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Qualitative Content Analysis

Qualitative Content Analysis
A Step-by-Step Guide

Additional resources:

November 2021 | 240 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
In eight clear-cut steps, this book provides a systematic introduction to qualitative content analysis and how you can use it in each stage of your research project, no matter the type or amount of data.

Developed by a leading expert in the field and based on years of teaching experience, this book offers an essential framework for interpreting qualitative data for any social sciences student or researcher.

To support you in choosing the best approach for your research, this book includes:
·       Examples of how QCA can be applied to various research processes
·       An introduction to text analysis and its different approaches
·       Discussions of how to use QCA software to benefit your research
·       An online how-to manual to help you get the most out of QCAmap software.

It also introduces the process of scientific research, and integrates qualitative and quantitative analysis into the step-by-step approach.

Introduction: Why Should we be Concerned With Qualitative Content Analysis?
Part I: Foundations of Text Analysis
Chapter 1: The Methodological Debate of Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research
Historical Background

Theory of Science Background of the Controversy

Is Mixed Methods a Solution?

Common Research Criteria for Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches

Chapter 2: Importance of Text Analysis in Social Sciences
Texts and Numerical Data as Material in Social Sciences

Methods of Collecting Textual Material in Social Sciences Projects

Chapter 3: Different Approaches of Text Analysis
A comparison of Five Qualitative Text Analysis Approaches

Social-Hermeneutic Paraphrase

Psychoanalytic Text Interpretation

Objective Hermeneutics

Grounded Theory Coding

Qualitative Content Analysis

Comparison of the Approaches and Quality Criteria

Chapter 4: A Short History of Content Analysis
Preliminary Phase

Consolidation Phase

Fine Developments and Interdisciplinary Expansion

Stagnation and “Discontent” with Content Analysis

New quantitative approaches in computational linguistics, complex algorithms and text mining

Approaches to Qualitative Content Analysis

Chapter 5: Basic Principles of Qualitative Content Analysis
Embedding the Material within its Communication Context

Categories in the Focus of Analysis

Defining content analytical units

Systematic, Rule-bound Procedure

Object Reference in Place of Formal Techniques

Theory-guided Character of the Analysis

Testing Specific Instruments via Pilot Studies

Integrating Quantitative Steps of Analysis

Quality Criteria

Chapter 6: Procedures of Qualitative Content Analysis
Summarizing Qualitative Content Analysis

Inductive Category Formation

Explication: Narrow and Broad Context Analysis

Structuring: Deductive Category Assignment

Mixed Procedures

Chapter 7: Computer Programs for Supporting Qualitative Content Analysis
The Merits of Computer Assistance in Text Analysis

QCAmap Software for Qualitative Content Analysis

Part II: The 8 Step Qualitative Content Analysis Research Process
Chapter 8 Step 1: Forming the Research Question
From Themes to Questions

How to Formulate a Research Question

Example for Step 1: Forming the Research Question

Chapter 9 Step 2: Establishing the Theoretical Background of the Study
Different Levels of Theory Background

Example for Step 2: Establishing the Theoretical Background of the Study

Chapter 10 Step 3: Designing the Study
Basic Designs for Qualitative (and Quantitative) Research

Example for Step 3: Designing the Study

Ethical Aspects of a Qualitative Content Analysis Study

Chapter 11 Step 4: Gathering Textual Material, Sampling
The Quality of the Sample: Establishing a Sampling Strategy

Recommendations for Sample Size

Describing the Text Corpus for Qualitative Content Analysis

Transcription Rules

Example for Step 4 (Textual Material)

Chapter 12 Step 5: Choosing and Constructing Adequate Methods
Summarizing: Procedure and Example

Inductive Category Formation: Procedure and Example

Explicating (Context Analysis): Procedure and Example

Structuring (Deductive Category Assignment): Procedure and Example

Mixed Procedures: Theme Analysis, Type Analysis, Parallel Procedures

Chapter 13 Step 6: Conducting the Study and Presenting the Results
Description of Results

Presenting Studies with Summarizing Content Analysis

Presenting Inductive Category Formation

Presenting Deductive Category Assignment

Answering the Research Question

Chapter 14 Step 7: Discussing Quality Criteria
Classical Quality Criteria

Specific Content-analytical Quality Criteria

Software Example: Three Levels of Intercoder Agreement

Chapter 15 Step 8: Reflecting on Research Implications
Theoretical Implications

Practical Implications

Part III: Indications and Limitations of Qualitative Content Analysis
Similar Conceptions of a Qualitative Content Analysis

Criticism and Misunderstandings

Strengths and Weaknesses of Qualitative Content Analysis

Further Developments


Philip Mayring offers a clear, systematic, step-by-step formula for both undergraduate and postgraduate students and novice researchers interested in using qualitative content analysis. The book offers significant context, elaborate detail, and supplements this with clear examples of research in the everyday practice.  

Naomi Oosterman
Lecturer in the Department of Arts & Culture Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam

This book promises to be a well signposted and accessibly written ‘compelling read’ for novices and those new to Qualitative Content Analysis. It is also a `must’ for established researchers wishing to engage with the challenge of a new perspective on QCA. The text invites the reader to consider Content Analysis and appreciate the research journey using a novel and innovative approach. It offers ideas and suggestion, weaving together divergent principles, as well as proposing new tools and models, as means by which the intricacies and challenges littering Content Analysis might be navigated.

Debbie Reed
Head of Digital and Lifelong Learning, University of Kent

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