Lesson - Tips for Analyzing an Issue

Tips for Analyzing an Issue

Analyzing an issue is a task that calls for critical thinking and persuasive writing.  You will need to take a position, support it, and express your thoughts about it in writing.  It is not expected that you will have unique background experience with the issue presented.

Each issue makes a claim that can be discussed from various perspectives and applied to many different situations or conditions.  Your task is to present a compelling case for your own position on the issue.  The most successful responses will explore the complexity of the claim and provide compelling evidence for your position. 

It is also essential that you address the central issue according to the specific instructions.  Read sample issues and note the elements that will be discussed in your analysis.

The following questions can help you construct your response:

  • What is the central issue?
  • What are the instructions asking me to do?
  • Do I agree with all or any part of the claim? Why or why not?
  • Does the claim make certain assumptions? If so, are they reasonable?
  • Is the claim valid only under certain conditions? If so, what are they?
  • Do I need to explain how I interpret certain terms or concepts used in the claim?
  • If I take a certain position on the issue, what reasons support my position?
  • What examples -- either real or hypothetical -- could I use to illustrate those reasons and advance my point of view? Which examples are most compelling?

Remember that you are being evaluated on how you handle the complexities of the situation.  You should also address opposing views.

  • What reasons might someone use to refute or undermine my position?
  • How should I acknowledge or defend against those views in my essay?



Your ability to articulate and develop your issue will be evaluated.  There is no "right answer" on which side of an issue to take.  However, you will need to clearly make a claim and support it persuasively.