Contents Analysis

Content Analysis


Sociology is a social science that aims to empirically appreciate the complexity of human life. Embedded in this definition are the notions of science (strict adherence to systematic observations and logical explanations) and the complexity of everyday experience, which for sociologists, is not naturally self-evident and simple. In the broadest terms, sociology can be defined as an orientation that reveals ‘the strange in the familiar’ and ‘places individuality in social context’ (Macionis 2001: 2–5), quoted from Amir Marvasti (2004).

For sociologists, understanding and reporting how or why people behave as they do involves analyzing and presenting reality. In practice, this means sharing with an audience a convincing account of what was observed and its meaning. Whereas there are numerous theories sociologists use to approach and conceptualize their topics of interest, two philosophies that have influenced how social research is done- positivism and constructionism philosophies.


Positivism is synonymous with quantitative research which lays emphasis on objectivity, facts, statistics and hypothesis. Traditionally it was thought that there was a single, correct set of procedures for investigating phenomena and presenting findings, based on a scientific model of research that had an epistemological base. Epistemology is a study of how people or systems of people know things and how they think they know things (Keeney, 1983: 13, cited in Scully, 2002: 10). It is thus concerned with the nature of knowledge, what constitutes valid knowledge, what can be known and who can be a knower. Within positivism, knowledge has been treated as follows: i) what counts, is, the means (methodology) by which knowledge is arrived at. These means must be objective, empirical and scientific; ii) only certain topics are worthy of enquiry, namely those that exist in the public world; iii) the relationship between the self and...