Text Analysis

Qualitative and Quantitative Methods

Published in: Handbook of Research Methods in Cultural Anthropology Qualitative Research / Edited by H. Russell Bernard (Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press, 1998), p. 595-646

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 1998

by H. Russell Bernard, Gery W. Ryan

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The systematic analysis of text--from political speeches to folktales--is growing in interest across the social sciences. In this chapter, the authors discuss two broad types of text analysis: the linguistic tradition, which treats text as an object of analysis itself, and the sociological tradition, which treats text as a window into human experience. For the linguistic tradition, the authors review how anthropologists have collected and produced texts, analyzed indigenous literatures, discovered patterns and structures in performance styles, and compared the production of narratives within and across cultures. For the sociological tradition, they review the methods of schema analysis, grounded theory, classical content analysis, semantic network analysis, cognitive mapping, and Boolean analysis. The authors close their review with a list of questions that might be useful in guiding future research on methods of text analysis.

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