Text analysis

To be able to say more about whether a source is relevant to your thesis, you should analyse the text to find out why it was written and what reasons the author had for writing this particular text.

There are three general reasons for writing a scientific text:

  1. To investigate a topic
  2. To analyse a problem
  3. To disseminate material or results

We will focus on point 3 here. How are results disseminated?

Text analysis firstly focuses on finding out what the author wants to communicate to you as a reader. Secondly you should find out how the author communicates their results by looking at the rhetoric used. And finally, the analysis enables you to see in which subject contexts the text was developed. How does the text relate to other texts?

What does the author want to communicate?

  • What does the researcher find in their material?
  • Which material does the researcher base their work on? What type of empiricism is it based on?
  • Does the researcher have sufficient theoretical and empirical documentation for their claims?
  • Does the researcher draw conclusions in the material that are particularly important for the arguments they present?
  • What perspective is the researcher working from?
  • How can you use the results in your thesis?


  • How does the author try to convince you that their perspective is valuable?
  • How does the author, possibly, hide other perspectives or weaknesses in the presentation?
  • What does the author do to keep your attention?
  • How does the author create interest for the text? Which examples are used? Are they funny? Disquieting? Informative?
  • What attitude does the author have to the material presented. How is the reader engaged? Does the enthusiasm inspire you? Is the tone instructive? Is there academic substance?

What is the relationship to other texts?

View the text in relation to other texts. Ask the following questions:

  • What is the text answering/what does it challenge?
  • How is the text influenced by other current texts?

Last updated: December 19, 2017

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