Titel: Inhaltsanalyse als Instrument der Sozialforschung. Theoretische Analyse und methodologische Kritik
Autor: Klaus Merten
Abstract: It is assumed that content analysis is as important an instrument for the investigation of social reality as other instruments for this purpose (observation, interview). First a number of assumptions of Berelson's classic definition of content analysis is examined from this perspective and their problematical nature shown by referring to findings of the theory of communication and semiotics. The result of this analysis demands the understanding of content analysis as a method of investigation of social reality rather than as a model; the aim not being the description of a social object (of a text) but the inference from internal characteristics of a text to external characteristics of social reality. At the same time it is revealed that content analysis just as the customary instruments for the investigation of social reality is to be understood as a reciprocally interfering selective social process the achievement of which, namely the investigation of social reality, is only possible in actual fact at the cost of the reactivity of the instrument.