Reporting the Methodology and Results of Content Analysis

The methodology and results of a content analysis should be reported the way they are for other evaluations. The methodology should be described in sufficient detail that readers will have a clear understanding of how the work was carried out and its strengths and limitations. For example, the report should reveal

  • the evaluation question addressed;
  • the nature of the material analyzed;
  • the variables coded and the coding categories;
  • whether documents were sampled and, if so, how;
  • the recording units;
  • the coding procedures and copies of coding instruments;
  • the statistical analysis techniques; and
  • limitations that would prevent another from using the information correctly.

The verbal conclusions from the content analysis should be backed up by tables and statistical summaries. Where it is applicable, evaluators should include statements about the statistical precision of the findings.

Source: GAO (2013), Content Analysis: A Methodology for Structuring and Analyzing Written Material: PEMD-10.3.1, BiblioGov.

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