De-fusing the Horizons? Content Analysis and Hermeneutics
Mark A.C. Jennings
Content Analysis (CA) is a set of methods used for examining texts. I commence by outlining the conceptual foundations of CA articulated most recently by Klaus Krippendorff. He contends that in order for CA to be a reliable method, practitioners must cease understanding texts as ‘containers’ holding a single, inherent meaning. In contrast, the analyst and their interpretive context determine the inferences, and effectively the meaning, of texts.
Outlining the hermeneutics of Hans–Georg Gadamer and Paul Ricoeur, I challenge Krippendorff’s assertions, demonstrating that a hermeneutic approach renders visible necessary interpretive decisions which CA obscures. Hermeneutics thus offers an important critique, alerting us to the limitations of CA, and the boundaries it must remain within if it is to remain useful.
Content Analysis, Hermeneutics, Interpretation, Method, Big Word.