Psychology and Psychiatry

Content Analysis

Content Analysis - This is a standard method of analysis, which is used by researchers in the social sciences. Its subject is the content of the text, which comes down to numerical indicators and is amenable to statistical processing. Content analysis comes from the English "contents", which means content, therefore, content analysis.

The method of content analysis is used as a quantitative method in the analysis of textual information, which are further amenable to the interpretation of the acquired numerical patterns. It is used in the study of invariant in essence and structure of sources, which is externally manifested as a randomly organized and non-systematized text array.

Content analysis has a philosophical meaning, which is to deviate from the diversity of textual information to a more abstract material model. The areas of knowledge in which the method of content analysis is attached is quite extensive. It can be applied in sociology, political science, where it is popular, also in psychology, personnel management, PR, history, anthropology, literary criticism. Scientists have given statistics in which they described the distribution of research in the sciences, using content analysis. Most often this method is found as a means of studying in anthropology and sociology - 27.7%, in communication theories it is found a little less often - 25.9%, in the study of political science it is - 21.5%. Less commonly, the method of content analysis is found in the field of research of historical events, the study of public relations.

The content analysis method helps to analyze various types of text files: media reports, advertising, propaganda materials, speeches of political activists, various party programs, literary works, historical sources.

A researcher who uses the method of content analysis, based on the acquired knowledge of the true content of textual materials, can make a conclusion about the real intentions of the communicator itself and all sorts of effects of this message. Consequently, the primary meaning of the message can be restored from the very same message. Therefore, the content analysis goals contain communicator motives and permissible effects of the content of the message on the target listener.

The content analysis method explores and analyzes the obvious, explicit message content. An important condition here is the semantic unity of the interpretation of this content by all who are included in the communicative process, including the researcher. By systematizing the content segments into categories, the researcher assumes that the relevant segments were clearly understood by the recipient and the communicator.

Content analysis is used, initially, to clear and pronounced content.

Content analysis, as a research method

This method has been used in a variety of social science studies in the United States in the 1930s. XX century. For the first time, it began to be applied in literature and in the field of journalism. Due to the proliferation of the content analysis method, scientists began using it in the field of political propaganda.

The method of content analysis is characterized by systematic and great rigor. Its essence is to fix content units, which can be investigated in the quantification of acquired indicators.

The object in the content analysis is the content of a variety of advertising messages, public speaking, print media, movies, broadcasts, documents, art works.

Content analysis is an example in political science: political scientists set themselves the task of analyzing the pre-election appeal to potential voters of their presidential candidates, to understand which categories of society a candidate wants to attract to their own side. Political scientists study statements and determine that expressions and concepts like “pension”, “financial assistance”, “care”, “attention” are directed to the category of pensioners and those who require it.

Expressions like “entrepreneurship”, “small business”, “support”, “attraction”, “investment” mean that this candidate is oriented towards higher class voters and entrepreneurs. Next, the researchers calculate the number and frequency of occurrence of all expressions and words, and draw appropriate conclusions.

The content analysis method is quite popular in psychology, sociology, those sciences where it is necessary to analyze answers in questionnaires, various questionnaires, to analyze materials, indicators of psychological testing, and to analyze work by accepting a focus group.

You can determine the content analysis of an example in psychology: for example, analyzing the characteristics of an individual by questioning or interviewing, we can distinguish the following categories of analysis: self-attitude, attitude to other personalities, their activities, nature, things, surrounding objects. In the study of personal characteristics, such as anxiety, the researcher preliminarily determines the totality of the constituent components: anxiety regarding one's own health, well-being of loved ones, financial situation, career, etc.

The modern method of content analysis is often used in the implementation of the research phenomenon of mass communications, marketing research. It can be attached to the study of many documentary sources, most effective in the study, where there is a lot of single-order data.

What is content analysis? The main procedures of this method include the identification of all sense units that can be:

- concepts found in specific terms;

- characters;

- thoughts, judgments;

- themes formulated in semantic articles, parts of texts, radio programs;

- the names and surnames of people;

- facts, events;

- characters, characters, groups, and character classes;

- the meaning of appeals directed to the probable addressee.

