Content analysis is any form of methodological measurement that is applied to symbolic material for the drawing of social scientific inferences. Symbolic material may include texts, multimedia, or archival records. The primary purpose of content analysis is to recognize meaning from the symbolic material, whether “contained” inherently within the symbolic material or argued for by the researcher. The point for content analysts is that symbolic material is produced for some reason and thus offers some source of significance to its creator and its audience, providing as a result insights into people’s cognitive schemas and the subject matter’s importance or materiality to them.

Content analysis rarely aims at a mere descriptive analysis of the content analyzed. Drawing inferences from the content remains the primary goal. Ordinary audiences ...

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