What is Content Analysis? • A way of extracting data from documents, graphics, photos, books, articles, ads or any other human product. • The development of a series of categories of things that represent the contents of a human product. • The identification of typical and atypical things that characterize a type of human product.
Content Analysis Data . . . Can be quantitative or qualitative. Eg. Counting the number of males and females portrayed in an advertisement is quantitative Describing the facial expressions of males and females portrayed in an ad is qualitative
Content Analysis Data . . . Can be summarized and reported using descriptive statistics. Can be summarized and reported using written descriptions in essay format
Book Jackets: An Example • The following is an example of how you would start a content analysis of book covers. I have copied the book covers from 24 best selling books on Amazon.com and posted them on the following PowerPoint slides. • I have then tried to show you the steps for beginning a Content Analysis of these book covers.
7 Book Covers 1 3 5 2 6 8 4
9 15 Book Covers 11 13 10 16 12 14
23 Book Covers 17 19 21 24 20 22 18
Step 1: Ask what kinds of things are found on the book covers (begin a typology of things): For the book covers, eg. Words Places People Numbers Animals Symbols Objects Colors
Step 2 Ask what kinds of things are in each of the categories developed in Step 1. Eg. Words Titles, Authors, Key words, brief descriptions People Whole figures, faces, partial faces, males, females,adults, children, parts of bodies
Step 2 Continued . . . Animals Dogs Objects Apple, weapons, helicopter, anchor, globe, clothing, cell phone, watch/clock Places City skyline, countryside, town/village street Numbers 5
Step 2 Continued . . . Symbols Celtic Cross, Christian Cross Background Colors White, Black, Red, Beige, Blue, Green Accent Colors White, Black, Red, Yellow, Pink, Green,
Step 3 Take each category and begin to count and/or describe the items within the category (quantitative). Eg. For People in Book Covers: 1 Whole figure 8 Partial figures 1 Full face 2 Partial faces 5 Males 6 Females 9 Adults 1 Child 1 Body part (hand) 2 Multiple people shown
Step 3 Take each category and begin to describe how this kind of thing is used (qualitative). Eg. For People in Book Covers: Partial figures, faces and partial faces are used to give the impression of a peek into the content of the book. You don’t get to see the whole person. The implication is that you have to read the book to see the rest of the person. Three of the partial figures are women, naked, sexily posed or walking sexily, suggesting that there will be some kind of sexual content to the book. None of the men are portrayed in this way. Twice two people are shown to indicate relationship. Once a child is shown with a mother’s figure implied. Once two men are shown in partial figure fighting.
Repeat These Steps The content analysis process continues these steps until you have created a numerical and/or descriptive summary of what you see in the objects you are studying. This translates into a report that contains appropriate statistical information and/or descriptive summaries of what you found.
When to Use Content Analysis • Content Analysis is used to study documents and other material cultural objects. • Content Analysis is used to analyze the content of open-ended interviews. • Content Analysis is used to analyze the contents of observations and/or participant observation fieldnotes.
Study Guide • Content analysis • Typology • Qualitative content analysis • Quantitative content analysis