ECONOMIC & SOCIAL RESEARCH COUNCIL

Research

Software for News Analysis

A wide variety of software that assists with both qualitative and quantitative research exists. Unfortunately, to the unintiated, these software tools often appear as a way to do analysis. That is particularly true for the so-called CAQDAS, but also applies to dictionary based analysis. Alas, software is not an analytical tool. You first need to decide on which methodology you want to use to analyze your data. Then you can match your analysis with the apprpriate software. In some cases, notably some forms of discourse analysis, the best way to go about anlysis might, in fact, require no softaware at all.

Types of Software for Textual, Video, and Audio Analyses

Currently, two main types of programs for (mainly) textual analysis exist:

  1. Software that searches, organizes, and annotates textual and sometimes multimedia data for further (qualitative and/or quantitative) analyses. Programs of this type are frequently subsumed under the acronym CAQDAS ("Computer-Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis Software"). We distinguish between three types of these programs:
  2. Programs that enable quantitative analyses of textual data. Two principal methods for analyses can be distinguished (Hogenraad, McKenzie & Péladeau 2003: 221):

Computer-aided evaluative assertion analysis, which "can be viewed as a kind of network analysis of textual data" (van den Berg & van der Veer 2000: 67), is a somewhat lesser known technique. The only software for this methodology is the DOS program CETA. Its distribution has been discontinued.

For "comparative research,"1 you might want to have a look at fs/QCA.

Two hybrid programs aim at both organizing and analytical tasks. cannot be captured by this typology. Finally, small helper applications prepare text for computer analyses.

Transana assists in the transcription and coding of video and audio data.

NB: We will ignore programs that are not available for graphic user environments (i.e., Windows, Linux or MacOS) as well as programs that are only remotely related to media research, such as TATOE, which caters to linguistic analysis, or C-I-SAID, EZ-Text, and TextSmart for SPSS, which aim at interview data. For these and other vintage programs, check Harald Klein's exhaustive overview of text analysis software.

References


1 We put "comparative research" in quotation marks, because, strictly speaking, all research is by definition comparative. In sociological jargon, comparative research is often synonymously used with international comparative research.


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