Analyzing a Text

Written Texts

When you analyze an essay or article, consider these questions:

  • What is the thesis or central idea of the text?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • What questions does the author address?
  • How does the author structure the text?
  • What are the key parts of the text?
  • How do the key parts of the text interrelate?
  • How do the key parts of the text relate to the thesis?
  • What does the author do to generate interest in the argument?
  • How does the author convince the readers of their argument’s merit?
  • What evidence is provided in support of the thesis?
  • Is the evidence in the text convincing?
  • Has the author anticipated opposing views and countered them?
  • Is the author’s reasoning sound?

Visual Texts

When you analyze a piece of visual work, consider these questions:

  • What confuses, surprises, or interests you about the image?
  • In what medium is the visual?
  • Where is the visual from?
  • Who created the visual?
  • For what purpose was the visual created?
  • Identify any clues that suggest the visual’s intended audience.
  • How does this image appeal to that audience?
  • In the case of advertisements, what product is the visual selling?
  • In the case of advertisements, is the visual selling an additional message or idea?
  • If words are included in the visual, how do they contribute to the meaning?
  • Identify design elements – colors, shapes, perspective, and background – and speculate how they help to convey the visual’s meaning or purpose.