Skip Nav

What is Document Analysis?

The Profession

❶In this respect, it is important to note that case studies have an important function in generating hypotheses and building theory cf. Berelson, Bernard Reuben

Getting Help with Document Analysis Qualitative Research

Additional Information
Sign Up for Newsletter
404 - File or directory not found.

Fairclough, Norman; Clive Holes The Critical Study of Language. Graffigna, Guendalina and Bosio, A. International Journal of Qualitative Methods 5 3 , article 5. Ethnography is a multi-method qualitative approachthat studies people in their naturally occurring settings. The purpose is to provide a detailed, in-depth description of everyday life and practice. An ethnographic understanding is developed through close exploration of several sources like participant observation, observation, interviews, documents, newspapers, magazine articles or artifacts.

The results of an ethnographic study are summaries of observed activities, typifications or the identification of patterns and regularities.

Computer applications in qualitative research. Qualitative Social Research, 8 3 , Art. Qualitative Social Research, 10 2 , Art. The founder of Ethnomethodology Harold Garfinkel , developed this methodto better understand the social order people use in making sense of the world through.

As data sources he uses accounts and descriptions of day-to-day experiences. The aim is to discover the methods and rules of social action that people use in their everyday life.

The focus is on how-question, rather than why-question as underlying motives are not of interest. Ethnomethodologists conduct their studies in a variety of ways focusing on naturally occurring data. Central is the immersion in the situation being studied. They reject anything that looks like interview data. Important for an ethnomethodological analysis is self-reflection and the inspectability of data, thus the reader of an ethnomethodological study should be able to inspect the original data as means to evaluate any claim made by the analyst.

Steps in the process of data analysis include coding by type of discourse, counting frequencies of types of discourses, selecting the main types and checking for deviant cases. Francis, David and Stephen Hester. An invitation to Ethnomethodology.

Language, Society and Interaction. Its methodological roots are in phenomenology, social interactionism and ethnographyadapted by business studies and marketing research, but also used in other disciplines like medical research. The investigation is carried out in the naturalistic environment where the phenomenon occurs.

Methods of data collection include participant observation, depth interviews, group interviews and projective techniques. Analysis procedures consist of description, ordering or coding of data and displaying summaries of the data. Gendered Suffering and Social Transformations: Domestic Violence, Dictatorship and Democracy in Chile. A focus group is a form of group interviewmainly used in marketing research. A Practical Guide for Applied Research, 3rd ed. The focused interview and the focus group — continuities and discontinuities.

Public Opinions Quarterly, 51, A manual of problems and procedures. Frame Analysis has generally been attributed to the work of Erving Goffman and his book: An essay on the organization of experience. This approach tries to explain social phenomena in terms of the everyday use of schemes or frames like beliefs, images or symbols. The number of such frames available to people in making sense of their environment is limited by the particular society they live in.

Frame Analysis is largely used in social movement theory, policy studies and health research. When it comes to analyzing the data, a quantitative and a qualitative approach has been suggested. In quantitative studies the keyword approach is used extracting frames by means of hierarchical cluster or factor analysis. The software VBPro for example has especificallybeen developed for such procedures. Frames may however also be discovered via a qualitative coding approach. Propaganda Plays of the Woman Suffrage Movement: An Essay on the Organization of Experience.

Media Coverage on European Governance: European Journal of Communication 19 3 Grounded Theory GT is an inductive form of qualitative research that was first introduced by Glaser and Strauss It is a research approach in which the theory is developed from the data, rather than the other way around.

Data collection and analysis are consciously combined, and initial data analysis is used to shape continuing data collection. Strauss in disagreement with Glaser developed the approach further providing a more pragmatic and systematic descriptions of analytic steps, like the four different phases of coding: Sociological research has been greatly influenced by Grounded Theory and the method of coding based constant comparison and the theoretical sampling strategy is widely accepted.

In recent years, further variations of the grounded theory methodology have emerged. For example Kathy Charmaz introduced a constructivist version and Clarke discusses GT after the postmodern turn.

Glaser rubbish the use of tape recording and transcription as he considers it a superfluous activity not aiding the process of conceptualizing. Consequently he advises against the use of software. See a few examples below. Grounded Theory After the Postmodern Turn. Discovery of Grounded Theory: Strategies for Qualitative Research.

Basics of Grounded Theory Analysis: Qualitative Analysis for Social Scientists. Basics of Qualitative Research: Techniques and Procedures for Developing Grounded Theory. Burden, Johann and Roodt, Gert Grounded theory and its application in a recent study on organizational redesign. Some reflections and guidelines.

