Qualitative Content Analysis

Key points

  • This course teaches qualitative content analysis as per Schreier (2012) using NVivo
  • You will learn the specificities of the method, type of research questions it answers, its different stages and the kind of results it generates
  • This course can be taken as a standalone unit or combined with another methodological seminar, any of the method courses or an NVivo course.
Qualitative content analysis is a method that focuses on certain aspects of data and on a description of only some categories of interest. In its emphasis on the latent, exploratory and interpretive nature of the data, qualitative content analysis differs from quantitative content analysis, which focuses on the manifest, predictive and automatic features of meaning making. We start by looking back to the 1980s to the first attempts to analyse content qualitatively, then follow on with a review of the key strengths and limitations of the method and the research contexts for which it is recommended. We then explore, in turn, the method’s eight steps, namely, formulating research questions, sampling procedures, building a coding frame, deciding the coding unit, conducting trial coding, assessing the validity of the coding frame, analysing the data and presenting the findings. Using NVivo, we perform initial coding and conduct a preliminary validity check on categories. We run and interpret the results of intercoder reliability and proceed with the main analytical phase. We conclude with a critical appraisal of the methodological quality of published studies based on qualitative content analysis and discuss best practices in reporting findings.

Although no previous knowledge of any of the four methods of qualitative data analysis is required, participants should have some familiarity with qualitative research.

Half-day from 9:00 to 13:00 or full-day from 9:00 to 17:00.

This course is taught by invitation only in universities, research centres or institutions.

Teaching methods
Lectures, demos with NVivo and hands-on exercises.

Please email me for information on fees.

Combining courses
This course is part of a five-course series on methods of qualitative analysis that includes Methods of Qualitative Data Analysis, Thematic Analysis, Cross-case Analysis and Grounded Theory. It can be taken alone or in conjunction with the other related courses. It can also be taught before, after or simultaneously with the Introduction to NVivo or Qualitative Data Analysis with NVivo courses.

Open-access references

This course was taught at

As a freelance methodologist, I train social scientists and humanitarian practitioners in qualitative analysis, decolonising research and participatory methodologies. I coach research teams, teach doctoral-level courses in method schools and I consult for humanitarian aid agencies worldwide.

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