All units are defined according to the content, goals, hypotheses, tasks in a particular study. These units must correspond to specific scientific concepts that carry the research task. Units are indicators of scientific ideas identified in the study.

The study of the categories and semantic units of content analysis is done by authors of various documents, correspondents, writers, commentators, journalists, lawyers, and psychologists.

The procedures also include the allocation of individual units of the account, which can either converge with the semantic categories of analysis or not. If they match, then the research procedure will be reduced to the calculation of the frequency of mentioning a specific semantic unit. If the units of the account do not converge with the current units of analysis, the researcher will have to determine the units of the account himself, based on the material being analyzed and his own sanity.

These units are:

- the number of lines, signs, paragraphs, columns;

- the length of the text;

- the number of all drawings with the appropriate content and plot;

- the area of ​​the text on which the semantic units are superimposed;

- footage film for audio or video recordings;

- the duration of the broadcast of audio messages.

In general, the counting procedure is similar to the standard methods of classification by grouping. Tables are used, computer programs are used, formulas are used, statistical calculations of sensitivity and clarity of the text are used.

These semantic units are the main components of the research concept, the severity of which is recorded accordingly to the designated goals. The researcher prepares in advance certain ideas, problems, topics that the categories of analysis represent.

Content analysis in psychology

Using the method of content analysis in psychology has features. From the performer required advanced skills, he must be able to accurately record the exact results, the psychological characteristics of actions, behaviors. Analyze signs of non-speech (non-verbal) interaction of participants in the process, graphic details of projective drawing techniques, analyze manuscripts.

Content analysis reveals the psychological characteristics and qualities of the author of the text (communicator). The content of the message is investigated along with the immediate behavior of the recipients of relevant information. In psychodiagnostics, content analysis, in contrast to meaningful analysis, can be assessed according to the same qualitative criteria as other methods: reliability, validity, reliability, objectivity.

Content analysis in psychodiagnostics is a tool in the standardization of various projective techniques. The improved quality of the content analysis method helps to use statistical analysis of indicators and data. Particularly often used by researchers factor analysis, because it contributes to the disclosure of latent factors that cause the simultaneous manifestation of the associated single components.

Content analysis in psychology often acts as an independent method, and is also used together with similar techniques when mastering not only a text message, the other components of communication are also included. It is ancillary in the processing of data that were obtained as a result of the application of another analysis.

Social psychology considers content analysis as a way to promote the study of people’s communication, their communications, relationships, the subjects of communication themselves, as representatives of macro- and microgroups. The materials of the research are documents that are used as messages. Here, the concept of "message" has a socio-psychological specific value, the emphasis is fixed on the dynamic characteristics of the object, on its participation in communication. There is a dependence of the message itself on the properties of the communicator and the respondent.

Content analysis is carried out in the following psychological research procedures:

- through the study of the content of text messages, the study of psychological properties, their authors and communicators;

- a study of the phenomena of psychology that are displayed in the very content of the messages, with the inclusion of phenomena that were previously present and are now inaccessible for study by other methods;

- study of the psychology of the respondent;

- study through the meaning of the content of the message, sociological, psychological specifics of various communication tools, as well as the peculiarities of creating the content of the message;

- the study of psychological factors affecting the communication process on the respondent.

Content analysis in psychodiagnostics is used very often. Through the analysis of the current document, researchers get great opportunities in psychodiagnostics of personality, groups. Not all documents are amenable to content analysis through problems with content formalization. All objects of analysis must meet the requirements of formalization and static significance.

When the units of analysis are revealed, the frequency of references to all semantic categories in the aggregate of all texts or other information carriers belonging to the group under study or to one author (person) is determined.

Content analysis is auxiliary in order to process the indicators obtained by using other techniques.

As empirical data, individual personal documents are used, for example, autobiography, diary, letters, materials of collective, mass and group communications (audio recordings of conversations, meetings, discussions, announcements, advertising, regulations, orders), activity products, literature, art.

Content analysis in psychodiagnostics serves as an auxiliary means of processing the accepted empirical data acquired through the use of projective techniques, questionnaires, non-standardized interviews, questionnaires.