Is Textual Analysis Qualitative Or Quantitative?

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Is Textual Analysis Qualitative Or Quantitative?

Textual analysis is a popular tool for extracting information from written documents. It is used to draw conclusions from text-based data, such as books, articles, speeches, and more. But is textual analysis qualitative or quantitative? The answer is not as straightforward as it may seem.

Textual analysis can be used to answer both qualitative and quantitative questions. Qualitative questions explore the meaning and context of the text, while quantitative questions focus on the occurrence and frequency of certain words, phrases, or topics. Depending on the type of research question being asked, textual analysis can be used as either a qualitative or quantitative method.

Qualitative Textual Analysis

Qualitative textual analysis is used to explore the meaning behind text-based data. It is useful for research questions that focus on understanding people’s beliefs, attitudes, and motivations. For example, a qualitative textual analysis of a book could reveal the themes and ideas that the author is trying to convey. It could also identify recurring patterns in the text that may reveal hidden meanings.

Qualitative textual analysis often involves close reading, coding, and analysis of the text. Close reading involves reading the text closely and carefully to identify patterns and themes. Coding involves categorizing passages of text according to specific topics or themes. Analysis involves interpreting the text and drawing conclusions from the patterns and themes identified in the close reading and coding processes.

Quantitative Textual Analysis

Quantitative textual analysis focuses on the occurrence and frequency of certain words, phrases, or topics within a text. It is used to answer questions about the structure and content of a text, such as how often certain words are used and how they are distributed throughout the text.

Quantitative textual analysis often involves the use of software programs, such as text mining and natural language processing, to analyze large volumes of text quickly. These programs allow researchers to identify key words and phrases, analyze text for sentiment and emotion, and create word clouds and other visualizations of the text.

Conclusion

Textual analysis is a powerful tool for extracting information from written documents. It can be used to answer both qualitative and quantitative research questions. Qualitative textual analysis focuses on the meaning behind the text, while quantitative textual analysis focuses on the occurrence and frequency of certain words, phrases, or topics.

If you’re interested in learning more about textual analysis, we recommend the following resources:

  • Qualitative Text Analysis: A Guide to Methods, Practice, and Using Software, a book by Ulla Connor
  • Text Analysis in Research, an article by Reineke Reitsma
  • Text Analytics, an overview from Lexalytics

Textual analysis is a valuable tool for extracting information from written documents. It can be used to answer qualitative and quantitative questions, depending on the type of research question being asked. By understanding the capabilities and limitations of textual analysis, researchers can make better use of this valuable tool.

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