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Content Analysis

Content analysis is a research technique for the systematic, objective and quantitative description of the content of research data procured through interviews, questionnaires, schedules and other linguistic expressions, written or oral.

This definition is a slight modification of the one formulated by Bernard Berelson in his famed communications researches.Familarity with social science concepts and theory greatly aids in categorizing research data. Frequently certain categories seem to flow out of the data at hand. On the whole however the use of concepts and categories requires deliberate thought.

Psychologist D.C McClelland who regards a written research record as a piece of frozen behavior calls attention to various forms of content-analysis to which such records can be subjected; interaction process analysis; value analysis in which attempts are made to classify and conceptualize the content according to various values referred to in the behavior units, need -sequence analysis that attempts to score the changes which occur in the data when the subjects are under the influence of induced need-states; symbolic analysis which is a technique for analyzing latent meaning behind manifest content especially in psycho-analytical materials. Other social scientists suggest other forms of social analysis. Whatever form of analysis to which qualitative data are subjected an explicit breakdown is required of some totality into the smallest possible units if the data will be quantified. In short individual cases of human behavior can become of scientific significance since it is possible to classify and categorize behavior patterns, social processes, and personal traits to isolate their similarities and differences and conceptualize them appropriately. But as George Lundberg has stressed unless the varied data are gathered according to scientific principles are systematically classified and generalized into specific types of behavior individual cases are useless for scientific purposes.

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