Saturday, June 18, 2011

Summary Vs. Analysis

What exactly is the difference between a summary and an analysis, if any at all? The two are actually quite different from one another. Let us take a look at the two and see what we find.
A summary is a quick recap of the events of a story. While writing a summary, there is very little imagination or thought required. You are not examining the text, or looking beyond the superficial meaning of the story. You simply condense the story into a few short paragraphs or pages, and touch on the highlights. A summary is not something that can be argued with, it is not opinion, just fact. 

An analysis is an examination of the meaning behind the words of a story. During an analysis, you look deeper into each aspect of the story, and find “hidden meanings” or subliminal messages. An analysis may have a short summary included, so the audience understands what the analyst is claiming, but it is not the main focus of the analysis. Analyses can be argued with, and are based more on an opinion of the text. When a statement cannot be argued or disagreed with, it cannot be called an analysis, but instead a summary.

Here is a good link that explains summary vs. analysis. Obviously, this was used as a handout to writing students, so I thought it appropriate for this post. 

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  1. Good descriptions of summary and analysis. I agree with your explanation of each. Summary is absolutely just a restatement of what the reader already knows so there is not much else you could have said for summary. As far as your explanation of analysis I also think you summed it up perfectly, the point you made about the analysis bringing greater meaning to the piece is a great way to describe it. The only thing I think could have been done differently would be to add one more point about the greatest difference between the two in a final statement to solidify your comparison.

  2. Lani H said:

    Summary vs Analysis

    This is a great explanation of the difference between summary and analysis. Your statement about “simply condensing the story” is wonderful. That is just what you do in a summary. Your point about analysis needing to be supported by argument is well taken.
    Before this class, I never realized how much analysis we should be doing in our everyday reading and writing. Being able to support our ideas with a well constructed arguement is not just something we need for our college classes but for our daily lives.

  3. I felt your description of summary vs. analysis was very concise. What really stood out to me was the word association of Summary - superficial, Analysis - examination. I really think that encapsulates the basic difference.
    I also enjoyed your link. I printed it out for future reference. Thank You

  4. Hi Katie,
    Good post. I agree with you that a summary “is a quick recap of the events of a story.” Your explanation for an analysis is really good and I agree with you too. You really explain everything in great detail and easy to understand. Your post helped me to have a better understanding in the difference between a summary and an analysis. Thanks.