• Category
  • >General Analytics

An Introduction to Content Analysis

  • Ayush Singh Rawat
  • Nov 12, 2021
An Introduction to Content Analysis title banner

Traditionally, content analysis was done by hand. Analysts would count the number of words that matched each category as they went through the texts by hand.


As you might expect, the procedure was sluggish and inefficient—obtaining an accurate analysis of huge samples of material was practically impossible.


Content analysis, on the other hand, has grown considerably more efficient and complex as technology has advanced. 


We can now use data science and natural language processing to evaluate massive amounts of material, mining data on important topics and linguistic indicators, comparing samples to comparable content, and developing improvement plans to guarantee your content is as successful as possible.



What is Content Analysis?


Content analysis is a type of study that looks for patterns in recorded conversations. You collect data from a set of texts, which can be written, oral, or visual, to undertake content analysis:


  • Books, newspapers and magazines

  • Speeches and interviews

  • Web content and social media posts

  • Photographs and films


Quantitative content analysis (centred on counting and measuring) and qualitative content analysis are both possible (focused on interpreting and understanding).


You categorise or "code" words, ideas, and concepts within the texts in both forms and then evaluate the findings.(www.scribber.com)


Content might range from a single word, paragraph, or image to information from social media, books, journals, and websites. Material analysis has the goal of presenting qualitative content in the form of objective and quantitative data.


In content analysis, qualitative data gathered for research is methodically examined in order to transform it to quantitative data. Content analysis differs from other types of research in that it does not gather data directly from individuals. It is instead the study of data that has already been recorded in social media, text, books, or any other physical or virtual medium.


Organizations are increasingly employing content analysis to go beyond surface-level analysis by leveraging computers and machine learning to automatically label and code information.


(Related blog: How is Big Data Used in Content Marketing?)


Sources of Content Analysis


Content analysis is a bridge between quantitative and qualitative research approaches, allowing for the consideration of some of the most difficult-to-study organisational topics, such as organisational behaviour, human resources, and customer difficulties.


Researchers may deduce several important characteristics about the audience, behaviour, culture, and degree of pleasure by examining the existence of particular words and text within a given qualitative data set, as well as the relationship between words and visuals.


(Suggested reading: What is Text mining?)


There are two sorts of data sources for content analysis:


  1. Offline  


Books, journals, essays, interviews, research notes, open-ended inquiries, and directories are used in the offline content analysis. The universe will be represented by the sample taken from offline sources. Offline data, on the other hand, is frequently out of date.


  1. Online


Online data sources have become increasingly important as the internet has grown in popularity. The most recent and updated references are used to capture internet conversations, social media comments, product evaluations, and consumer feedback, making the data source more relevant.


An example of a content analysis source would be social media posts and discussions providing a rich supply of text data, these tools can be used to extract data.


(Must read: Conversational Marketing - Strategies and Examples)


Uses of Content Analysis


  1. You may use Content Analysis to make assumptions about communication antecedents such as-


  • examining the characteristics of persons

  • Cultural factors and change inferred

  • Providing legal and evaluative information

  • Answering inquiries about authorship disputes


  1. Content analysis may also be used to describe and infer aspects of any communication, such as 


  • Identifying communication content trends

  • Associating known source characteristics with the messages they generate

  • When it comes to communication content, it's important to compare it to industry standards.

  • Identifying the association between known audience characteristics and communications created for them

  • expressing various communication methods

  • Persuasion strategies are being evaluated.


  1. Content analysis may also be used to make assumptions about communication's impacts and repercussions, such as


  • Measuring the readability

  • Analyzing the information flow

  • Observing how people react to messaging


(Recommended blog: What is Service Marketing? Features and Types)


Types of Content Analysis

the banner shows the different types of analyses i.e. conceptual analysis and relational analysis.

Types of content Analysis

  1. Conceptual Analysis


Content analysis has traditionally been thought of as a type of conceptual analysis. A notion is chosen for evaluation in conceptual analysis, and the analysis entails quantifying and counting its presence. The focus here is on looking at the presence of selected terms within a text or texts, but the terms may be implicit as well as explicit 


[although this term is rather problematic, given its diverse meanings in contemporary literature—see Palmquist, Carley, & Dale (1997) vs. Smith (1992)]. While explicit words are evident, coding for implicit terms and determining their amount of implication is made more difficult by the requirement to make judgements based on a rather subjective methodology. 


Coding such implicit phrases generally includes the use of either a specialised lexicon or contextual translation rules to try to reduce subjectivity (as well as reliability and validity issues). And, on occasion, both tools are employed, as evidenced by recent editions of the Harvard and Lasswell dictionaries. (Here)


  1. Relational Analysis


The act of identifying concepts present in a given text or set of texts is the starting point for relational analysis, just as it is for conceptual analysis. 


Relational analysis, on the other hand, aims to go beyond presence by examining the connections between the ideas found. Semantic analysis is another name for relational analysis (Palmquist, Carley, & Dale, 1997). To put it another way, the goal of relational analysis is to find semantic, or meaningful, connections.


Individual notions are considered to be meaningless in and of themselves. Rather, the links between concepts in a text provide meaning. Concepts, according to Carley (1992), are "ideational kernels," which may be thought of as symbols that gain meaning by their links to other symbols. (Here)


Advantages of Content Analysis


  1. Examines communication directly through texts or transcripts, and so accesses to the heart of social interaction, and may be used to do both quantitative and qualitative tasks. Through text analysis, this can give useful historical/cultural insights across time 

  2. Provides for a proximity to text that may switch between certain categories and associations, as well as statistical analysis of the text's coded form

  3. Can be used to understand texts for applications such as expert system development (since knowledge and rules can both be coded in terms of explicit statements about the relationships among concepts)

  4. Is a non-obtrusive method of examining interactions that elucidates intricate theories of human mind and language usage. When done correctly, it is regarded as a fairly "precise" research strategy (based on hard facts, as opposed to Discourse Analysis).

  5. Content analysis is a type of study that is highly transparent. So that replication and follow-up studies are possible, the coding system and sample processes can be clearly laid out.

  6. It is capable of allowing for some longitudinal analysis with moderate ease. Changes in crime reporting, for example, may be analysed over time using a sample of a local newspaper (1910-1919; 1920-1929..... ).

  7. There is no reactivity in content analysis, and a study participant does not have to consider the researcher, resulting in social desirability.

  8. Content analysis can help researchers get information about social groupings that are difficult to investigate. For example, content analysis of publications like Who's Who provides the majority of our information on the social backgrounds of elite groups, such as business directors. (Here)





Content analysis is also inconspicuous, which means it raises less ethical concerns than other types of analysis. Because the stuff you'll be analysing is frequently pre-existing, you won't have to gather data directly from participants. 


(Also read: Marketing Analytics)


When data is coded correctly, it is analysed in a systematic and transparent manner, which considerably reduces concerns of replicability (the capacity to replicate studies under the same conditions).

Latest Comments