A Software-Assisted Qualitative Content Analysis of News Articles: Example and Reflections


  • Florian Kaefer University of Waikato
  • Juliet Roper University of Waikato
  • Paresha Sinha University of Waikato




qualitative content analysis, method, news articles, NVivo software, qualitative data analysis software (QDAS), computer-assisted qualitative data analysis (CAQDAS)


This article offers a step-by-step description of how qualitative data analysis software can be used for a qualitative content analysis of newspaper articles. Using NVivo as an example, it illustrates how software tools can facilitate analytical flexibility and how they can enhance transparency and trustworthiness of the qualitative research process. Following a brief discussion of the key characteristics, advantages and limitations of qualitative data analysis software, the article describes a qualitative content analysis of 230 newspaper articles, conducted to determine international media perceptions of New Zealand's environmental performance in connection with climate change and carbon emissions. The article proposes a multi-level coding approach during the analysis of news texts that combines quantitative and qualitative elements, allowing the researcher to move back and forth in coding and between analytical levels. The article concludes that while qualitative data analysis software, such as NVivo, will not do the analysis for the researcher, it can make the analytical process more flexible, transparent and ultimately more trustworthy.

URN: http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs150283


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Author Biographies

Florian Kaefer, University of Waikato

Dr. Florian KAEFER is a researcher, writer and advisor on the branding and reputation of places. He is the founder and editor of The Place Brand Observer. His doctoral research on news representations and discursive constructions of national environmental performance and place brand image in the case of New Zealand was part of a Royal Society New Zealand Marsden grant, led by Professor Juliet ROPER.

Juliet Roper, University of Waikato

Dr. Juliet ROPER is Head of Department and Professor of Management Communication, Management School, University of Waikato, New Zealand. Her work on social and environmental aspects of sustainability, public relations, government and corporate discourses on sustainability and social responsibility has been published in, for example, Journal of Public Relations Research, Public Relations Review, Journal of Applied Communication Research, Public Understanding of Science, and Organization Studies.

Paresha Sinha, University of Waikato

Dr. Paresha SINHA is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Strategy and Human Resource Management, Waikato Management School, University of Waikato, New Zealand. Her qualitative case study based research on the co-production of celebrity CEO image and the legitimation of merger and acquisitions strategies in news media has been published in Organization Studies and Strategic Organization.




How to Cite

Kaefer, F., Roper, J., & Sinha, P. (2015). A Software-Assisted Qualitative Content Analysis of News Articles: Example and Reflections. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 16(2). https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-16.2.2123