Research Design: a Content Analysis

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Research Design

Content analysis is a process in which narrative data are divided into units of analysis to examine the contents of a particular body of material for the purpose of identifying patterns, themes or biases (Leedy and Ormrod, (2005). Further, qualitative content analysis has been defined in other ways such as: • “a research method for the subjective interpretation of the content of text or [narrative] data through the systematic classification process of coding and identifying themes or patterns” (Hsieh & Shannon, 2005, p. 1278),

• “an approach of empirical, methodological controlled analysis of [narrative] texts within their context of communication, following content analytic rules and step by step models, without rash quantification” (Mayring, 2000, p. 2), and • “any qualitative data reduction and sense-making effort that takes a volume of qualitative material and attempts to identify core consistencies and meanings” (Patton, 2002, p. 453).

These definitions demonstrate that qualitative content analysis focuses on an integrated view

of narrative data and their specific contexts. It can assist researchers in understanding social

reality in a subjective but scientific manner.

The purpose of this paper is to present a content analysis about the narrative data collected from the Week Five interviews. Included in this content analysis will be the units of analysis identified, the type of coding used, the characteristics that were determined, the frequency distributions of the various units of analysis, and the interpretation of themes and outliers derived from the data. The Research Question

The topic of health maintenance and the factors that contribute to it such as dietary choices, drinking of water, exercise habits, and sufficient rest was the focus of the research. Three research questions were the initial focus of the data collection: 1. Do diet, exercise, and sleep habits contribute to optimum health and/or a healthier lifestyle?

2. Is there a correlation among dietary choices, exercise regularity, and sleep habits?

3. Are diet choices, exercise routines, and sleep habits barriers to optimum health?

Through face validation, which is a way of testing the questionnaire on a small sample of respondents to identify and eliminate potential problems (Malhorta and Peterson, 2006), a final research question was chosen: Do diet, exercise, and sleep habits contribute to optimum health and /or a healthier lifestyle? Materials, Methods and Sample

Survey research in the form of a 5-item questionnaire was the method used to obtain information about the participants or sample group. A 5-item questionnaire was designed, prepared, validated, and administered based on the research question previously created. Survey research was used to obtain data about groups such as their opinions, behaviors, beliefs, attitudes or experiences. The ultimate purpose of survey research is to learn about a large population by surveying a sample of that population (Leedy and Ormrod, 2005). The 5-item questionnaire was emailed to the sample group of participants.

The sample size of participants was small and consisted of 4 people from the class. Because of human subject considerations (CITI), student researchers were to only interview classmates. Questionnaire responses were emailed back within 1-3 days of receipt. Units of Analysis and Coding

Once received via email, the questionnaires were checked for completion. Only one questionnaire had missing data. The transcripts served as the primary sources of data for content analysis. The questionnaire responses consisted of yes/no answers or non-responses, which were coded as numbered responses with 1 for yes, 2 for no, and 3 for no response. The coding unit was the question item (i.e. the whole question in which the questionnaire was originally generated). For example, the responses to the...
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