Content Analysis in Social Research

Study Contexts, Avenues of Research, and Data Communication Strategies

This volume is a comprehensive overview of Content Analysis (CA), whose extraordinary potential is operationally flexible, compatible with different techniques, theoretically creative, and multidisciplinary at its core. Also, CA keeps tradition and innovation together: as technology advances, CA can more efficiently perform its typical functions and proves its worth in new fields. The book illustrates the main characteristics, perspectives, plurality of objects, and contexts of use of CA, focusing on the various practical strategies that it entails and on their combinations. The aim is to provide readers with a concrete guide, presenting a research notebook that explores a unique empirical-methodological heritage – such working style is replicable and the goal is to transmit it as clearly as possible.

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Maria Paola Faggiano, Ph.D. in Methodology of Social Sciences, Tenure-track assistant professor of Sociology, Sapienza-University of Rome. She has published monographs and many articles on methodological issues. Among her recent publications, Content Analysis and Digital Data: Methodological Solutions between Tradition and Innovation. The Case of Digital Campaigns as Meeting Ground of Expertises and Research Perspectives (with Gallo R., Italian Sociological Review, 2021).
List of Illustrations

Introduction: Interrogating Textual Material in Today’s Day and AgeCharacteristics and Contexts of Use of Content Analysis

1 Content Analysis in Social Research: A Methodological Point of View
 1 Guidelines for the Qualitative Analysis of Content
  1.1 Detecting and Analyzing a Text Qualitatively
  1.2 An Example: The Testimony of a Sample of Neet Youngsters
 2 Statistical-Textual Analysis: Foundations and Perspectives of Analysis
  2.1 Preliminary Checks
  2.2 Types of Obtainable Outputs
  2.3 Pros and Cons of Statistical-Textual Analysis
 3 Distinctive Features of Content Analysis as a Survey
  3.1 Identification of the Unit of Analysis and Temporal Placement of the Investigation
  3.2 From Designing an Analysis Sheet to Collecting Information
  3.3 Analysis and Presentation of Findings

2 The Analysis of Digital Campaigns The Case Study of the Italian General Elections
 1 Introduction
 2 Twitter, TV and Political Participation in the Electoral Campaign: Zooming in on the 2013 Parliamentary Elections in Italy
 3 Themes, Actors and Contexts in the Italian Digital Campaign 2018
  3.1 Focalizing on Themes
  3.2 Political Actors: Allies and Opponents
  3.3 The Use of Numbers to Denounce and Inform: Sources and Statistics in the Digital Campaign
  3.4 Social Actors: Who to Include, Who to Exclude
  3.4 References to Territory Contained in Posts

3 Local Digital CampaignsThe role of Facebook in Rome’s Local Elections
 1 A Special Election Campaign: Analysis Objectives
 2 The Candidates’ Social Statistics
 3 The Campaign’s Pars Construens: A Qualitative Examination
 4 The Pars Destruens of the Digital Campaign: In-depth Analysis of Posts
 5 The Campaign’s Climate, Actors and Scenarios

4 Analyzing the Blog of the Five Star Movement
 1 Introduction
 2 The Empirical Basis
 3 Pre-analysis Operations
 4 Key Expressions in the Blog
 5 The Time Variable in the Rome-based Blog
 6 Axes of Discourse and Typology of Posts

5 Content Analysis Applied to In-depth Interviews Drawing Ideas from an Empirical Study on Religiosity in Italy
 1 Research Design
 2 A Mixed Analysis Approach: Focusing on CA as a Survey
 3 Some of the Outcomes of Applying CA as a Survey: The Endurance of Religion and the Need for Community
 4 The Participants’ Emotional Experiences
  4.1 The Dimension of Happiness
  4.2 Suffering
  4.3 The Path of Life: Secular and Religious Perspectives Compared
  4.4 Respondents and Death
 5 Everyday Life and Holidays: Practices, Subjects and Contexts

Concluding Remarks Past and Present Research Practices, Looking Forward

The book points out the plural use of data collections and analysis techniques through multiple, concrete, research examples. Combining methodological reflections and research experiences, it explores Content Analysis and its creative possibilities.
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