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Content Analysis

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  1. CIS 9280 Content Analysis

  2. Definition • Content analysis is a research technique for making replicable and valid inferences from data to their context. (Krippendorff, 1980) • CA is a summarizing, quantitative analysis of messages that relies on the scientific method and is not limited as to the types of variables that may be measured or the context in which the messages are created or presented. (Neuendorf, 2002)

  3. Uses of Content Analysis • Detect the trends, pattern, or differences in documents • Construct standards to evaluate, identify , or audit the context • Identify the intentions, focus or communication trends of an individual, group or institution • Provide an empirical basis for monitoring shifts in public opinion. • Aid in technical research operations (to code open-ended questions in survey interviews) (adapted from Berelson, 1952)

  4. Type of Content Analysis • Conceptual analysis can be thought of as establishing the existence and frequency of concepts – most often represented by words of phrases – in a text. • Relational analysis, or semantic analysis seeks to go beyond presence by exploring the relationships between the concepts identified.

  5. Process of CA Research • Design • Theory and rationale • Conceptualization decisions • Execution • Data making • Unitization • Sampling • recording • Data reduction • Inference • Analysis • Report

  6. Reliability • Stability: the degree to which a process is invariant or unchanging over time. • Reproducibility: the degree to which a process can be recreated under varying circumstances, at different locations, using different coders. • Accuracy: the degree to which a process functionally conforms to a known standard, or yields what it is designed to yield.

  7. Validity • Data oriented • Semantical validity • Sampling validity • Results oriented • Correlational validity • Predictive validity • Process oriented • Construct validity

  8. Demo

  9. Advantages of CA • Looks directly at communication via texts or transcripts, and hence gets at the central aspect of social interaction • Can allow for both quantitative and qualitative operations • Can provides valuable historical/cultural insights over time through analysis of texts • Allows a closeness to text which can alternate between specific categories and relationships and also statistically analyzes the coded form of the text • Can be used to interpret texts for purposes such as the development of expert systems (since knowledge and rules can both be coded in terms of explicit statements about the relationships among concepts) • Is an unobtrusive means of analyzing interactions • Provides insight into complex models of human thought and language use

  10. Disadvantages of CA • Can be extremely time consuming • Is subject to increased error, particularly when relational analysis is used to attain a higher level of interpretation • Is often devoid of theoretical base, or attempts too liberally to draw meaningful inferences about the relationships and impacts implied in a study • Is inherently reductive, particularly when dealing with complex texts • Tends too often to simply consist of word counts • Often disregards the context that produced the text, as well as the state of things after the text is produced • Can be difficult to automate or computerize

  11. Software for Content Analysis • VBPro • CATPAC • Concordance 2.0 • Diction 5.0 • Intext 4.1 • Etc.

  12. Content Analysis: Related Links • For more information on conducting content analysis research • For a list of sample studies of content analysis • For a list of articles dealing with computerized content analysis: • For a list of resources related to content analysis: