When you surf the net looking for information, do you quickly breeze through various blog posts, or do you take the time to really dig deep and examine them?
If you’re a “breezer,” this blog post on how to analyze an article will (hopefully!) change your approach. If you consider yourself more of an “examiner” already, this post will teach you a simple process to better analyze the information you consume.
Why analysis is so important
Before you dive in and start analyzing every article on the internet, it would behoove you (good word, behoove!) to understand why critical analysis is so important in the first place. Otherwise, you’ll just be analyzing for the sake of it, which isn’t productive.
So why is analysis a critical step when digesting new information?
Reason 1: It will help you remember what you’ve learned
Many articles throw a lot of information at the reader, really quickly. It’s easy for important details to get lost in the avalanche. But when you analyze an article correctly, you take time to break the subject matter down into its most crucial points.
We’ll explore this step further in a later section of this post. But for now, just ask yourself: What’s easier to remember, a few well-defined statements (main article points), or an entire blog post worth of information?
The answer is clear.
When you analyze the articles you read, you give your mind something much more tangible and concrete to hold on to.
Reason 2: It will sharpen your critical thinking skills
You can’t analyze an article without evaluating the words the author has written. This evaluation process will sharpen your critical thinking skills, which are extremely important in all areas of life. They’re also highly valued by employers in every industry.
Critical thinking is defined as “the ability to analyze information objectively and make a reasoned judgment.”
For example, Johnny, a customer support manager, analyzes the many customer feedback surveys his department receives each month. Based on his findings, he’s able to make the necessary updates to the company’s customer service training program.
This is critical thinking in action. This is valuable.
Reason 3: It will make you a more valuable professional
The ability to analyze an article will make you a more valuable professional. If you’re able to remember more of what you read, you’ll be more knowledgeable than your colleagues. Knowledge, as they say, is power.
If you develop your critical thinking skills, you’ll be much more adept at problem solving, identifying opportunities, and avoiding common professional pitfalls. You’ll be able to evaluate information more efficiently and make better decisions for yourself and your company.
Both of these skills, memorization and critical thinking, will make you, as a professional, indispensable to the company you work for.
How to analyze an article like a pro
Now that you’ve been educated on the importance of article analysis, you’re now surely hellbent on learning how to do it properly.
You’ll need to learn and complete five steps to analyze an article like a pro. After you begin to employ it, you’ll quickly reap the rewards and likely enjoy the article reading process more.
Let’s get to those steps, shall we?
Step 1: Get a feel for the article’s contents
The very first thing you need to do to successfully analyze an article is read it all the way through. Obvious? Sure, but it’s still an important step!
Start with the title. If it’s been written well, it should convey the overarching theme the author is writing on and what the major takeaway should be. Then skim through the subheads. These should signify the secondary points and proofs the author is using to reinforce his or her claims.
Finally, go ahead and read the entire article. But don’t just read for the sake of it. Be intentional about it. Do your best to understand where the author is coming from and what points he/she is trying to get across.
Step 2: Investigate any information you don’t understand
If the author has done a good job writing the piece, there should be at least one bit of new information included in the article. This might be new research, a fresh perspective, or an original approach. It may be something you don’t fully understand, especially if the topic is foreign to you.
To analyze this article properly, you need to dig deeper. Research the authority of the author, the claims they’re making, and any words you don’t understand.
The idea is to be able to fully comprehend the content contained in the article. If you don’t you won’t be able to analyze it.
Step 3: Summarize the main points in your own words
After reading the article and investigating any information that wasn’t immediately clear, you should be able to summarize the main points of the piece in your own words. If you can’t, go back and re-read the article.
Why is summarizing important?
Because it will tell you if you have a solid handle on the information or not. To really analyze an article, you have to understand the points the author is trying to make.
We recommend writing your summary down on a piece of paper, but this is optional. At the very least, speak your summary out loud to ensure complete comprehension.
Step 4: Formulate your own opinion on the subject matter
Remember when we talked about critical thinking earlier? Well, this is where that skill comes into play.
What do you think of the article you just read and summarized?
Was it well-written?
Was the information presented in a clear and compelling way?
More importantly, do you agree with the conclusions the author drew?
Why or why not?
Figuring out whether you wholeheartedly accept the writer’s position, vehemently oppose it, or find yourself somewhere in the middle is the main point of this exercise. Be sure to block out an adequate amount of time for this step!
Once you do, you can formulate your own opinion on the topic.
Step 5: Implement your newly acquired Knowledge
After you’ve acquired new information, filtered it through your individual lens–the way you see the world and the people in it–and formed your own opinion on the topic, you can then implement your new knowledge or process.
This is another reason why approaching every article you read with an analytical eye is so important.
You can take what you’ve learned and feel confident that it will propel you forward because you thoroughly vetted the information. Or, if you disagree with the author of the article, you can confidently say so and adopt another approach.
Either way, you win!
Article analysis in action
That’s it, how to analyze an article in five convenient steps. Pretty simple, right? We’re glad you think so! But how about we test your newfound knowledge? Here’s what we’d like you to do: apply everything you just learned to this blog post.
That’s right. We want you to analyze the article you just read, right now.
We promised you a little audience participation section at the beginning of the post, right? Here it is. You’ve already completed step one by reading this post. Now you need to carry on with the other four steps.
And here’s an extra challenge, if you’re up for it: Why not try timing yourself with our time tracker during the exercise?
Do you find yourself spending more time on the text than you otherwise would (if you’re a “breezer”), or does the five-step process actually help you read faster (if you’re an “examiner”)?
After you’ve fully analyzed this piece, post your thoughts in the comment section below. We’ll read and respond to every entry and we can’t wait to hear your insights!
As we’ve just seen, deep article analysis is an essential skill for ambitious professionals. It will help you better remember the things you read about, improve your critical thinking skills, and make you a more valuable employee or successful business owner.
To effectively analyze an article, you first need to read it in its entirety. Do you best to understand where the author is coming from and investigate any information that doesn’t make sense to you. This could be claims they’ve made or definitions of words they’ve used.
Next, you need to be able to summarize the main point of the article. This will tell you if you have a solid handle on the information or not. Once you’re able to summarize the piece, you can then formulate your own opinions on the topic. Do you agree or disagree with the author? Why?
Finally, now that you’ve adequately analyzed the article, you can implement your newly acquired knowledge. How will this new information affect your current mindset, approach to problems, or business processes?
Don’t forget to participate and analyze this article! We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. Happy analyzing!