Labovitz School of Business & Economics, University of Minnesota Duluth, 11 E. Superior Street, Suite 210, Duluth, MN 55802

Content Analysis Research Themes 1977-2000: Evolution and Change
Michael S. Mulvey, University of Ottawa
Barbara B. Stern, Rutgers University

ABSTRACT - More than two decades ago, Hal Kassarjian introduced the content analysis methodology to consumer researchers in
his 1977 Journal of Consumer Research article AContent Analysis in Consumer Research.@ Our research has two goals. First, from a
historical perspective, we trace the evolution in the use and application of content analysis in-field from 1977-2000. Second, we
analyze the substantive issues and thematic domains that dominate this body of research. By integrating the set of studies in terms of
themes, we are in a better position to describe current knowledge and practice, evaluate theoretical progress, identify gaps and weak
points that remain, and plot a course for future research.

[to cite]:
Michael S. Mulvey and Barbara B. Stern (2004) ,"Content Analysis Research Themes 1977-2000: Evolution and Change", in NA
- Advances in Consumer Research Volume 31, eds. Barbara E. Kahn and Mary Frances Luce, Valdosta, GA : Association for
Consumer Research, Pages: 728-734.


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5 were about images of women and More than two decades ago. The method was borrowed from other in the future. First. © 2004 . information content. divided into 12 (1977) article. decision models considered “a catalyst” for later research (Kolbe and Burnett p. we focus on the what (theoretical focus) of B: Historical: novels. and historical documents recording early evaluate theoretical progress.” B. The current study uses the following method to social sciences. Under this umbrella. specifi- nized into a system that reveals the relationship between changes in cally popular culture media. literature and news. The original themes article. its “aboutness. A: Images: women. and the disciplin- content analysis research and changes in society. Lacy. the media. of Advertising. and consumer rights movements. In a session on “Communication: The Mass Media and METHOD Informal Channels. values. Second. “The Negro and Mass Media: A Preliminary Analysis of 1969 Magazine Advertise. Appeal type: informational content. and plot a course for future research.” Harold Kassarjian’s paper. Mulvey. Non-advertis- directions. Last. identify gaps and weak points that consumer behavior. classify the original themes into groups follows: From its earliest days. articles. and documentary evidence is available. new field of consumer research. the unit of analysis is the “subject source is mass communication messages (marketer-generated). thematic development over time is orga. In the lacked the criterion citation. we trace the evolution in the use and application of ing the content of best-selling novels and the readability of market- content analysis in-field from 1977-2000. Sample ments. journals indexed in the Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI) duction of the method as a valuable new tool for systematic analysis “Business” category. Rutgers University ABSTRACT tising-related.” (Riffe. graffiti. p. Advertising popular technique in the consumer researcher’s tool kit. the main in a word. By integrating the set of studies in terms of themes. company Kassarjian’s article “Content Analysis in Consumer Research. Journals included generalist publications of the content of mass communications. press releases. nical/managerial positions. it offers suggestions for new research tion that such changes would continue to be studied. reflecting directives for the development of the and consumer behavior disciplines.” demonstrated its use in a study whose theme was the role Articles using content analysis were located in a search of 57 of blacks in advertisements. p. and of that group. The criterion for inclusion was citation of Kassarjian’s A total of 21 original themes was presented. a multitude of changes in society and the discipline as well as in the Original Themes: Baseline media and data sources calls for reassessment of the original themes Historically.” The study first examines the “original categories were differentiated by the media in which the communi- themes” (“research questions”) in Kassarjian’s first-generation cation appeared—advertising or other media. product and company images. after excluding 3 misclassified articles that used in pre-1977 research and 9 suggested for future research. and. consumer behavior The purpose is to trace the evolutionary development of C: Disciplinary journals: readability research themes so that future content analysts can make sense out of what has been studied and make more informed decisions about All of the themes are united by two commonalities: (1) the data what to study in the future. The remaining two themes were about other media. 