Content analysis is a research method for studying documents and communication artifacts, which might be texts of various formats, pictures, audio or video. Social scientists use content analysis to examine patterns in communication in a replicable and systematic manner.
- Content analysis provides an established and systematic technique for dealing with qualitative data.
- In the inductive content analysis, the categories or codes are derived from a systematic reading of a sample set of the materials to be analyzed.
- In the deductive content analysis, codes or categories are derived beforehand, often based on a theoretical framework.
- Content analysis can identify themes and patterns in the data, including how dominantly they are represented.
- Outcomes can be quantitative, counting occurrences of the words, phrases, images, or concepts.
- The method also examines form and structure of communication: for example, scale and location of images or the font and type size of the text.
- For smaller sample sets, content analysis can be done manually; for larger sets, software is available.