Dissertation writing requires students to complete a cascade of events to reach the endpoint. Each chapter of a dissertation varies greatly in purpose and complexity from the other. As far as the complexity of the different chapters of a dissertation is concerned, data analysis is the most critical task that seems daunting to the majority of students. The most probable reason which makes data analysis a difficult process is the availability of a broad spectrum of options that can be opted as a trick to reduce, summarise, and sort data. In order to make the data analysis simple for even beginners, the article will be a complete step-by-step guide to conducting the content analysis. Remember, content analysis is only used for analysing qualitative data in research. If you want to conduct the quantitative analysis, you must review our blogs on quantitative research methods.
Content analysis- A brief introduction:
Content analysis is the method that is used to analyse the pattern in the qualitative data form. Qualitative data can be collected by conducting interviews, questionnaires, surveys, observations, and focused groups. These are a few primary methods of collecting information for content analysis, though secondary methods of searching for information from literary sources are also common. Moreover, the qualitative data can be in the form of videos, audio, and written text format. Whatever will be the form or format of the data, the same series of steps can be applied to every type of qualitative data. Below the top dissertation writers have discussed the steps to conduct content analysis.
Collect the data:
As described earlier, data in the form of responses, feedback, and suggestions can be collected in several ways. With the advent of digital technologies, the number of techniques to collect data also increases exponentially. Traditionally, the content was only collected by visiting participants and reviewing the literature. These days, podcasts, social media posts, authentic vlogs, web content, and electronic questionnaires can also be used to collect qualitative data. Now, it is up to the researcher which one seems most convenient and authentic to collect high-quality data.
Organise it into a more manageable form:
The more electronically advanced gadgets you use to collect the data, the more effort will be needed to organise the widely scattered dataset. Let’s suppose you collected data via emails, then compiling data by downloading all the files one by one and organising the data in a main data collection file will be a bit difficult. In case you travel to a health care centre and ask practitioners to share patients’ responses on the use of vancomycin as a treatment drug for bacterial infections, you can relatively easily organise the data in one file. At this phase, you can also trim data and remove the outliers before finally assigning codes to them.
Assign codes to the collected data:
Coding is the step that you must follow after reading the content carefully. Without careful reading, it will be difficult to assign codes. While reading the content, one needs to pay attention to the words, phrases, and frequencies of the presence of certain words. The codes can be the most repeated words in responses of different participants or in data reported in scholarly articles. These codes assist researchers in sorting and analysing the data in a more systematic manner.
Categorise data into different sub-groups:
Based on the codes, you can easily categorise the data into different groups. By categorising data into different groups, one can easily reduce the large dataset into small units. These small units or the categorised data are easy to understand and help us reach a conclusion smoothly.
Some students think that content analysis ends when they make a small and manageable dataset, even though this is not the endpoint. What you did and what your analysis is telling will not be less than a puzzle if it is not supported by the description. Thus, the last step in the content analysis is to deduce clear consequences so that even a lame person or someone new to a particular field can understand the finding of your study.
In a nutshell, dissertation writing is a lengthy process that allows students to go through different phases of research. Content analysis is only one of the many methods of analysing data, though there are many more. To gain proficiency, you must seek help from step by step guide and review samples. It will be good to stay on track throughout the research process.