Validity in quantitative content analysis

  • Liam Rourke
  • Terry Anderson


Over the past 15 years, educational technologists have been dabbling with a research technique known as quantitative content analysis (QCA). Although it is characterized as a systematic and objective procedure for describing communication, readers find insufficient evidence of either quality in published reports. In this paper, it is argued that QCA should be conceived of as a form of testing and measurement. If this argument is successful, it becomes possible to frame many of the problems associated with QCA studies under the well-articulated rubric of test validity. Two sets of procedures for developing the validity of a QCA coding protocol are provided, (a) one for developing a protocol that is theoretically valid and (b) one for establishing its validity empirically. The paper is concerned specifically with the use of QCA to study educational applications of computer-mediated communication.


Critical Thinking Cooperative Learning Online Discussion Social Presence Critical Thinking Skill 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Association for Educational Communications and Technology 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Liam Rourke
    • 1
  • Terry Anderson
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Educational Psychology at the University of AlbertaEdmonton
  2. 2.Athabasca University in AlbertaAlbertaCanada

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