A framework is presented for considering the relative strengths of Auger electron spectroscopy (AES)/scanning Auger microscopy (SAM) and scanning transmission electron microscopy–electron energy loss spectroscopy (STEM-EELS) when selecting a defect analysis technique. The geometry of the analysis volumes for each technique is visualized. The analysis volume for AES/SAM is shaped like a button while the STEM-EELS analysis volume is more like a thread extending throughout the thickness of the prepared sample. The usefulness of this framework is illustrated with the example of small defect particles. In this example the size and shape of the AES/SAM analysis volume is a better fit to the defect, thus it provides better chemical analysis while STEM provides better images of the defects.