Textual analysis is a research method that requires the researcher to closely analyze the content of communication rather than the structure of the content. A textual analysis is most often used to analyze historical documents and narratives. A textual analysis is valuable in research because it allows researchers to understand meanings and ideas expressed through written words.
Unlike most research methods, textual analysis uses the perspective of the writer of a document to interpret the data. This includes taking into account the purpose of the text, the time period in which the text was written and the audience for the text. In addition, the researcher must choose a specific framework to use to interpret the data. For example, a researcher can interpret text using a positivist framework, which is based on the belief that perceptions are the basis for human knowledge or a constructivist framework, which is the belief that the construction and order of words and language create meanings.
There are many ways to conduct a textual analysis. For example, a researcher can count the number of times certain phrases or words are used in a text, analyze the author's narrative technique or dissect and interpret meanings in a text