Qualitative research relies primarily on qualitative data in form of texts. The method of content analysis (CA) represents a scientifically well-founded and effective solution for making valid inferences from varied sources of textual information. This paper investigates the use of CA in the context of high-quality IS research with a focus on the underlying research questions, data sources, and methodological characteristics. Building on that, distinctive patterns, trends through time, and potentials will be discussed and compared with a reference discipline (organizational research). The results indicate that the general application of CA in high-quality IS research has steadily increased. In this context, CA is used in a very wide range of ways to understand and explain complex phenomena. Furthermore, CA is frequently used to categorize primary data collections, derived, for example, from transcribed interviews or open-ended surveys, and to transform qualitative data into quantitative outcomes. Besides other methodological issues, the increasing application of computational approaches seems to distinguish the IS discipline. Finally, this paper should also serve as an introduction to CA, bring transparency with respect to the methodological characteristics, and inspire researchers to carry out further CAs in the context of IS research.
Coners, André and Matthies, Benjamin, "A CONTENT ANALYSIS OF CONTENT ANALYSES IN IS RESEARCH: PURPOSES, DATA SOURCES, AND METHODOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS" (2014). PACIS 2014 Proceedings. 111.