Content Analysis Notes (for Revision)

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Content Analysis

Warning:
The information below is only for revision purposes to get a better understanding on the description and application of content analysis. Not to be referenced (hence no references are provided) in any coursework as information is taken from a number of other sites with some being of questionable viewpoints.

This is really for exam revision

Content analysis is a research tool used to determine the presence of certain words or concepts within texts or sets of texts. 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. Texts can be defined broadly as books, book chapters, essays, interviews, discussions, newspaper headlines and articles, historical documents, speeches, conversations, advertising, theater, informal conversation, or really any occurrence of communicative language. Texts in a single study may also represent a variety of different types of occurrences, such as Palmquist's 1990 study of two composition classes, in which he analyzed student and teacher interviews, writing journals, classroom discussions and lectures, and out-of-class interaction sheets. To conduct 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.

Uses of Content Analysis
Perhaps due to the fact that it can be applied to examine any piece of writing or occurrence of recorded communication, content analysis is currently used in a dizzying array of fields, ranging from marketing and media studies, to literature and rhetoric, ethnography and cultural studies, gender and age issues, sociology and political science, psychology and cognitive science, and many other fields of inquiry. Additionally, content analysis reflects a close relationship with socio- and psycholinguistics, and is playing an integral role in the development of artificial intelligence. The following list (adapted from Berelson, 1952) offers more possibilities for the uses of content analysis:

Reveal international differences in communication content •Detect the existence of propaganda
Identify the intentions, focus or communication trends of an individual, group or institution •Describe attitudinal and behavioral responses to communications •Determine psychological or emotional state of persons or groups

Content Analysis: Examples
The Palmquist, Carley and Dale study, a summary of "Applications of Computer-Aided Text Analysis: Analyzing Literary and Non-Literary Texts" (1997) is an example of two studies that have been conducted using both conceptual and relational analysis. The Problematic Text for Content Analysis shows the differences in results obtained by a conceptual and a relational approach to a study. Description

Content analysis or textual analysis is a methodology in the social sciences for studying the content of communication. Earl Babbie defines it as "the study of recorded human communications, such as books, websites, paintings and laws." According to Dr. Farooq Joubish, content analysis is considered a scholarly methodology in the humanities by which texts are studied as to authorship, authenticity, or meaning. This latter subject include philology, hermeneutics, and semiotics. Harold Lasswell formulated the core questions of content analysis: "Who says what, to whom, why, to what extent and with what effect?." Ole Holsti offers a broad definition of content analysis as "any technique for making inferences by objectively and systematically identifying specified characteristics of messages." Kimberly A. Neuendorf offers a six-part definition of content analysis: "Content analysis is a summarising,...
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