Analysis (from Greek "ἀνάλυσις", "a breaking up") is the process of breaking a complex topic or substance into smaller parts to gain a better understanding of it. The technique has been applied in the study of mathematics and logic since before Aristotle, though "analysis" as a formal concept is a relatively recent development.

As a formal concept, the method has variously been ascribed by Ibn al-Haytham, [MacTutor|id=Al-Haytham|title=Abu Ali al-Hasan ibn al-Haytham] Descartes ("Discourse on the Method"), Galileo, and Isaac Newton, as a practical method of physical discovery.

Use in specific fields


The field of chemistry uses analysis to break down chemical processes and examine chemical reactions between elements of matter. For example, analysis of the concentration of elements is important in managing a nuclear reactor, so nuclear scientists will analyze neutron activation to develop discrete measurements within vast samples. A matrix can have a considerable effect on the way a chemical analysis is conducted and the quality of its results. Analysis can be done manually or with a device. Chemical analysis is an important element of national security among the major world powers with Materials Measurement and Signature Intelligence (MASINT) capabilities.


Chemists can use isotopes to assist analysts with issues in anthropology, archeology, food chemistry, forensics, geology, and a host of other questions of physical science. Analysts can discern the origins of natural and man-made isotopes in the study of environmental radioactivity.

Computer science

* Analysis of algorithms
* Competitive analysis (online algorithm), shows how online algorithms perform and demonstrates the power of randomization in algorithms
* Worst-case execution time, determines the longest time that a piece of software can take to run
* Program analysis (computer science), the process of automatically analysing the behavior of computer programs
* Static code analysis, the analysis of computer software that is performed without actually executing programs built from that software
* Syntax analysis, a process in compilers that recognizes the structure of programming languages, also known as parsing
* Semantic analysis (computer science), a pass by a compiler that adds semantical information to the parse tree and performs certain checks
* Lexical analysis, the process of processing an input sequence of characters and producing as output a sequence of symbols
* Object-oriented analysis and design, à la Booch
* Structured Systems Analysis and Design Methodology, à la Yourdon


* Business analysis, analysing which way improvement of IT systems increases business performance
* Agroecosystem analysis
* Financial analysis, the analysis of the accounts and the economic prospects of a firm
* Fundamental analysis, a stock valuation method that uses financial analysis
* Input-output model if applied to a region, is called Regional Impact Multiplier System
* Principal components analysis, a technique that can be used to simplify a dataset
* Technical analysis, the study of price action in securities markets in order to forecast future prices
* Price Analysis, involves the breakdown of a price to a unit figure
* Market analysis, consists of suppliers and customers, and price is determined by the interaction of supply and demand


Analysts in the field of engineering look at structures, mechanisms, systems and dimensions. Electrical engineers analyze systems in electronics. Life cycles and system failures are broken down and studied by engineers.


The field of intelligence employs analysts to break down and understand a wide array of questions. intelligence agencies may use heuristics, inductive and deductive reasoning, social network analysis, dynamic network analysis, link analysis, and brainstorming to sort through problems they face. Military intelligence may explore issues through the use of game theory, Red Teaming, and wargaming. Signals intelligence applies cryptanalysis and frequency analysis to break codes and ciphers. Business intelligence applies theories of competitive intelligence analysis and competitor analysis to resolve questions in the marketplace. Law enforcement intelligence applies a number of theories in crime analysis.


Linguistics began with the analysis of Sanskrit; today it looks at individual languages and language in general. It breaks language down and analyzes its component parts: theory, sounds and their meaning, utterance usage, word origins, the history of words, the meaning of words and word combinations, sentence construction, basic construction beyond the sentence level, stylistics, and conversation. It examines the above using statistics and modeling, and semantics. It analyzes language in context of anthropology, biology, evolution, geography, history, neurology, psychology, and sociology. It also takes the applied approach, looking at individual language development and clinical issues.

Literary criticism

* Analysis (Homer), an influential school of thought in Homeric scholarship in the 19th-20th centuries
* Psychocriticism, Charles Mauron's method based on Freud's own initial interpretations of literary works such as "Hamlet"


* Mathematical analysis, the generic name given to any branch of mathematics that depends upon the concepts of limits and convergence
* Complex analysis
* Fourier analysis
* Functional analysis
* Harmonic analysis
* Non-standard analysis
* Numerical analysis, the study of algorithms for the problems of continuous mathematics
* Real analysis
* Constructivist analysis


* Musical analysis, a process attempting to answer the question "How does this music work?"
* Schenkerian analysis


* Philosophical analysis, a general term for the techniques used by philosophers
* "Analysis" is the name of a prominent journal in philosophy.


* Psychoanalysis, seeks to elucidate connections among unconscious components of patients' mental processes
* Transactional analysis

ignal processing

* Finite element analysis, a computer simulation technique used in engineering analysis
* Independent component analysis
* Link quality analysis, the analysis of signal quality
* Path quality analysis


* Analysis of variance (ANOVA), a collection of statistical models and their associated procedures which compare means by splitting the overall observed variance into different parts
* Meta-analysis, combines the results of several studies that address a set of related research hypotheses
* Time-series analysis, methods that attempt to understand a sequence of data points spaced apart at uniform time intervals


* Aura analysis, a technique in which supporters of the method claim that the body's aura, or energy field is analysed
* Bowling analysis, a notation summarizing a cricket bowler's performance
* Lithic analysis, the analysis of stone tools using basic scientific techniques
* Protocol analysis, a means for extracting persons' thoughts while they are performing a task

ee also

* Scientific method


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  • Analysis — • The process by which anything complex is resolved into simple, or at least less complex parts or elements Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Analysis     Analysis      …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Analysis — Analysis, der Teil der Mathematik, der alle Untersuchungen über die (positiven und negativen, ganzen und gebrochenen, rationalen und irrationalen, algebraischen und transzendenten, reellen und komplexen, konstanten und veränderlichen) Zahlen… …   Lexikon der gesamten Technik

  • Analysis — Analysis, Auflösung, Zergliederung eines Ganzen in seine Theile, wie sie z.B. der Philosoph mit Begriffen, Urtheilen oder Systemen, der Chemiker mit einem zusammengesetzten Körper, der Grammatiker mit Wort und Satzformen vornimmt. – Die math.… …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • analysis — (n.) 1580s, resolution of anything complex into simple elements (opposite of synthesis), from M.L. analysis (15c.), from Gk. analysis a breaking up, a loosening, releasing, noun of action from analyein unloose, release, set free; to loose a ship… …   Etymology dictionary

  • analysis — [ə nal′ə sis] n. pl. analyses [ə nal′əsēz΄] [ML < Gr, a dissolving < ana , up, throughout + lysis, a loosing < lyein, to loose: see LOSE] 1. a) a separating or breaking up of any whole into its parts, esp. with an examination of these… …   English World dictionary

  • Analysis — A*nal y*sis, n.; pl. {Analyses}. [Gr. ?, fr. ? to unloose, to dissolve, to resolve into its elements; ? up + ? to loose. See {Loose}.] 1. A resolution of anything, whether an object of the senses or of the intellect, into its constituent or… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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  • analysis — [n1] examination and determination assay, breakdown, dissection, dissolution, division, inquiry, investigation, partition, reasoning, resolution, scrutiny, search, separation, study, subdivision, test; concepts 24,103 analysis [n2] statement of… …   New thesaurus

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