by XXX. The author assumes an audience who XXX. He (She) establishes common ground with the audience by XXX. The purpose of the author is XXX. The constraints on discussing this issue are XXX.

The support includes XXX. The support is adequate (inadequate) and is relevant (irrelevant) to the author’s claim because XXX.

Overall, the article is effective (or ineffective) because XXX.

Response

How do you respond?
How do you respond? | Source

How to Write

A response answers the question, "What did you think?" It may include one or more of the following:

  1. Your personal reaction to the article's ideas.
  2. Your reaction to the author's writing.
  3. Your opinion about the topic.
  4. How your life experience makes you reflect on this topic in a similar or different way from the author.
  5. How the current events when you are reading the essay make you view the article ideas differently.
  6. How other things you've read, heard about or seen make you reflect on the article.

Part of your reaction will be based on your life experiences and values. In order to evaluate your reaction, you need to think about how your life has been the same or different from the authors. You may want to address those similarities or differences in your response. In addition, you can consider what about the way the author has written the piece makes you respond the way you did. Perhaps you agree with the author's claim, but find the writing dull and ineffective, the examples outdated, or the argument too predictable.

Response Questions

  1. What is your personal reaction to the essay?
  2. What common ground do you have with the author?
  3. What was the original audience of the essay? How are they the same or different from you? Did the author argue effectively for the original audience?
  4. What in the essay is new to you?
  5. What does this essay make you think about?
  6. How do current events relate to this essay?
  7. What personal experiences does this essay remind you about?
  8. How do other things you've heard or read about relate to essay ideas?
  9. What do you like or dislike about the essay and/or the ideas in the essay?

Sample Response

Before reading this essay, my understanding of this topic was XXX. I have XXX as common ground with the author. I am like the original audience because XXX and unlike them because of XXX. My reaction to this essay is XXX. What was new to me is XXX. This essay makes me think XXX. I like/ dislike XXX in the essay.

Analysis Essay Poll

Which would you rather analyze and evaluate?

See results

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • profile image

        Shana 

        5 years ago

        I had to read the story Attitude is everything and report what it is that the eassy means, as well as giving my evaulutaion of the ideas in the story.

      • rockdresses profile image

        rockdresses 

        6 years ago from Turkey

        very useful information!

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, owlcation.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://owlcation.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)