Content Analysis is a systematic research methodology in qualitative studies. It analyses the inherent meanings of words and concepts within a text. This tool enables the researcher to draw inferences about the author, audience and the socio-cultural context. Content analysis helps the researchers to examine the objectives, meanings and relationships of words and concepts. In the same vein, relational content analysis also analyses the conceptual aspects. However, relational content analysis does not pertain to identifying the meaning of concepts individually.
The analysis encompasses going beyond the presence of the text and examining the text from a relational perspective. In a nutshell, relational analysis seeks to examine semantics or meaningful relationships in a text. The relational analysis does not view the individual concepts as having intrinsic meaning. Instead, the theorists argue that the relationship among concepts determines meaning in a text. Every researcher should know what relational analysis is and its types. In case of any difficulty, dissertation writing services by The Academic Papers UK are available around the clock. This article will guide them about the concept and inform the readers about its different types.
What Is Relational Content Analysis?
Relational content analysis is a qualitative method. It highlights the relationships between concepts in a text. The methodology also utilizes a quantitative approach to understand the relationship among concepts. Moreover, it looks for correlations in a text. Relation analysis enhances and integrates the qualitative analytical method.
Following are the major theoretical approaches to relational content analysis.
The linguistic approach analyses the text by dividing it into separate linguistic units. The linguistic units comprise single clause units. The type of approach developed by Gottschalk in 1975 comprises the following features.
- Analysis of each clause in a text by assigning it a numerical score based on implied emotions and psychological meaning
- Uses coding method where researchers code the text grammatically into clauses and parts of speech. The researcher then determines the relationship among them
- Uses matrix presentation
The cognitive approach includes analysing the text through mapping and mental models. It employs the following approaches to analyse the text.
- Decision maps to determine relationships between ideas, beliefs, attitudes, and information in a text
- The cognitive approach utilises a generalised cognitive mapping technique
- Logical, inferential, causal, sequential and mathematical relationships
- Linking method to develop networks
Mental models develop a group or a network of interrelated concepts. These concepts reflect conscious and subconscious perceptions of reality. The mental model approach examines the internal mental concepts generated by reading a text. The mental model approach uses the following lens to analyse a text.
- Employs specific approach to textual mapping
- Uses numerical and graphical analysis
- Rely on computers to construct maps
To infer, cognitive and mental models involves the following steps.
- Identification of concepts and relationships among them
- Numerical codification
- Grammatical codification
- Graphical and numerical analysis of the results
How does a researcher use this approach?
A researcher who analyses a text through cognitive and mental mapping takes the following steps.
- Converts the text into a map of concepts and relations
- Analyses the map on the level of concepts and statements
- A statement consists of relationships between two concepts
- Compares a wide variety of maps using multiple sources
- Derives implicit and explicit information to understand the socially shared cognitions
Types of Relational content analysis
Affect Extraction approach in relational analysis helps in evaluating explicit concepts in a text. This approach is problematic in research. It is difficult for a researcher to analyse emotional variance across time and populations. Still, it is an effective approach that can help decipher the writer’s emotional/psychological state. This approach utilises the following methods to analyse a text.
- Assigns a numeric value to a concept that corresponds to the emotional/psychological scales
- The researcher conducts statistical analysis to examine the relationships among concepts
- The researcher tries to understand the emotional/psychological aspect of the text, the author, the audience by looking at the verbal articulation of the text
This approach analyses those concepts in a text that occur together or simultaneously. This approach includes the following steps.
- The researcher defines the text as a string of words
- Determines the given length of words called a window
- The researcher scans the window across the text for co-concurrence of concept
- Create concepts through the concept matrix
- An interrelation of simultaneously occurring concepts suggest the overall meaning of the text
- Utilizes some other techniques as well, such as clustering, grouping and scaling
This approach combines the results of the two approaches mentioned above and further extrapolates the analysis. Cognitive mapping represents the conceptual relationships visually for comparison. This approach analyses the text from the following perspectives.
- Create mappings to derive the overall meaning of a text
- Utilisation of graphic maps to represent the relationship between concepts
- Compares semantic connections across texts
- Map analysis helps to understand the variance of meaning and definitions across time and space
- Maps portray multiple mental models of the text, writer, people and time period
- Mental models represent interrelated concepts in a text that reflect conscious or subconscious perceptions of reality
- Emphasize on language to understand these models
- Networked presentations of models
This technique is reflective of the cognitive approach in socio-and psycholinguistics. It further develops itself into Artificial Intelligence Models to understand the concepts in a text.
Relational content analysis can provide valuable insights into a text’s relational and semantic meanings. It deepens the researcher’s understanding of human thought and language. The relational approach inspects the texts in the light of alternating meanings and concepts. Critics assert that this approach is reductive while analysing complex texts. Relational analysis can be time consuming and exhaustive for a researcher. Despite its shortcomings, the approach can provide deep insights into the subjective interpretation of meaning across different historical and cultural aspects of a text.