Steps of content analysis features and applications

Content analysis

There is talk of content analysis to a set of research theories that as a goal tend to facilitate a description of a system between semantic components and formulas in all types of messages, ranging from the message with form and its meaning leaving the sender to the audience, the manifest content is studied giving the reliable result even if they are not very relevant, such as the latent content that although it is not of low security but its information is of greater importance. Here we will try to understand you the steps of content analysis.

It is an analysis of a society in its reality through the observation of it, based on the documentation that is formed as part of a database, which once combined with the observation and analysis of the document is reached A truthful result. By having this data you can generate the formulas of a system, giving it numerical values ​​and taking statistics, channeling its forms of production and consumption; as their social disciplines and the study of communication that not only knows the meanings of the data of their issuers (the society) that they think of themselves, dividing into nominal, ordinal and by scales. Being a set of techniques that give meaning to the analysis and its results.

There are several types of content analysis , such as content exploration analysis, paving a range of possibilities for a hypothesis. The content verification analysis, which verifies the truthfulness, realism and fundamentals of the hypothesis. Qualitative content analysis evaluates the topics and words in the content . Quantitative content analysis quantifies data between frequencies and comparisons with each other. Direct content analysis is more literal than what has already been established as a study norm and hypothesis. Indirect content analysis is when, by way of interpretation, the elements that indirectly affect the related elements are analyzed .

The estimation of a content analysis goes from a parameter established as content that shows a hypothesis of something or a stable relationship with each other, with the throwing of some data through a correspondence of probable indicators, applying the analysis according to the techniques and obtaining some Results of a hypothesis.


Content analysis is characterized by investigating the symbolic meaning of the messages. As a research technique, this tool provides knowledge, new intellections and a representation of the facts. The results must be reproducible to be reliable.


  • Description of the components of an information.
  • Hypothesis testing on the characteristics of a message .
  • Comparison of media content with the real world.
  • Evaluation of the image of specific social groups.
  • Establishment of a starting point for studies on the effects of the media.

Steps for content analysis

Below are steps of content analysis

The method presented by Bardin for Content Analysis is very rich in details and didactic. The Content Analysis book presents all the steps that must be followed by the researcher to carry out a scientific analysis. In addition, all the details of each phase of the research and how the techniques can be applied are presented.

Here, we will present in a simple and succinct way the three steps that need to be followed by researchers to apply Content Analysis. I emphasize that these steps do not exhaust the application of the method! It’s just an initial step by step for you to understand how it works… I strongly suggest that you consult the original source to correctly apply the techniques of Content Analysis.


This is the first step that the author presents for the organization of Content Analysis and it makes perfect sense! Usually, after we’ve collected the data, we desperately move on to coding. However, before starting the analysis itself, it is important to organize the materials and see what is available. At this stage, it is possible to assess what makes sense to analyze and what still needs to be collected.

For Bardin, at this stage, we must do:

a) A floating reading of the material, to see what it is about;

b) Choose the documents to be analyzed (a priori) or select the documents that were collected for analysis (a posteriori);

c) Build the corpus based on exhaustiveness, representativeness, homogeneity and relevance;

d) Formulate hypotheses and objectives (yes, Bardin uses the term hypothesis); and

e) Prepare the material.

2- Material exploration

Within this phase, we have the steps of encoding and categorizing the material. In encoding, the recording and context units must be cut out. The recording units can be the word, the theme, the object or referent, the character, the event or the document. To select context units , cost and relevance must be taken into account.

The enumeration must also be carried out according to the criteria established above. Enumeration can be done through presence (or absence), frequency, weighted frequency, intensity, direction, order and co-occurrence (contingency analysis).

After coding, categorization must be done , which will follow one of the following criteria: semantic, syntactic, lexical or expressive.

3- Treatment of the results obtained and interpretation

The interpretation of the results obtained can be done through inference , which is a type of controlled interpretation. For Bardin (1977, p. 133), the inference may “be supported by the constitutive elements of the classic communication mechanism: on the one hand, the message (meaning and code) and its support or channel; on the other, the sender and the receiver”.

So here you have to pay attention to:

a) The sender or producer of the message;

b) The individual (or group) receiving the message;

c) The message itself; and

d) The medium , the channel through which the message was sent.

We hope that after reading this article you will be able to understand the steps of content analysis.

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