Q. Are there resources to assist with content analysis?

Answered By: Kathryn Ray
Last Updated: May 04, 2022     Views: 23

The exact definition of what "content analysis" is varies by discipline, but universally it includes the reading/viewing of "content", be it text, images, or video, and categorizing content with labels, called "codes". This can include both qualitative methods analyzing the meanings of content or quantitative methods analyzing statistical patterns in the content.

You should select appropriate tools depending on the intent of the research, methods, and corpus makeup or size. The library does not officially support these tools, but all have easily available documentation or guides available online at other libraries' sites or on the application's web page. AU's CTRL supports NVivo.
  • NVivo is the most popular qualitative research software. It can handle an astonishingly wide array of file formats, including text, audio, images, and video. Like many of its competitors, it requires a paid license, but you can get access as an AU student, staff, or faculty member. Please see: Where can I download NVivo and get help using it?
    • Competitors include MAXQDA, QDA Miner, and Quirkos. All are paid, and AU does not provide licenses.
  • Taguette is a free and open source software for qualitative coding in text sources. It runs in your browser or can be run locally. It's lightweight and easy, but it has less features than NVivo and supports less filetypes.
  • Voyant is browser-based open source environment for text reading and analysis. It can perform quantitative tasks like word frequency counts and additionally visualize many different types of relationships within the text corpus.
    • There are several similar open source text analysis tools, like Libro, AntConc, and KHCoder, but Voyant is browser-based and simple to use.
  • oTranscribe is a free and open source audio transcription platform to that helps you type transcriptions of audio and video files while they play, all in your browser or in the app if you choose to download it.
  • Tropy is a free and open source image description desktop app. It allows you to organize, describe, and add metadata to images. It was designed to be used with scanned images from archival document collections, but can be used for other types of images.

Social media research tools:

Social media is fascinating, and many students are interested in doing content analysis (or text mining) research of social media content. The lines between different types of content analysis, text analysis, and text mining can easily become blurred when working with big data from social media.

Note about Instagram: Meta maintains tight controls over Instagram content. The terms of service effectively ban scraping content. No free, TOS-compliant, no-coding-required, tools have been identified. Facebook allows slightly more access, but research is still very restricted compared to other platforms. 
The following should be usable without any programming knowledge:
Data collection software:
  • NVivo has its own web dataset collection tool, NCapture, which only works for NVivo. It can capture Tweets, YouTube videos, and some Facebook pages.
  • Netlytic is a free browser-based social media research tool that also has some text mining features. It should provide term frequency and other quantitative content analysis needs. Notably, it supports the whole process from collection to analysis, so it's an all-in-one package - in your browser! It works with Twitter, YouTube comments, and Reddit posts, as well as other types of data that can be manually loaded in. See Netlytic's intro video for instructions.
  • Chorus requires some setup and has a learning curve, but it was created specific for doing Twitter analysis in social science research and is a pretty comprehensive search and analysis tool. Much like Netlytic, it can support the research process from dataset collection through analysis and visualization.
  • Mozdeh is a social media quantitative analysis FOSS software that can also collect tweets, like Netlytic or Chorus. It works with the same things as Netlyltic: Tweets, YouTube comments, Reddit comments, and manually imported data. See Mozdeh's demo video for instructions.
  • Tweet Archiver and its cousin TAGS are fairly straightforward ways to get Tweets into Google Sheets to be loaded into whatever qualitative or quantitative analysis software you desire.

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