Textual analysis is a broad term for various research methods used to describe, interpret and understand texts. All kinds of information can be gleaned from a text – from its literal meaning to the subtext, symbolism, assumptions, and values it reveals.
The methods used to conduct textual analysis depend on the field and the aims of the research. It often aims to connect the text to a broader social, political, cultural, or artistic context. Relatedly, it’s good to be careful of confirmation bias when conducting these sorts of analyses, grounding your observations in clear and plausible ways.
Turabian style, a version of Chicago style specifically designed for students and researchers, provides formatting guidelines for an annotated bibliography. A typical entry might look like this:
Kenny, Anthony. A New History of Western Philosophy: In Four Parts. Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 2010.
Broad history of Western philosophy from the ancient Greeks to the present day. Divided into four periods—ancient, medieval, early modern, and modern—each section begins with a chronological overview of the key thinkers, followed by chapters dedicated to each significant subfield in the period: metaphysics, political philosophy, God, etc. Kenny generally provides thorough and fair assessments of the major philosophers’ work, but is pointedly dismissive of Derrida and other critical theorists, significantly weakening the book’s coverage of “postmodern” philosophy.
September 25, 2019
December 5, 2022.
The information in this article is largely drawn from Turabian style—a version of Chicago style aimed at students and researchers. When writing a paper in Chicago style, these are the guidelines to follow; for the sake of simplicity, the term “Chicago” is used here.
Place page numbers in the top right or bottom center.
Note that any specific formatting advice from your instructor or faculty overrules these guidelines. Template documents set up in Chicago style are available to download below. Just select the one with the citation style you’re following.
September 23, 2019
December 5, 2022.
A Chicago style bibliography lists the sources cited in your text. Each bibliography entry begins with the author’s name and the title of the source, followed by relevant publication details. The bibliography is alphabetized by authors’ last names.
A bibliography is not mandatory, but is strongly recommended for all but very short papers. It gives your reader an overview of all your sources in one place. Check with your instructor if you’re not sure whether you need a bibliography.
You should choose one of these two citation options and use it consistently throughout your text. The source details are listed in full in a bibliography or reference list at the end. Make sure to pay attention to punctuation (e.g., commas and quotation marks).
September 6, 2019
June 22, 2023.
Thematic analysis is a method of analyzing qualitative data. It is usually applied to a set of texts, such as an interview or transcripts. The researcher closely examines the data to identify common themes – topics, ideas and patterns of meaning that come up repeatedly.
There are various approaches to conducting thematic analysis, but the most common form follows a six-step process: familiarization, coding, generating themes, reviewing themes, defining and naming themes, and writing up. Following this process can also help you avoid confirmation bias when formulating your analysis.
This process was originally developed for psychology research by Virginia Braun and Victoria Clarke. However, thematic analysis is a flexible method that can be adapted to many different kinds of research.