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This chapter in the textbook summarizes the five moves of analysis that later have dedicated chapters: suspend judgment, define significant parts and relationships between them, look for patterns of repetition or anomaly, make the implicit explicit and keep reformulating questions and explanations. Suspending judgment is presented as the first and, in a way, the most important step. It is a predecessor to any step-by-step thinking and a pervasive phenomenon overall, with many philosophers going so far as to consider it an innate part of human nature.
Defining significant parts and establishing the connections between them are easily the most recognizable parts of any analysis. The key element of this part lies in its tendency of moving from larger to smaller, from greater to particular. It can be seen as symbolic of high-quality thinking overall. It allows people to deduct their conclusions based on the premise instead of designing them blindly. To comprehend a subject, one must get past our initial, general, evaluative response to find what the subject is “composed of,” the specifics that most strongly contribute to the overall character.
The third element focuses on making implicit explicit, stating and highlighting the parts that were meant from the beginning. The implications aren’t concealed, but they aren’t entirely spelled out either, making them difficult to extract. The term, as is summarized within the textbook, implication is derived from the Latin word implicate, which meaning is to fold in. The concept of implication is opposed by the term explicit. It literally means folded out, revealed, and brought into the light.
The fourth element of looking for patterns involves identifying either case of systemic repetition, binary opposition, or anomalies. The repetition is significant because it indicates a tendency within the information body. With anomalies, in particular, it is important to recognize them early on in the analysis, to avoid the data analysis getting skewed by uncharacteristic outliers.
Finally, the fifth stage of analytical thinking urges the researchers to keep reformulating questions and explanations, keeping their minds flexible and open to new discoveries. It is not uncommon for an author of the work to change their stanza on the subject throughout the writing process. By maintaining the willingness to question and being prepared to face setbacks and unexpected results, the author sets themselves up for success.
“tendency to judge everything shuts down our ability to see and to think” (p. 5)
“move from generalization to analysis” (p. 6)
“hidden meanings” (p.7)
“the repetition may not be exact” (p.8)
“shouldn’t expect to know exactly where they are going at the start of the writing process” (p.9).
I believe that the first step in the outlined framework is relatively easy to achieve, despite it being the opposite of a fundamental human trait. If the author of the analysis assumes the self-critical approach from the very beginning, this mindset will increase the work’s validity. The second element is, in my opinion, more difficult to achieve since, in the first case, it is enough to recognize one’s propensity to biases, while the second requires information processing skills. The third step appears to be most complex psychologically since some of the implications unraveled might as well be very uncomfortable. The fourth stage seems to be the most interesting of the five, although intellectually demanding, and the fifth one looks simple but is only possible if the previous were carried out correctly.
Rosenwassler, David and Stephen, Jill. “Writing Analytically”. The Five Analytical Moves, 7th ed., pp. 2-36, Thomson Wadsworth, 2016.