Time requirements: 30-50 minutes

Special features: This technique helps students develop their analytical skills in any field by observing your analytical skills in action.


  1. Select a document (a short review, section of computer programming, poem, proof, chart, abstract from an article, news item, etc.) to analyze as an example.
  2. Make enough copies of a similar document to distribute to all class members or to small groups (depending on your preference).
  3. Perform an analysis of your document in front of the class, making clear the procedure you use to reach your assertions, and using visual aids and supplementary material as necessary.
  4. Give students five to ten minutes to analyze their document: the conclusions they reach will be their own, but they will have learned rigour and analytical skills from you.
  5. Depending on class size, have students (or representatives from small groups) present their analysis, and respond to each one.

Function in the class: An entire 50-minute tutorial or lecture can be structured around this exercise. Consider leading into the exercise with a mini-lecture on the type of document you and your students will be analyzing.