Journal of Human Resource Management, 5 3 , 11 — Qualitative Social Research, 1 1 , Art. The grounded theory method and case study data in IS research: The Creation of Theory: As a theory of interpretation, the hermeneutic tradition stretches all the way back to ancient Greek philosophy. In the middle ages and the Renaissance, hermeneutics emerges as a method to identify the meaning and intent of Biblical scripture.

Today hermeneutics is also used as a strategy to address a broad range of research questions like interpreting human practices,events, and situations. Researchers bring their personal conviction to the analysis, but they need to be open for revision. In the process of collecting data, a tentative understanding is developed which is then tested against reality. Further understanding is gained if discrepancies between the current interpretation and the new data are recognized.

Thus, the process of understanding is characterized by constant revisions. This is referred to as the hermeneutic cycle. Research Methods for Political Science: Quantitative and Qualitative Methods. Wallach, Harald , 2. Psychologie — Wissenschaftstheorie, philosophische Grundlagen und Geschichte: The term originally comes from phenomenological sociology, where it refers to the familiar world of everyday life.

In analyzing lifeworlds, one attempts to draw out the individual structures within it. A lifeworld can be understood as a physical environment even though the various inhabitants do not necessarily attribute the same meaning to the same space. Cats and people for example may inhabit the same physical environment but live in different lifeworlds as cupboards, window sills, and spaces underneath chairs have different significances for both of them. The aim is the reconstruction of the various subjective perspectives.

In order to achieve this, a number of data typesare employed like document analysis, interviews, standardized surveys or observant participation. Not surprisingly, a hermeneutic approach of analysis is chosen. When the need arises, this is combined with codification procedures and thus, CAQDAS is a possible choice to support the process of data analysis.

Hitzler, Roland und Eberle , Thomas S. Qualitative Social Research, 6 3 , Art. Oberkircher, Lisa and Hornidge, Anna-Katharina Rural Sociology 76 3 , , pp. Narrative research is about stories of life experiences. Study participants are asked in long interviews to give a detailed account of them and their story rather than to answer a predetermined list of questions.

Other forms of data include life histories, journals, diaries, memoirs, autobiographies and biographies. After transcription, narratives may be coded according to categories deemed theoretically important by the researcher Riesman, Another approach is a formal sequential analysis with the purpose of identifying recurrent and regular forms which are then related to specific modes of biographical experiences. An example where ATLAs. Narrative analysis can however also be conducted using quantitative methods QNA.

The aim of QNA is to turn words into numbers. By computing word frequencies of coding categories, words are then turned intonumbers cf. Sage, , 83, A Review of Narrative Methodology. Narrative Configuration in Qualitative Analysis.

Qualitative Studies in Education, Vol. Contexts and accounts on deviant actions. Objective Hermeneutics was developed by Oeverman, a German scholar and former student of Habermas. It is a method of interpreting textual dataproviding an explicit, rule-governed procedure. The aim is to go beyond subjective meanings detecting the objective connotation, the so called latent sense structure behind the data. Similar as in ethnomethodology, personal motives and intentions are not important.

Beginning with a first sequence, e. The story lines can beviewed as preliminary hypotheses that in the process of analysiscan be falsified when inspecting more of the empirical data.

The method is very time-consuming and thus only feasible with small amounts of text. Coding procedures are explicitly banned. Proponents of this tradition argue that the development of a coding system cannot represent social reality appropriately. The process of coding would even deplete the theoretical appraisal of empirical phenomena. Thus, objective hermeneutics is clearly not a methodological approach that can or should be supported by ATLAS. Steinke eds , A Companion to Qualitative Research.

Hermeneutics and Objective Hermeneutics. Phenomenology is a research methodology which has its roots in philosophy focusing on the lived experience of individuals. Phenomenological researchersare interested in the nature or meaning of something, their questions are about essence and not about appearance. A constant question is: How does this affect me as researcher? Data are collected through a variety of means: During the process of analysis, the researcher reflects upon his or her own preconceptions about the data grasping the experiential world of the research participant.

An introduction to Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Writing in the dark: Phenomenological studies in interpretive inquiry. Corroborating findings across data sets can reduce the impact of potential bias by examining information collected through different methods. Also, combining qualitative and quantitative sometimes included in document analysis called mixed-methods studies. Before actual document analysis takes place, the researcher must go through a detailed planning process in order to ensure reliable results.

