This paper is a description of inductive and deductive content analysis.
Content analysis is a method that may be used with either qualitative or quantitative
data and in an inductive or deductive way. Qualitative content analysis is commonly
used in nursing studies but little has been published on the analysis process and
many research books generally only provide a short description of this method.
When using content analysis, the aim was to build a model to describe the phenomenon
in a conceptual form. Both inductive and deductive analysis processes are represented
as three main phases: preparation, organizing and reporting. The preparation phase
is similar in both approaches. The concepts are derived from the data in inductive
content analysis. Deductive content analysis is used when the structure of analysis
is operationalized on the basis of previous knowledge.
Inductive content analysis is used in cases where there are no previous studies dealing
with the phenomenon or when it is fragmented. A deductive approach is useful if the
general aim was to test a previous theory in a different situation or to compare categories
at different time periods.