Coding Choices for Thematic Text Analysis: A Comparison of Manual Text Coding and Computer-assisted Coding

By Rim Ktari.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Researchers in the field of social sciences make use of a standard methodology, known as textual analysis, to study the content of communication. This method aims at considering texts under study as to their meaning. It enables researchers to gather large amounts of textual information, which is a necessary step to make it feasible for them to identify its properties. The technique utilized by researchers is called text coding and consists in forming a quantitative analysis of texts. This is done by examining the frequency of most used keywords by the author or creator of the document. “Key Words in Context” (KWIC) is the strategy on which researchers rely so as to detect the most important structures of the communication content. The meaningful reading of the text under scrutiny is guaranteed by a well-constructed categorized analysis of the textual information gathered. Traditionally, text coding was performed manually by researchers who used to read through the text and write down concept occurrences. The technological progress, however, brought about a revolutionary invention, the automation of the coding process. Textual analysis programs can examine huge amounts of data as well as a wider range of texts quickly and efficiently. The automated coding process has, nevertheless, been dependent on the category construction built up by the researcher beforehand. Furthermore, computers can code only based on the information they are given and hence are inefficient in coding for the implicit information.

Keywords: Content Analysis, Thematic Text Analysis, Quantitative Analysis, Coding Process, Manual Coding, Text Analysis Software

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp.1-12. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 641.721KB).

Rim Ktari

Teaching Assistant, English Department, Higher Institute of Applied Languages and Computer Science-Béja, Tunis, Tunisia

I have been working as a Teaching Assistant in the University of Jandouba at the Higher Institute of Applied Languages and Computer Sciences-Béja from 2004 to 2010. I have been responsible for the design, preparation, selection of course material, and lecturing undergraduate students.I have also acted as a co-ordinator of pedagogic affairs (in collaboration with several colleagues) of several courses. As far as my background is concerned, I had a B.A. in English language and literature from the University of Manouba, Faculty of Letters, Arts, and Humanities, Department of English in 2001. In 2004, I had an M.A. in English language and literature (civilization, major) with a paper entitled “Reality and Fiction in Apocalypse Now, Platoon, and Full Metal Jacket: The Making and Themes of Vietnam War Movies in the 1980s.” Currently, I am conducting an ongoing doctoral research with a dissertation entitled “The Bush Administration’s War on Terror and the Emergence and Development of the American Radical Protest Movement (2001-2006)”.


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