How to DOCA (or DOCA FAQ) – Database of Variables for Content Analysis

We have tried to make using DOCA as intuitive and self-explanatory as possible; however, the following information may provide some useful context and make your search more effective.

What is actually archived in DOCA?

The aim of DOCA is to provide easily accessible examples of variables and their categories (values) used in content analysis. These examples can in turn serve as a basis for further (and thus more comparable) research projects. DOCA provides entries for single variables (e.g. actors, issues,…) and more complex constructs (often measured by more than one variable e.g. americanization).

What information is contained in the database entries?

Each Database entry follows (more or less) the following structure:

  1. A brief description of the variable or construct
  2. A brief description of the most common field of application / theoretical foundation
  3. (If applicable) References/combination with other methods of data collection
  4. A sample operationalization including
    • information about the selected study (research question/s; analyzed medium)
    • information about the variable or construct (level of analysis, reliability score, categories/values)

     5. (If available) the Codebook / Protocol or other relevant material

How are the example operationalizations selected?

The author(s) of each database entry decide(s) which example operationalization is choosen. However, to be consistent, authors are asked to consider the following criteria:

  • Topicality
  • Relevance (possible indicators: citation frequency, expert opinion, ...)
  • Accessibility of variables
  • Quality (reporting of reliability coefficients)

How can I find a relevant variable for my research?

There are two options: You can either search for a specific variable/construct or an author within your research area of interest by using specific search terms (e.g., issue, frame, or actor). Alternatively, you can browse through the five thematic sections of the database:

  1. Basic variables
  2. Variables for research on news & journalism
  3. Variables for research on fiction & entertainment
  4. Variables for research on (professional) communicators & strategic communication
  5. Variables for research on user-generated media content

Can I suggest (or even submit) a new database entry?

Yes – You are welcome to do so. The database is meant to grow and stay up to date. Please contact us