There is the question of how many documents the researcher should gather. Bowen suggests that a wide array of documents is better, although the question should be more about quality of the document rather than quantity Bowen, The first is the issue of bias, both in the author or creator of the document, and the researcher as well The researcher must consider the subjectivity of the author and also the personal biases he or she may be bringing to the research.

Bowen adds that the researcher must evaluate the original purpose of the document, such as the target audience He or she should also consider whether the author was a firsthand witness or used secondhand sources.

Latent content refers to the style, tone, agenda, facts or opinions that exist in the document. Bowen adds that documents should be assessed for their completeness; in other words, how selective or comprehensive their data is One is the interview technique.

Essentially, the researcher determines what is being searched for, then documents and organizes the frequency and amount of occurrences within the document. Bowen notes that some experts object to this kind of analysis, saying that it obscures the interpretive process in the case of interview transcriptions Bowen, However, Bowen reminds us that documents include a wide variety of types, and content analysis can be very useful for painting a broad, overall picture This analysis takes emerging themes and makes them into categories used for further analysis, making it a useful practice for grounded theory.

It includes careful, focused reading and re-reading of data, as well as coding and category construction Bowen, It is not just a process of lining up a collection of excerpts that convey whatever the researcher desires.

The researcher must maintain a high level of objectivity and sensitivity in order for the document analysis results to be credible and valid Bowen, There are many reasons why researchers choose to use document analysis. Firstly, document analysis is an efficient and effective way of gathering data because documents are manageable and practical resources.

Documents are commonplace and come in a variety of forms, making documents a very accessible and reliable source of data. Obtaining and analysing documents is often far more cost efficient and time efficient than conducting your own research or experiments Bowen, Document analysis is often used because of the many different ways it can support and strengthen research.

Document analysis can be used in many different fields of research, as either a primary method of data collection or as a compliment to other methods. Documents can provide supplementary research data, making document analysis a useful and beneficial method for most research.

Documents can also contain data that no longer can be observed, provide details that informants have forgotten, and can track change and development. Document analysis can also point to questions that need to be asked or to situations that need to be observed, making the use of document analysis a way to ensure your research is critical and comprehensive Bowen, The disadvantages of using document analysis are not so much limitations as they are potential concerns to be aware of before choosing the method or when using it.

An initial concern to consider is that documents are not created with data research agendas and therefore require some investigative skills. A document will not perfectly provide all of the necessary information required to answer your research questions. Some documents may only provide a small amount of useful data or sometimes none at all.

Other documents may be incomplete, or their data may be inaccurate or inconsistent. Sometimes there are gaps or sparseness of documents, leading to more searching or reliance on additional documents then planned Bowen, Also, some documents may not be available or easily accessible.

For these reasons, it is important to evaluate the quality of your documents and to be prepared to encounter some challenges or gaps when employing document analysis. Another concern to be aware of before beginning document analysis, and to keep in mind during, is the potential presence of biases, both in a document and from the researcher. As long as a researcher begins document analysis knowing what the method entails and has a clear process planned, the advantages of document analysis are likely to far outweigh the amount of issues that may arise.

Document analysis as a qualitative research method.

Reader's Guide

Main Topics

Privacy Policy

Document analysis is a social research method and is an important research tool in its own right, and is an invaluable part of most schemes of triangulation, the combination of methodologies in the study of the same phenomenon (Bowen, ).

Privacy FAQs

This article examines the function of documents as a data source in qualitative research and discusses document analysis procedure in the context of actual research experiences. Targeted to research novices, the article takes a nuts‐and‐bolts approach to document analysis. It describes the nature and forms of documents, outlines the advantages and limitations of document analysis, and.

About Our Ads

Document Analysis as a Qualitative Research Method Glenn A. Bowen WESTERN CAROLINA UNIVERSITY ABSTRACT This article examines the function of documents as a data source in qualitative research and discusses. Document Analysis as a Qualitative Research Method Glenn A. Bowen WESTERN CAROLINA UNIVERSITY Bowen, Glenn A., , 'Document Analysis as a Qualitative Research Method', Qualitative Research Journal, vol. 9, no. 2, pp.

Cookie Info

This article examines the function of documents as a data source in qualitative research and discusses document analysis procedure in the context of actual research experiences. Qualitative research is designed to explore the human elements of a given topic, while specific qualitative methods examine how individuals see and experienc.