• Researchers quantify and analyze the presence,
meanings and relationships of such words and
concepts, then make inferences about the
messages within the texts, the writer(s), the
audience, and even the culture and time of which
these are a part.
CONTENT ANALYSIS IS A
• Based on measuring/counting/reporting on the occurrence of
selected item/phenomena in a speciﬁc or representative
• CAN employ both qualitative analysis - but tends towards
numbers and data suitable for computer
• Toconduct a content analysis on any such text, the
text is coded, or broken down, into manageable
categories on a variety of levels--word, word sense,
phrase, sentence, or theme--and then examined
using one of content analysis' basic methods:
conceptual analysis or relational analysis.
Counting 70+ M
• What are you looking for? What are you going to count?
the elements you are looking for ie. particular words
the text... how will you identify each element when it
occurs, what categories or groupings will you use?
• What conclusions can be drawn from the information?
• Who might commission this sort of research?
• How might the commissioning body of your
research inﬂuence what you look for?
• How might material approaching the topic from a
different angle skew your results?
• What is the value in this kind of research?
POSITIVE ELEMENTS OF
• Inexpensive and Unobtrusive
• Candeal with large amounts of material (historical and
• Can deal with material
• Clearparamaters and speciﬁcations (you know what you are
• Can allow inferences to be made
• Basis for comparisons ie. across time, across different media
NEGATIVE ELEMENTS OF
• Assumes all things can be measured
• Seldom accounts for motivation, emotional dimensions,
contradictions or ambiguity
• Is beginning of research endeavours - not the end
• Requires tests of reliability eg. cross-coding
• Can be very tedious!
claim that [content analysis] provides
• ‘... the
completely value-free insights to the study of content is
• Content analysis is an extremely directive method: it
give answers to the questions you pose... the method is
not well suited to studying ‘deep’ questions about
textual and discursive forms
• Deacon, Pickering, Golding and Murdock (1999)
DISCOURSE V CONTENT
‘Discourse analysis involves the close
interpretation of (mainly) language; content
analysis involves the counting and measuring of
items, including words and images.’
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