Abstract: The article describes an approach of systematic, rule guided qualitative text analysis, which tries to preserve some methodological strengths of quantitative content analysis and widen them to a concept of qualitative procedure. First the development of content analysis is delineated and the basic principles are explained (units of analysis, step models, working with categories, validity and reliability). Then the central procedures of qualitative content analysis, inductive development of categories and deductive application of categories, are worked out. The possibilities of computer programs in supporting those qualitative steps of analysis are shown and the possibilities and limits of the approach are discussed. Key words: qualitative content analysis, content analysis, category, induction, intercoder-reliability Table of Contents
2. History of Content Analysis
3. Basic Ideas of Content Analysis
4. Procedures of Qualitative Content Analysis
5. Computer Programs for Support of Qualitative Content Analysis 6. Examples of Projects Working with Qualitative Content Analysis 7. Discussion
The qualitative content analysis (MAYRING 1983; 7th edition 2000), as it is presented here, consists in a bundle of techniques for systematic text analysis which we developed ca. 20 years ago in a longitudinal study about psycho-social consequences of unemployment (ULICH, HAUSSER, MAYRING et al. 1985). Conducting about 600 open-ended interviews we received more than 20.000 pages of transcripts which had to be analyzed in a qualitative oriented way.  The main idea of the procedure of analysis is thereby, to preserve the advantages of quantitative content analysis as developed within communication science and to transfer and further develop them to qualitative-interpretative steps of analysis.  Further information to quantitative content analysis are available via the Internet at http://www.gsu.edu/~wwwcom/content.html [Broken link, FQS, December 2004], http://www.zuma-mannheim.de/research/en/methods/textanalysis/ [broken link, September 2002, FQS] or http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Sections/textan01.html.  The object of (qualitative) content analysis can be all sort of recorded communication (transcripts of interviews, discourses, protocols of observations, video tapes, documents ...). Content analysis analyzes not only the manifest content of the material—as its name may suggest. BECKER & LISSMANN (1973) have differentiated levels of content: themes and main ideas of the text as primary content; context information as latent content. The analysis of formal aspects of the material belongs to its aims as well. As outlined below content analysis embeds the text into a model of communication within which it defines the aims of analysis. This is expressed by KRIPPENDORFF, who defines "content analysis as the use of replicable and valid method for making specific inferences from text to other states or properties of its source" (KRIPPENDORFF 1969, p.103).  Qualitative content analysis defines itself within this framework as an approach of empirical, methodological controlled analysis of texts within their context of communication, following content analytical rules and step by step models, without rash quantification.  2. History of Content Analysis
We can distinguish different phases in the historical background of content analysis (cf. MERTEN 1983; KRIPPENDORFF 1980; MAYRING 1994a): * Precursors: We find different approaches to analysis and comparison of texts in hermeneutic contexts (e.g. bible interpretations) early newspaper analysis, graphological procedures, up to the dream analysis by Sigmund FREUD. * Communication theoretical foundation: The basis of quantitative content analysis had been laid by Paul F. LAZARSFELD and Harold D. LASSWELL in USA during he 20ies and 30ies of 20th century. The first textbook about this...
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