Conduct research

Reporting content analysis results

STEP 7. Analyze the data

Rather than merely describing the content, examine it critically.   If the purpose of your study was to determine the presence or frequency of certain aspects of content, (i.e., you used a conceptual analysis approach), you will want to analyze the qualitative data via coding principles. [more]  If your purpose was to determine relations between content, (i.e., you used a relational analysis approach), you will analyze the quantitative data using a variety of statistical approaches. [more]

STEP 8. Determine findings

Summarize findings based on your analysis and how they relate to your research questions or hypotheses, and previous research findings.

For conceptual analysis, view analyzed data from a distance until you see a larger picture and understand how this picture relates to your research question(s). Similar research may help you make sense of repeating ideas and larger themes. For example, you might identify underlying factors that explain the themes you have observed and then construct a logical chain of evidence.

For relational analysis, evaluate your findings based on how well they answer your hypotheses.  [more]

STEP 9. Report results

How you report findings depends on your research purpose and approach.  For conceptual analysis, present repeating ideas that lead to major themes that, in turn, inform conclusions and implications.  Quote one or two passages that exemplify a repeating idea. [more] For relational analysis, present the statistical findings graphically and with the level of detail useful to the audience.

Regardless of the approach used or the purpose for the content analysis, make sure to discuss what practical or theoretical implications can be drawn from the findings, any major shortcomings or limitations of the methodology used, and directions or suggestions for future research. [more]

Page last updated: Sep 21 2011
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