Content analysis can be a useful tool online, in the media, in politics and more. Researchers can use something as simple as Microsoft Excel or Word for a basic analysis. However for any in-depth data, it is better to use statistical software that is designed for this purpose. The data may be input into a program that uses quantitative data or qualitative data and it can help with coding as well.
What Quantitative Software Should Analyze
There are many content analysis software programs available that help researchers analyze quantitative data. These programs should be able to determine how many times a word occurs within a document, the category frequency and the keyword in context. In addition, it should look at which groups of words are gathered together using a similar context. This is also known as cluster analysis. The co-word citation should also be able to be analyzed. This means that certain words when used in the same sentence can be isolated. For example, a “bomb pop” would not be noticed in a government content analysis. However, “bomb” and “church” might draw attention.
The Most Commonly Used Quantitative Software
There are several commonly used programs for quantitative content analysis. One is Harvard University’s General Inquirer. While this program gets the job done, it is not very user friendly and is difficult to learn. Another program is the DOS based VBPro. Textpack was originally used to analyze open-ended survey questions. It has been adapted to perform quantitative content analysis as well though. In addition, there is Wordsmith, TACT or Text Analysis Computing Tools and Textstat.
What Qualitative Software Should Analyze
Qualitative content analysis software should be able to analyze large chunks of text. It should assist the researcher in coding the units of each theme. This can be done by coding the text directly into the computer or by printing out the text, sectioning off the important codes and then coding it onto the computer. Most people prefer the latter in order to have access to the entire document at one time. Qualitative software is complex and not very user-friendly. Most researchers need to take a course in order to use it.
The Most Commonly Used Qualitative Software
The most commonly used types of qualitative content analysis software are Nudist and Nvivo from QSR, Ask Sam, Info Select, Atlas T1, EZ Text and Kwalitan. Each of these programs use chunks of code in order to form a hierarchical coding frame. EZ Text uses open-ended questions and surveys to create a semi-structured database. Many colleges that have a sociology department, a management department or an anthropology department can assist in qualitative software training.
Experienced researchers or researchers who do a lot of content analysis may want to use a more heavy-duty program. However, these may be more difficult to set up. There are also programs like KEDS/TABARI and CAMEO or Conflic and Mediation Events Observation that are capable of doing the analysis by themselves once the coding frame has been built.