Evaluation of the Use of Qualitative Content Analysis in Graduate Theses
Barkçin, Emetullah Mümine
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Qualitative content analysis has started to be used more in the recent years, especially in the last decade. This trend exists in Turkey as well. It can be said the method was founded in 1952 by Berelson, when his book Content Analysis in Communication Research was published. In this book, Berelson defined content analysis as a quantitative research technique. Criticisms arose shortly after, with Kracauer being the first critique. In the same year, Kracauer (1952) published an article titled The Challenge of Qualitative Content Analysis, in which he rejected content analysis being labeled as quantitative, and declared that the method, in fact, is a qualitative technique. The debate about if content analysis is quantitative or qualitative has been going on about since then, and content analysis has been studied methodologically as well as being used as a research technique. The motivation of this study is to identify the process and characteristics of qualitative content analysis. The aims of this study are, first, to contribute to the methodology literature in Turkey and, second, to explain how the technique is conducted and, if there is any, to overcome the misunderstandings about it. In this study, qualitative content analysis is used as the research technique. First, with literature review, it is aimed to understand the background of content analysis, where it is used, and how qualitative content analysis is conducted. With qualitative content analysis, it is aimed to identify the characteristics of the technique. For this aim, Master’s and PhD theses which are written in Turkey and used qualitative content analysis in their studies are analyzed. The theses are selected from Council of Higher Education’s online Thesis Center through consecutive unit type purposive sampling. There are 27 Master’s and 15 PhD theses in the sample. After conducting qualitative content analysis on the sample, it is found that there is confusion about how to conduct qualitative content analysis. To overcome this confusion, some pathways are offered about conducting qualitative content analysis for researchers to reveal the difficulties related with the technique.
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