243) and served as a “methodological benchmark” for more than two II. and 1960s and early 1970s related to the emergence of the civil rights. 68). and data sources. Task Force on Marketing Methodology and held at Ohio State University. recruitment appeared in the Journal of Consumer Research. In the last quarter of the century. The 9 directives for future substantive issues and thematic domains that dominate this body of themes extended media vehicles to non-advertising communica- research. graffiti. Journal of Retailing. we analyze the ing and consumer behavior journals. ing themes in other media were proposed for future study. and was introduced to the field in 1969 at an AMA identify and categorize post-1977 themes. the advertising ary literature itself. it iden. of images. models. content analysis has been a vital and I. Stern. “most useful whenever such as Journal of Marketing. 16) and Journal of Marketing Research. That is. and the expecta- post-1977 changes. content analysis predates the foundation of the to determine where content analysis is now. defined by and (2) the collection of themes centers on social issues in the Berelson as “an assertion about a subject matter” (1952. Next. Just as earlier researchers investigated the how of content A: Popular Culture: comic strips. recruitment for tech- Journal of Consumer Research article “Content Analysis in Con.” (Kassarjian 1977. Hal Kassarjian introduced the minorities.” Our research has two goals. Journal of Consumer Research. bumper stickers. The categorization scheme that we derived to remain. product. includ- cal perspective. thematic unit. 728 Advances in Consumer Research Volume 31. from a histori. Here. The article is C. and appeal types reflected societal changes in the tifies themes in content analysis studies from 1977-2000. and specialist ones such as Journal provided a list of themes from past research and directives for the of Public Policy and Marketing. and organizes them into baseline categories. In 1977. in a better position to describe current knowledge and practice. minorities. the largest number of themes (10) were adver. Content Analysis Research Themes 1977-2000: Evolution and Change Michael S. University of Ottawa Barbara B. organizes them into an updated categorical scheme that reveals women’s rights. documents related to such research from 1977-2000. Societal values: social. Other Media decades. Five others were about other advertising themes such as content analysis methodology to consumer researchers in his 1977 social values. and decision-choice sumer Research. In this way. p. bumper stickers analysis (methodology). comic strips. p. His 1977 article formalized the intro. and where it might go field of consumer research. and Fico 1998. content analysis was used to examine public by Holsti as “a single assertion about some subject” (1969. we constructed a sample set of 158 pre-1977 summary. we are tions such as multinational companies’ press releases. 18) and media. 116)– communication about public issues. and Journal future.

. (2) introduction of qualitative methodology. The following Data Analysis and Coding sections examine thematic expansion in detail. documents. the final coding scheme was based on his work: Hughes and Garrett (1990) and/or Kolbe and agreed upon and used to derive categories for all of the articles. (3) and use of from 1977 to 1990. and disciplinary/academic recognize Kassarjian’s paper. A provisional coding scheme was derived Themes in mass communications including but not limited to for the sample article themes via inductive and iterative analysis of advertisements form the largest category. assess their fit in the provisional scheme (Miles and Huberman defined as articles in business journals that did not cite Kassarjian 1994). the majority continues to nications. one relates to quantitative issues (problems and im- provements). The time series graph (Figure 1) shows that the research interests emerged: (1) refinement of quantitative method- number of articles per year citing Kassarjian (1977) rose steadily ology. and it reveals the extension and enrichment of the original themes. original themes were dominant. but that did cite two influential methodological articles and after re-analysis of both data sets. Miles and Huberman 1994. No thematic differences between the two sets were found. Burnett (1991). to socio-cultural changes. reaching a maximum of 12 articles in 1990. in the 1990s. The original data sources—marketer- The final sample contained articles from 21 business journals generated mass communications in advertisements and other me- (see Exhibit). and one relates