Use Content analysis to reveal the presence of concepts within texts
What is Content Analysis?
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Content analysis is a research method used to determine the presence of certain words or concepts within texts or other media content.
It can be used to examine any recorded communication. Content analysis is a research method employed in many fields – marketing, media studies, literature, political science, psychology, sociology, cognitive science, rhetoric, ethnography, cultural studies, gender studies, age studies and many others.
How is content analysis used?
Researchers employ content analysis to sift through texts for the presence and meanings of words and concepts, and their relationships.
The texts they choose to explore might be newspaper and magazine articles, books, essays, historical documents, advertising, interviews and speeches, discussions and conversations, theatrical performances, broadcasts and webcasts, or any communication.
To begin a content analysis, the selected text is divided – coded – by word, phrase, sentence or theme. Then those categories are examined for concepts and relationships.
- The researchers quantify and analyze what they find. That's quantitative and qualitative research.
- They infer things about the writers and the audiences of messages within the texts, and about the culture and time.
For example, it can be used to:
Advantages & disadvantages of content analysis
- Identify the intentions of a group
- Describe the attitude of people in response to communication
- Determine the emotional state of a person
- Discover propaganda in communication
- Reveal differences in communication among nations
- Depict the psychology of people
- Describe the communication behavior of an individual
Learn more about content analysis
- Content analysis has advantages: For instance, it is an unobtrusive means of analyzing interactions, which provides valuable historical and cultural insights over time. it provides insight into complex models of human thought and language use, revealing the central aspects of social interactions.
- Content analysis has disadvantages: For instance: It can be time consuming. It is subject to increased error. It tends to be only word counts and disregards the context.
This list is brief and not exhaustive. There are many other excellent resources.
- Content Analysis Wikipedia
- An Introduction to Content Analysis University of Colorado
- Content Analysis University of Texas
- Know Your Audience Through Content Analysis Audience Dialogue
- A Practical Approach to Content Analysis UXmatters
- Content Analysis and Qualitative Research North Carolina State University
Resources for Courses »
© 2011 Dr. Anthony Curtis, Mass Communication Dept., University of North Carolina at Pembroke e-mail home page