Developing the Ability to Analyze Historical and Contemporary Information

Apply understanding & knowledge of past events to new situations.

Identify cause and effect relationships.

Practice problem solving through the use of analogies.

Synthesizing Information

Synthesis is creating something new from a number of different sources.  Synthesizing information is a process of examining and inferring relationships among sources and then making those relationships explicit.  Synthesis is also a process of combining information and ideas to create or develop a new idea, focus, or perspective.  An effective way to integrate and synthesize information is to recognize and use four particular thought patterns.  These include:

  • cause-effect – expresses a relationship between two or more actions, events, or occurrences that are connected in time.

  • comparison-contrast – the comparison pattern is used to emphasize or discuss similarities between or among ideas, theories, concepts, or events, while the contrast pattern emphasizes differences.

  • problem-solution – defines a problem and conducts research to test possible solutions.

  • classification – organize information into broad types or categories.

Using Analogies

The use of analogies to understand and interpret situations is another method for analyzing information.  Using analogies requires one to identify similar problems or situations and compare them with the problem at hand.  The use of analogies enables one to learn from the experiences of others.  Some guidelines to follow are:

  1. How are the situations alike?

  2. How are they different?

  3. How well does the analogy apply to your situation?

  4. What does it suggest that you do?