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What is Analysis?

In its most basic form, analysis is the stuff in your argument to prove that it is right. Prove, is the key word in that sentence. A lack of analysis is sometimes referred to as an assertion. 

This skill is a focus for students who have already learned to develop an argument using basic paragraph structure, or LEET. In order to prove an argument in any round, you need analysis, so this is a skill that everyone should focus on. 

In debate, we often describe analysis as building a house. If you try to build the top floor of your building before building the foundation, then your structure would crumble. This is why you need to start from the very beginning, and go through very detailed steps—brick by brick. For example:

  • My cat is making my dog sad.
  • The things that make my dog happy are: Food, Walks, and Attention
  • Since I’ve gotten my cat, it steals my dog’s food, sits on my lap so my dog cannot get attention, and keeps me too busy to walk my dog consistently.
  • Because my cat is preventing my dog from enjoying the things that make him happy, my cat is making my dog sad.

This is a very basic line of analysis. The harder something is to explain, or the more complex your analysis needs to be. If you skip a step in your analysis, it leaves room for your opponents to disprove your argument, so it is important to try and make sure all of your steps make sense, and all build on each other.

Steps to make analysis

When impacting, it is important to treat your opponent’s stance fairly. Begin your impact by examining the best-case scenario, and then as you continue to impact, move to worse outcomes. 

  1. Determine the objective of your argument: also called a burden, or the core concept of your argument. Each point you make in a debate should play a role in you case stance. That means each argument has a fundamental objective. 

    Ex: (resolution- THW ban zoos) zoos set animals up poorly for life in the wild

  2. Set up your argument: find the label and initial explanation of your argument. Think back to your lessons in argument structure. Determine where your argument starts in order to end up at your final objective. 

    Ex: in the wild, animals develop a very specialized set of skills in order to survive.

  3. Link examples: Add in examples or evidence to back up what you are saying. 

    Ex: Some skills they need to survive include: sensing predators or danger, and foraging for food 

  4. Expand: continue to expand and impact your analysis. This development of your point should be a step-by-step breakdown of your point. Make sure each idea you present directly links to the previous one.

    Ex: In zoos, animals constantly get their food provided for them, and have a safe carefree environment.

    This means that the animals will never develop the skills to survive in the wild.

  5. Tieback: link your analysis back to the central idea of your argument.

    Ex: Therefore, zoos are setting animals up poorly for life in the wild

  6. So what? After building an argument, you need to explain what its relevance is in the round. This is called impacting. Like its name suggests, you explain the implications or impacts of your argument in relation to the resolution, or the round as a whole. This is a separate skill that is commonly used by advanced debaters. 

    Ex: Because the animals are not set up properly for life in the wild, they are at a disadvantage both in gathering food, but also when threatened by predators.

    This means that as soon as you re-integrate them to the wild, they will likely be killed.

    This is especially important if the species is at risk or endangered, because then holding in the zoo has given them worse skills, which can cause species to go extinct, which will affect the whole food chain. 

    This is why it is critical to ban zoos.

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