The Potential of Qualitative Content Analysis for Empirical Educational Research

  • Michaela Gläser-Zikuda University of Erlangen-Nuremberg
  • Gerda Hagenauer University of Salzburg
  • Melanie Stephan University of Erlangen-Nuremberg
Keywords: qualitative content analysis, empirical educational research, inductive category development, deductive category application, mixed methods

Abstract

Researchers carrying out empirical studies in education are faced with complex and multifaceted phenomena that need to be investigated from different perspectives and with various methodological approaches. A suitable, often-applied method in empirical educational research is qualitative content analysis (QCA), developed by Philipp MAYRING (1983, 2015). This method can be used for inductive and deductive strategies of analysis, and is appropriate for combining qualitative and quantitative analyses, especially for research strategies based on mixed methods approaches (CRESWELL, 2015), which have for several years now been extensively discussed in empirical educational research (GLÄSER-ZIKUDA, SEIDEL, ROHLFS, GRÖSCHNER & ZIEGELBAUER, 2012; HAGENAUER & GLÄSER-ZIKUDA, 2019; MAYRING & GLÄSER-ZIKUDA, 2008). In this article, we discuss the potential of QCA for empirical educational research by giving insights into the basics of analysis and by providing research examples. We also briefly address the relevance of digitally supported analysis and describe specific software packages. Finally, we discuss the potential and challenges of applying QCA within mixed methods designs in the field of empirical educational research.

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Author Biographies

Michaela Gläser-Zikuda, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg

Michaela GLÄSER-ZIKUDA is a full professor at the Institute for Educational Science, Research and Teaching Unit School Education and Instructional Research at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg. Her main research interests are emotions and self-regulation in school and higher education, instructional quality, and teacher education. She is also interested in qualitative research methods and mixed methods research.

Gerda Hagenauer, University of Salzburg

Gerda HAGENAUER is a full professor in the School of Education at the University of Salzburg. Her main research interests are emotions, motivation and social relationships in teaching and learning at school, in teacher education and in higher education. She is also interested in mixed methods research.

Melanie Stephan, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg

Melanie STEPHAN is a PhD student at the Institute for Educational Science, Research Unit for Media Education at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg. In her PhD she focuses on technology-based teacher education. Her research interests are emotions in learning and instruction, media education, and teacher education.

Published
2020-01-28
How to Cite
Gläser-Zikuda, M., Hagenauer, G., & Stephan, M. (2020). The Potential of Qualitative Content Analysis for Empirical Educational Research. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 21(1). https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-21.1.3443
Section
Discipline-Specific Approaches to Qualitative Content Analysis