An analysis (from the ancient Greek. Ἀνάλυσις analysis " resolution ") is a systematic investigation in which the investigated object or subject is decomposed into components ( elements) and these are then sorted, analyzed and evaluated. In particular, relations and effects you look (often: interactions) between the elements.

Antonym of analysis ( " dissolving into individual components " ) is synthesis ( " assembly of elements into a system ").


Depending on the branch of science, various methods are used for analysis.

Natural sciences

In analytical chemistry it comes to determine the individual components of composite materials or solutions which are referred to as the analysis sample with chemical and physical methods. Distinction is made between qualitative ( " Which substances are present ?") And quantitative analysis ( "How much of a particular substance is present ?") Distinguished. In the biochemical analysis combinations of chemical, physical and biological methods are used such as in immunoassays using antibodies and / or enzymes or the DNA - sequence analysis with prior Probenamplifikation by PCR.

Another aspect of the analysis is the concept of structure elucidation of an unknown compound in inorganic chemistry and organic chemistry. From structural analysis is used when the structure of the compound for the first time or without comparative data must be retrieved from identifying if there is reference material, so if it is only a matter of establishing the identity of the chemical compound of a sample with an already known compound. Aids in structural determination are mainly chemical analysis ( elemental composition ), 1H - NMR, 13C -NMR spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, IR spectroscopy, may also be UV-VIS spectroscopy. Also, synthesis reactions, decomposition reactions or derivatization reactions can be used. Evidence of structure is, or was, in such cases, for example, the synthesis of the presumed connection with the aid of known, defined reaction techniques. To identify spectra comparisons also serve ( from the literature or using databases ); added comparisons using chromatographic techniques, with the aid of refractive indices, boiling points, melting points and mixed melting points.


In the humanities, the analysis of a situation in all investigations and studies is similarly oriented. In all the sciences that deal with art and cultural achievements, in particular the theory of art, the analysis is the study of the formal aspects of the information source and the first step to an interpretation of a work.

Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) distinguished between analytic and synthetic judgments. He called the analytic judgments explanation judgments, the synthetic extension judgments ( CPR B 11). Analytic judgments set by his Critique of Pure Reason synthetic ahead, "because where the mind has not found anything before, because it can also resolve nothing," that is, analyze ( CPR B 130).

Methods of analysis

Most branches of science (eg, social and economic sciences, computer science, engineering, etc. ) to use for certain statistical analysis tools. Data analysis corresponds to the phase of the analysis and the subsequent interpretation of the collected data. The aim of such analysis is usually a finding of actual state or the study of causes of actual condition. The analysis phase is usually only a step to solve a problem or improve a situation. Method ' analysis ' has ( like many other methods as well) their limits. One can distinguish between qualitative analysis and quantitative analysis (the former: there are correlations between A and B. The second consists: how much are these? )

See also Qualitative Social Research