Qualitative Content Analysis: From Kracauer's Beginnings to Today's Challenges


  • Udo Kuckartz Philipps-Universität Marburg




qualitative analysis methods, qualitative content analysis, category formation, methodological rigor, coding frame, coding, case analysis


At the beginning of the 1950s, when communication research was at its peak, KRACAUER coined the term "qualitative content analysis." Today, the method is one of the most frequently used social research methods in Germany. Building on KRACAUER's line of argument, in this article I identify three fields for further development of the method: first, a more qualitative type of analysis following the formation of categories and the data coding process; second, a case orientation complementing category-based analysis, which is characteristic of qualitative research but has so far played a negligible role in qualitative content analysis; third, a stronger reference to the international methodological discussion where qualitative content analysis remains a little known method. In addition, I further reflect on methodological considerations, concluding by focusing on standards and quality criteria and advocating for the continued development of methodological rigor.


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Author Biography

Udo Kuckartz, Philipps-Universität Marburg

Udo KUCKARTZ is a social scientist and professor emeritus for educational research and methods of social research at the Philipps University of Marburg, Germany. The methodological focuses of his work include mixed methods, qualitative content analysis and computer-aided methods of qualitative content analysis. He has written numerous monographs and scientific articles in journals and handbooks, including the books "Qualitative Text Analysis: A Guide to Methods, Practice & Using Software," "Mixed Methods," and "Analyzing Qualitative Data with MAXQDA. Text, Audio & Video." His book "Qualitative Text Analysis" has been translated into Chinese and Japanese.



How to Cite

Kuckartz, U. (2019). Qualitative Content Analysis: From Kracauer’s Beginnings to Today’s Challenges. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 20(3). https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-20.3.3370



Conceptualizations of Qualitative Content Analysis