Understanding Qualitative Content Analysis And Its 3 Approaches

Qualitative content analysis helps in analyzing the text based data to understand and decode the themes and meanings. This analysis is figured out from the existing findings of the researcher. Thus, a brief analysis of the content analysis approaches possible, including conventional, directed, and summative strategies, showed that the choice of analysis method depends on the research questions and data characteristics that a researcher uses. It not only improves the quality of detailed and systematic qualitative investigation but also proactively suggests a framework for making useful conclusions out of piles of intricate qualitative data.

In its simplest form, qualitative content analysis helps in identifying the patterns of codes and categories. This method is fundamentally recurrent in nature, meaning the researcher will have to repeatedly analyze the data and enhance their interpretations. Among the most known types of methodological approaches within qualitative content analysis, there is the thematic analysis process. This approach involves several key steps: Consistent with other thematic analysis approaches, the method involves: familiarization with the data, initial coding, theme searching, themes revisiting, naming and defining themes and writing the final report. All the stages of thematic analysis are important to perform to guarantee that the latter is really comprehensive and the themes obtained really depict the data.

Thus, discussing other approaches is significant because, aside from the outlined thematic analysis, qualitative content analysis includes other approaches that correspond to different research purposes and goals.

1- Conventional

Textual analysis is the simplest and typical method that requires no preconceptions because the themes are inherent in the data. This method is especially appropriate when there is a scarcity of theories or research on the topic in that it helps generate theories for further testing. Data immersion is achieved by conducting an initial exploration of the data by the researchers and then open coding to distill the data into concepts and themes. This approach correlates with other exploratory qualitative research methods because it allows the researcher to discover new information and form theories based on this information.

2- Directed Content Analysis

This is one of the prime Data Analysis Techniques which helps in Qualitative Content Analysis. Owing to this, while conducting directed content analysis, there is the initial application of theory or prior findings to conduct the initial coding. The objective codes are first generated by researchers from theoretical frameworks or hypotheses and then the code is applied to the data set. This makes the study more specific, say, when certain theoretical predictions are to be tested or given facets of the data are of special interest. While reviewing the methods used in research, directed content analysis is shown to be most effective among the techniques for data analysis when the researchers’ goal is to apply or confirm the existing theory.

3- Summative Content Analysis

Summative Data Analysis Techniques is both qualitative and quantitative in nature and aims at defining the specific word or content frequency in the material under analysis. First, it involves counting and comparing the frequencies of these concepts, it then goes further than seeking to understand the context and significance of the obtained results. Evaluation content analysis can be very useful for documenting changes longitudinally or across different contexts. It offers a fair approach for those researchers who want to achieve measurement of some aspects of obtained data as well as to explore more qualitative differences.

In conclusion, I would like to state that qualitative content analysis as one of the methods of qualitative research is rather useful and productive due to the variety of data analysis strategies for textual material investigation. The various forms of thematic analysis process that includes conventional, directed and summative types help the researchers with a definite method to conduct proper analysis and interpretation of data.

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