chapter  Chapter 7
Document analysis
WithJane O’Connor
Pages 9

This chapter examines the use of document analysis as a research tool for exploring dominant but often hidden textual discourses relating to education and social equality. It first considers definition and uses of this approach as part of the larger notion of ‘discourse analysis’, critical analysis of texts, images and speech acts. Drawing on the author’s own published research, which investigated how ideologies around ‘gifted and talented’ children were manifest in British newspaper articles, the chapter examines sampling, use of online search terms and data saturation. Ethical questions about informed consent to use material are also considered. In reflecting on data analysis and findings, issues relating to coding and identification of themes, frequencies of words and phrases, and differences in emerging outlooks are scrutinized. The chapter deliberates on generalization of academic responses to institutional and cultural discourses and concludes with reasons for readers to consider using document analysis in their own research.