Integrating Content Analysis and Argumentative Analysis to Reconstruct a Media-supported Public Debate

Silvia De Ascaniis


This paper discusses methodological issues about the use of content analysis, in order to show that if this empirical method is integrated with different techniques of argumentative analysis, it helps to reconstruct and analyze media-supported public debates. Content analysis is here integrated with the analytical overview, a method which allows to systematically consider every element of an argumentative text that is relevant to solve a difference of opinion, and with an argument evaluation by means of the Argumentum Model o/Topics. The article argues that content analysis may contribute as a preliminary instrument to the argumentative analysis when dealing with large corpora of data, in that it allows to get a macroscopic view of the debate, thus laying the basis for the reconstruction, analysis and evaluation of the argumentative fabric. Mass-media platforms constitute, indeed, a special context of communication practices where argumentation assumes peculiar structures and dynamics, which have to be studied with the help of adequate tools, in order to understand their influence in opinion- making and building of consent. Relevant issues such as categories building and coder instruction are also briefly discussed. 


content analysis; argument analysis; public debate; reconstruction

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Studies in Communication Sciences | ISSN: 1424-4896