The Role(s) of Qualitative Content Analysis in Mixed Methods Research Designs

Katja Kansteiner, Stefan König


When discussing mixed methods research from a methodological point of view, it must be acknowledged that they have been developed from rather simple research designs to complex and multilayered frameworks in which qualitative content analysis (QCA) is seemingly a key method for analyzing non-numeric data. This can be attributed to the versatile procedures and functions for which QCA can be used.

Against this background, we describe and analyze the roles of QCA within different advanced mixed methods designs. First, we outline the implementation of QCA within a typical methodological framework, which consists of three hierarchical layers. Second, mixed methods research designs and the role of QCA in several design types are characterized. Third, three design types stemming from studies from educational sciences and sports science are presented. With these three elements, we demonstrate that QCA can be used in different roles ranging from dominance to subordination, thus implementing different rationales. Finally, we formulate some conclusions and suggestions for further research.


qualitative content analysis; mixed methods research; advanced mixed methods designs; quality criteria; rationales

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Copyright (c) 2020 Stefan König, Katja Kansteiner

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