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date: 13 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

In this chapter, the focus is on ways in which content analysis can be used to investigate and describe interview and textual data. The chapter opens with a contextualization of the method and then proceeds to an examination of the role of content analysis in relation to both quantitative and qualitative modes of social research. Following the introductory sections, four kinds of data are subjected to content analysis. These include data derived from a sample of qualitative interviews (N = 54), textual data derived from a sample of health policy documents (N = 6), data derived from a single interview relating to a “case” of traumatic brain injury, and data gathered from 54 abstracts of academic papers on the topic of “well-being.” Using a distinctive and somewhat novel style of content analysis that calls upon the notion of semantic networks, the chapter shows how the method can be used either independently or in conjunction with other forms of inquiry (including various styles of discourse analysis) to analyze data, and also how it can be used to verify and underpin claims that arise out of analysis. The chapter ends with an overview of the different ways in which the study of “content”—especially the study of document content—can be positioned in social scientific research projects.

Keywords: content analysis, discourse analysis, documents, interviews, narrative analysis, case study, semantic networks

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