Your main idea needs support, either in the form of evidence that supports your argument or examples that explain your idea. If you don’t have any evidence or examples to support your main idea, your idea may not be strong enough to warrant a complete paragraph. In this case, re-evaluate your idea and see whether you need even to keep it in the paper. This goes the same for writing an essay. The evidence should support the main argument of the writing assignment. If it does not, your writing may lack focus and need to be revised.
Analysis is the heart of academic writing. While your readers want to see evidence or examples of your idea, the real “meat” of your idea is your interpretation (analysis) of your evidence or examples: • How you break down the ideas or evidence. • Compare ideas. • Compile your ideas to build a persuasive case. • Demonstrate the strengths and weaknesses of the evidence.
Analysis is always needed for any type of evidence or example you use to support your main point. Whether you include the evidence as a paraphrase, summary, or direct quotation your analysis is critical. It demonstrates how the evidence helps you make your case. Think about how each source fits into the context of your main ideas the paragraph and in the overall thesis of your essay.