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

  • Katja Kansteiner Pädagogische Hochschule Weingarten
  • Stefan König Pädagogische Hochschule Weingarten
Keywords: qualitative content analysis, mixed methods research, advanced mixed methods designs, quality criteria, rationales


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.


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Author Biographies

Katja Kansteiner, Pädagogische Hochschule Weingarten

Dr. Katja KANSTEINER is a professor of educational science at the University of Education Weingarten, Germany. Her main research interests are leadership and professional development at schools, gender and diversity in teaching and leading, and education for democratic citizenship. She lectures in teacher education and further program for education, and is a member of the leading team of the international Master program "School Development."

Stefan König, Pädagogische Hochschule Weingarten

Dr. Stefan KÖNIG is a professor of sport science at the University of Education Weingarten, Germany. Since 2008 he has been the director of the research center for secondary education. His main research interests are instructional research focusing on exercise and motor learning, team sport, and mixed methods research. He is also a consultant for several sport associations.

How to Cite
Kansteiner, K., & König, S. (2020). The Role(s) of Qualitative Content Analysis in Mixed Methods Research Designs. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 21(1).
Relationships Between Qualitative Content Analysis and Other Methods