Quite a broad term, textual analysis refers to the understanding, interpretation and analysis of texts. Different information like the literal meaning, subtext, assumptions, values etc., can be gathered from a text. Depending on the field and the research, the method used to analyse texts is determined and aims to associate the text with the broader context.
Text is a term that is relatively broader than it seems. Any piece of writing, including publications, email, and transcriptions, can be considered as a text. But in the context of this article, a text is the object whose depth and meaning would be interpreted using textual analysis.
Depending on the type of object and the purpose for its analysis, you will determine the method to analyse it. These include:
Though text analysis is the analysis of written language, it is essential to remember that text is quite a broad term that determines the methods of analysis.
Analysis of texts is a critical component of research in the field of cultural studies and media studies. Researchers analyse cultural and media objects. It includes social media content, advertising content, music videos etc. which can be considered texts for its analysis.
Generally, researchers, when working within a theory like semiotics, robotics, postcolonial theories, etc., seek to connect modern-day issues with the several elements of their texts. Several different aspects of the text might be analysed. These include
In this context, the analysis of the text should be qualitative and creative in its approach, as researchers aim to describe and analyse the underlying context of the object they are investigating.
In the context of social sciences, interview transcripts and surveys form the base of the textual analysis. These data are used to draw empirical conclusions and the social relations between the variables.
A quantitative approach is more common in social sciences, where the text features are numerically measured. For example, a researcher might look into the most commonly used words in a specific language or which colours help to highlight the product better.
Thematic analysis, discourse analysis and content analysis are some of the most common text analysis methods in social sciences.
One of the most common and perhaps the most prevalent use of text analysis can be found in literary studies. Almost every work of this field, like novels, stories, poems, plays etc., involve an in-depth analysis.
Since the subject deals with literary texts, this kind of textual analysis has a greater emphasis and focus on elements that are deliberately constructed, like the narrator’s perspective in a story, the rhyming scheme in a poem, etc. Understanding these attributes lend more to the meaning of the text.
However, this does not only mean describing what the author meant. It also explores what the text reveals about the perspective in which the topic was written, seek potential connections between other contemporary and relevant texts or a new and unexpected way to analyse classic text.
Analysis of texts is conducted to extract deeper meaning from the specific text and discover the different perspectives in its context. Thus, textual analysis helps to add meaning to the text.
Fields of literary analysis often require the most textual analysis as the subject deals with literary texts as suggested by the name.
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