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.

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