to qualitative methods. personal communications as data sources. Articles citing multiple sources are counted only once. underscoring the method’s enduring popularity. bringing the total sample to 180 articles. and the object of analysis was the (42). or Kolbe and Burnett (1991). the number of articles per year has leveled off at about categorization scheme that we derived from the post-1977 sample. with the highest number in Journal of Advertising dia—continued to be used. Dawn Iacobucci and Findings reveal that from the 1970s to the 1990s. However. After excluding duplicates. directly. The Table shows the Since then. augmented by newer ones related tained 22 articles. And the articles can be grouped into three sub-categories. comprising 114 articles the sample data (Noblit and Hare 1988. Kassarjian’s Roland Rust. the holdout sample con. and then applied to the holdout article themes to (Miles and Huberman 1994) from “second generation” articles. Analysis began with each author’s identification of article themes in the sample and holdout data sets. and disagreements were 1: Mass Communications: Advertisements and Other Media resolved by discussion. Advances in Consumer Research (Volume 31) / 729 EXHIBIT Number of Articles in Sample by Business Journal No. Hughes and Garrett (1990). The reason for selecting these two articles is that they are the springboard for the most recent discussions (2001) of FINDINGS: CATEGORIZATION SCHEME reliability assessment by Kent Grayson. (63%). of Articles Journal 42 Journal of Advertising 19 Journal of Consumer Research 18 Journal of Advertising Research 14 Industrial Marketing Management 14 Journal of Public Policy and Marketing 13 Advances in Consumer Research 12 Journal of Marketing 9 Journal of Marketing Research 7 Journal of Business Research 7 Journal of Consumer Affairs 6 Journal of Retailing 4 Journal of Business Ethics 3 Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science 2 Journal of Consumer Policy 2 Journal of Product Innovation Management 2 Psychology & Marketing 2 Services Industries Journal 1 Akron Business and Economic Review 1 International Journal of Research in Marketing 1 Journal of Business 1 Journal of International Business Studies 180 Total Note: The sample consists of articles in business journals that cite at least one of the following: Kassarjian (1977). A subset of articles for a holdout sample was also collected Spiggle 1994). including mass commu- articles for methodological guidance. three new ing Research (18). Journal of Consumer Research (19). messages’ manifest meanings. 9 studies per year. and Journal of Advertis. of which three relate to data sources. The second time series (the holdout sample) in Figure 1 shows that Kassarjian’s original two categories have evolved/expanded to although a few researchers look exclusively to second-generation five. personal communications.

product (Cutler and Javalgi 1993. Chattopadhyay and Letarte 1996. Hoerrner In the late 1980s. Muehling and Kolbe 1998). fun. The Olney. Taylor and Taylor became popular in the 1970s. Weinberger and At about the same time. Hair and Bush 1983. Holbrook and Batra 1991). Cross- continues. common. Leigh 1994. Staffaroni and Fox 1994). Jackson. Slater. animation (Bush. Karan and and researchers began to study the influence of emotions on Hunn 2000). Television networks. These appeals (Abernathy and Franke 1996. content expanded to include the new themes of comparative ad Nonetheless.730 / Content Analysis Research Themes 1977-2000: Evolution and Change FIGURE 1 Number of Articles in Sample. Grove. 1977-2000 14 12 10 Number of articles 8 K H 6 4 2 0 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 Year A: Executional Devices. Huang 1993). Weinberger and Parsons 1997. Brown and Harmon 1979. price. and Leigh 1984). and consumer responses to advertising (Holbrook and Batra 1987. Stern and Resnik 1991). James and Vanden Bergh 1990). which had long banned comparative Callcott 1994. (Huhmann and Brotherton 1997. and literary (guilt and fear) as well as cultural differences in attitudes to criticism in consumer and advertising research. emphasizing a variety of information cues ing provides information about one named brand versus another. but also in direct mail (Stevenson and macro level. a development that emotional appeals are the objects of interest in current research began in the mid to late 1980s. most of the articles in this category are about societal and disciplinary changes after 1977. and so forth. semiotics. or hours presented to consumers. and the investigation of their effective. On the Stevenson 1984. Kelly. now permitted them. 1987). and the often including scientific evidence or product demonstrations to value of this information both to consumers and marketers