Content Analysis In Educational Research.
Content analysis is a method of determining the existence of specific words or concepts in texts or groups of texts. Researchers quantify and evaluate the presence, meanings, and relationships of such words and concepts, then draw conclusions about the messages contained in the texts, the author, the audience, and even the culture and time period in which they exist.
Content analysis can be quantitative in the sense that it concentrates on counting and measuring, or qualitative in the sense that it concentrates on interpreting and comprehending.
However both types can be use to categorize or code words, themes, and concepts within texts and then analyze the results.
Types Of Content Analysis
Conceptual Analysis: Conceptual analysis can be defined as the process of determining the existence and frequency of concepts in a text that are most typically represented by words or phrases.
For example, say you have a hunch that your favorite poet often writes about hunger. With conceptual analysis you can determine how many times words such as “hunger,” “hungry,” “famished,” or “starving” appear in a volume of poems.
Rational Analysis: Relational analysis takes things a step further by looking at the connections between concepts in a text. In the case of “hunger,” you could use relational analysis to see what other words or phrases “hunger” or “famished” appear next to, and then figure out what distinct meanings arise as a result of these pairings.
Why Use Content Analysis
- Content analysis is a method used by researchers in the educational area and other fields to determine the aims, messages, and consequences of communication content.
- They can also draw conclusions about the authors and audiences of the materials they study.
- Content analysis can be used to count the number of times a particular term, phrase, subject, or concept appears in a collection of historical or contemporary literature.
- By studying the meaning and semantic relationship of words and concepts, content analysis can be utilized to derive qualitative judgments. Content Analysis In Educational Research
How To Carryout Content Analysis
- Based on your research question, select the content you want to analyze
- Define the units and categories of analysis. Here we talk about the units of meaning that will be coded and the set of categories that will be used for coding.
- Develop set of rules for coding. Here coding involves organizing the units of meaning into the previously defined categories. E.g. male=1, female=0
- Code the text according to the rules. This entails going through each text and record all relevant data in the appropriate categories.
- Analyze the results and draw conclusions. After coding, the collected data is examined to find patterns or relationships and draw conclusions in response to your research questions.
Advantages Of Content Analysis
- It aids in the analysis of communication and social interaction without involving individuals directly. As a result, the researcher’s presence has no bearing on the outcome.
- It is transparent and can be replicated by other researchers.
- It is highly flexible.
- It looks directly at communication via texts or transcripts, and hence gets at the central aspect of social interaction
- It can allow for both quantitative and qualitative operations.
Disadvantages Of Content Analysis
- Focusing on words or phrases in isolation can sometimes be overly reductive
- It is subjective, as such it can be bias which in turn affect the validity and the reliability of the results’
- It is time intensive.
- It tends too often to simply consist of word counts
- It can be difficult to automate or computerize
Content analysis is a very important 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 and then make inferences.