Textual analyses seek to get beneath the surface and help researchers outline culture as a narrative in which particular texts consciously or unconsciously link themselves to larger stories at play in the society. They complement content analyses, which may not tell researchers much about the ways in which they are represented and understood in their environment (Mickler & McHoul, 1998).
Textual analysis of cultural studies often looks at how cultural meanings convey specific ideologies of gender, race, class, gender, and other ideological dimensions. Ideological textual analysis often uses a wide range of methods to fully explicate each dimension and show how they fit into textual systems. Each critical method focuses on certain features of a text from a specific perspective. For example, race theory spotlights race and ethnicity, while gay and lesbian theories explicate sexuality (Kellner
To conduct textual analyses, Miles and Hubermans (1994) instructed readers to immerse themselves in data, organize it into categories, and ask other researchers and readers to look over their articles and gauge the validity of the categories. Similarly, Squires (2007) suggested grounded theory based in the idea that meanings available in data themselves must guide a researcher rather than shoehorning data into preexisting theoretical models. Through intense interaction with text, one can achieve confidence that her analysis makes sense and goes beyond mere opinion (Squires, 2007).