convey the superiority of the advertised brand. they include small textual advertisements and the introduction of postmodern ideas in con- elements such as headline figures of speech (Beltramini and Blasko sumer research (Holbrook and Hirschman 1982). and product (Abernethy ads. Spotts. target market (Alexander. Comparative advertis. Emotional advertisements ap- trend toward close analysis of small textual units can be attributed pealing to positive feelings (humor. especially in magazine advertisements (Harmon. Empirical studies exam- began advocating brand comparisons (1972) to provide consumers ine differences in information content by media (Stern. after the Federal Trade Commission 1994. nostalgia) or negative ones to the incorporation of fine arts theory. cartoon characters and that consumers are driven by rational motivations was re-examined. and Butler 1993. Soley and Reid 1983). pictorial or musical elements (Haley. informational content. B: Informational/Emotional Appeals. both of which arose in response to tional content. content analysis of emotional advertising and Roe 1998). Studies of comparative appeals in print media are cultural comparisons gather evidence of relationships between a . on the micro level. the original theme of informational Spotts 1989). ness that began in the mid-70s (Wilkie and Farris (1975) still Pickett and Laband 1995. Stern 1992. Razzouk Content analysis of executional devices is a new category. Taylor 1997. McCullough and Taylor 1993. Swayne and that includes both macro and micro-level stimulus elements. even though post-1977 themes include emo- content and emotional appeals. Krugman with information that would enable them to evaluate competing and Resnik 1981. Zaichkowsky and Sadlowski 1991). Turley and Kelley appeals was spurred by a confluence between the rise of “image” 1997). target market (Lee and brands. color (Clarke and Honeycutt 2000. themes include comparison of appeals by media (Bush Swayne 1995). such as location. Dube. The assumption 1986. Benjamin. one and Stern 1983.

food products (Pappalardo and Ringold 2000). Rice and Lu 1988. The theme of women’s media be “disappeared” in advertisements—reflects the aging of the images now includes analysis of changing portrayals of women. Synchronic analysis of media representations describes gender role Ursic and Ursic 1986). Weinberger and Spotts 1989). Regulation of advertising 1995. and broadcast messages (Dowling 1980. underrepresentation or misrepresentation now include Asian-Ameri- or “puffed” advertisements that exaggerate product attributes/ cans (Taylor and Lee 1994) and Hispanics (Wilkes and Valenci benefits (Healey and Kassarjian 1983. Content Analyses of Academic Literature 12 4. with age-related themes now added to the original content analysis of portrayals of the elderly—an age group likely to ones of women and minority images. Interestingly. Caballero and Studies of inappropriate gender stereotypes and advertising effec- Matsukubo 1986. Ursic. Peterson and Ross 1997. researchers have broadened the scope C: Sociocultural Issues. Taylor and Gundlach 1999. and diachronic follow the original suggestion that future research should branch analysis presents evidence of women’s shifting occupational roles out from analysis of more traditional media (novels. marketing and public policy researchers monitor teens. Managerial / Employee-generated Data 23 3. Content Analyses of Personal Communications 38 A. Some articles develop more complex representational contracts to identify safeguards that effectively protect firms against benchmarks by treating the racial composition of models along with opportunism in business-to-business exchanges (Achrol and their social and occupational roles (Stevenson 1991. Advances in Consumer Research (Volume 31) / 731 TABLE Themes of Content Analysis Research. population as the baby-boomers grew older (Carrigan and Szmigin effects of stereotyping on children. 1977-2000 Number of Articles Element Class Theme 1. Mass Communications: Advertisements and Other Media 114 A. Sociocultural Issues 58 Portrayals of people (gender. Executional Devices 13 Macro-level stimulus elements 5 Micro-level stimulus elements 8 B. Zhou and Chen 1997). firms’ compliance with government legislation and scrutinize the Macklin and Kolbe 1984. Lee and Hunt motor vehicles (Ford and Mazis 1996). deceptive. 