Text, process, discourse: doing feminist text analysis in institutional ethnography

Órla Meadhbh Murray*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Institutional ethnography (IE) is a feminist approach to research focusing on the organising power of texts and language. This paper explores how to analyse texts in IE while considering the importance of reflexivity and accountability to feminist research. Based on a five year study of UK university audit processes, I developed a three-part IE text analysis approach which sits on a spectrum of closeness to the text(s) under analysis: (i) text – close analysis of one text or a small array of texts; (ii) process – mapping across a textually-mediated process and (iii) discourse – identifying a textually mediated discourse. Additionally, I make three analytic points about how texts organise: the importance of reader interpretation (researchers and users of texts); the strategic multi-layered translation work done by readers to fit into institutions and anticipate readerships; and, the importance of non-readers who can make mythologised understandings of texts material through writing future texts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-57
JournalInternational Journal of Social Research Methodology
Issue number1
Early online date30 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes

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