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As it relates to survey research, content analysis is a research method that is applied to the verbatim responses given to open-ended questions in order to code those answers into a meaningful set of categories that lend themselves to further quantitative statistical analysis. In the words of Bernard Berelson, one of the early scholars explaining this method, “Content analysis is a research technique for the objective, systematic, and quantitative description of the manifest content of communication.” By coding these verbatim responses into a relatively small set of meaningful categories, survey researchers can create new variables in their survey data sets to use in their analyses.

Example of Content Analysis in Survey Research

Imagine a questionnaire that asks respondents, What is the biggest problem facing the nation today? ...

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