Skip to main content

Research Guides

PSAA 608 - Cybersecurity (Spring 2019)

Social Media - A Guide for Analysts and Policy-Makers

Intro to Content Analysis & Text Mining

Content analysis is a research method that examines media or textual sources for the presence and/or frequency of words, phrases or concepts as indicators for societal and topical themes or significance.  There are a multitude of tools and strategies, dependent on the material being studied: the following sources can provide some background and guidance:

The libraries also have some relevant manuals and handbooks to get started:

  • Krippendorff, K. (2004). Content Analysis: An Introduction to Its Methodology (2nd ed). Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage.
  • Riffle, D.  (2009). Analyzing Media Messages: Using Quantitative Content Analysis in Research (3rd ed). Mahwah, N.J: Lawrence Erlbaum.
  • Deacon, David. (2007). Researching communications: A practical guide to methods in media and cultural analysis (2nd ed). New York, NY : Oxford University Press.

Tools for Content Analysis

There are proprietary applications (for a fee) as well as open source tools (free) that provide various features for content analysis.  Some of the more common statistical packages (such as SPSS, Stata and R) may have add-on modules that provide this kind of functionality: these would allow a researcher to leverage a system with which they are already familiar and increase its utility.

The resources listed herein emphasize open source which means they are freely available, but as such, they may be continually in development and the support for the product may be minimal:

Atlas ti (in OAL lab) -

NVivo (base app is free; additional functionality may require purchase) -