Content analysis is a sociological method,assuming a reading of the written text (document) in the language of mathematics. In general terms, it is a question of translating information contained in ordinary letters into a statistical dimension. It is used for large volumes of information, for example, when examining political programs of parties or candidates for deputies. Such program provisions - documents are usually large enough, therefore, in order to obtain the necessary information, usually identify the subject of research, which then "run through" the entire existing documentary array. For an explanation, consider a specific example.
What do we consider?
So, we have party programs. We are interested in the ideological positions taken by participants in the electoral process regarding the problem of integration, and how these positions differ from each other. We remember that the content analysis is in the methodological plan the section of statistics, as well as all practical sociology. With the subject of research have been determined. Next we need to understand what we will consider. There are two options: either paragraphs where there are statements about integration, or statements with similar content. For me, the latter option is better, since there are many shades of utterances, and therefore it is no wonder that the hidden semantic loads are missed. Figuratively speaking, the content analysis does not like this: the slightest methodological error leads to biased results. The whole amount of work will have to be redone.
Classification of utterances
Now it is necessary to decide how it will becounting and by which groups. We break up Party proposals into groups: the vector of integration (European-Eurasian); evaluation of statements (positive - neutral - negative). It should be remembered here that content analysis (an example of the research demonstrates this) presupposes the utmost accuracy, in spite of the subjective opinions of the sociologist himself. Therefore, you need to rely not on your own assessment, but on the prescribed context. It will be visible immediately. Then follows such indicators: the number of statements (for each group) and the total number of utterances. Then already from the received data it is possible to do preliminary conclusions.
Statements are grouped relative to each otherand are counted in such a way that their semantic and textual interrelation is visible. For example, there are 100 utterances, of which 90 are for Eurasian integration, but only 40 are positively evaluated. This means that for a given vector, a relative minority of parties is expressed, and (taking into account the median value of the indicator) ideologically there is no certainty in this matter. This does not mean that the study was "wrong", content analysis is a fairly accurate method. The only question is that the concept of "integration" is associated not only with electoral moods, but also with other factors that need to be further investigated.
To avoid such an error, it is bestdo a pilot, trial analysis. Then it is possible to understand and clarify, according to which criteria the calculation will be made. The main thing: clearly operationalize the concepts used in the analysis, so as not to lose some of the shades of statements. Content analysis is a painstaking work that requires special attention to the goals and objectives of the study. But, unlike the same mass polls, it provides more objective results.