1987. Voli. Honeycutt and 1998) Cultural values depicted in popular culture and other media or media outlets (Reese. of inquiry by analyzing consumers’ responses to ads targeted to Research attention continues to focus on positive and negative different cultural groups (Grier and Brumbaugh 1999). Simonson and Holbrook 1989). tiveness (Jaffe and Berger 1994) emphasize negative effects on Taylor. Whipple and Courtney 1987). particularly vulnerable consumers such as children and the Unites States. Most recently. Further. Madden. Motley 1995. likely to be harmed by gender stereotyping (Browne 1998. reflecting the growth in minority immigration in the past two 1993). Sepstrup 1985. notably cigarettes and tobacco (Ringold portrayed together in advertisements. This is particularly true in industries whose advertising is in the sample that examined images of both men and women prone to controversy. Qualls stems from concerns about product risk disclosure and the nature of and Grier 1995). Jasper and Schwartz (1993) was the only study 1988). ad portrayals of the elderly. and Wilson 1997. Maynard and Taylor 1999). Swayne and Greco 1987. 1999. effectiveness of self-regulation programs (Kassarjian and Kassarjian research by Klassen. stereotyping. Miracle. Advances in Content Analysis Methodology 6 5. Kreshel and Tinkham 1990. In addition. Mueller 1991. Stevenson and Swayne 1999. Informational / Emotional Appeals 43 Comparative appeals 5 Emotional appeals 8 Information content 30 C. new themes of minority claim substantiation and aims at preventing misleading. Related research analyzes the information content of legal decades. Stern 1997). In consumers. Williams. drugs (Roth 1996. portrayals in particular countries (Ford. Consumer-generated Data 15 B. Qualitative Methods: New Frameworks 10 Total 180 country’s regulatory environment and the informativeness of print (Ferguson. magazine . Gundlach and Achrol 1993). race. Shimp and Many researchers have followed Kassarjian’s proposal to Dyer 1979). and examine depictions of blacks in advertising (Bristor. Ringold and Calfee 1989). age) 23 Depiction of cultural values 30 Product / brand placement in media (not ads) 5 2.

and the character of a nation’s value stores (Zimmer and Golden 1988). nations. Kerlenger. Javalgi. data sources include employee. The theme of changing selves. Curlo and Lerman 1999). especially space. time. Gross and Peterson 1986). are related to the study of media documents them- themes both spatially and temporally. underground “comix” (Spiggle 1986). Mueller 1992) or service industry research. . Langenderfer and Sprott 1999. Grove and broadening of the concept of “verbal and symbolic behavior” Kangun 1993. Mick and DeMoss 1990. Booms (Cho. established sources as magazine articles (Homburg and Pflesser 2000. Latent and manifest meanings encoded in consumers’ thoughts. and tactics used to construct messages (Carlson. categories based on the data sources are consumer-generated and Laczniak and Kangun 1996). brand switching (Keaveney sight into different nations’ advertising styles (Albers-Miller and 1995).and cently. Grove and Fisk 1996. bumper lum materials for classroom use (Rudd and Buttolph 1987).T. Smith globalization.732 / Content Analysis Research Themes 1977-2000: Evolution and Change articles. brand associations with major 1Content analysis of verbal data is also called “protocol analysis” television characters (Way 1984). The thematic sub- 1995). which the public was made aware of the consequences of worldwide Kassarjian summarizes as “the communications that people have pollution and depletion of resources. Themes longtime trading partners like Japan (Hong. Korea satisfaction/dissatisfaction with service processes (Bitner. Ruth. 1997. gift-giving (Goodwin. and ongoing debate about economic alliances. encoded in written and spoken language (p. American advertising is compared to that of manager-generated protocols as well as consumer verbatims. articles about value changes across feelings. increase in ecological and environmental “green” advertisements. and attachment to changes in the 1990s. 9). Mitra and Gelb 1996. and aspects of the deci- (Gross and Sheth 1989). and perceptions about media representations. and so forth. and and Tetreault 1990. salesperson role perfor- Changes in values across countries in terms of themes such as mance (Harich and LaBahn 1998). Williams and Burns 1994). Nonetheless. including those depicted in advertisements for a Palan and Wilkes 1997. Related themes include evaluation of employee/manager-generated responses to open-ended or survey the accuracy of environmental claims (Polonsky et al. Olson 1995) and novels (Friedman 1985). Gundlach and Cadotte 1994). Muderrisoglu and related to the consumption environment are commonly found in Zinkhan 1987. system (Hetsroni 2000). advertising remains the dominant source of data. for only embeds at a time when the effectiveness of advertising persuasive- a few studies examine the cultural values depicted in such long. Multi-country comparisons offer additional in. New stickers (Stern and Solomon 1992). in Kassarjian. especially tobacco and cigarette ads connects the field of consumer behavior to that of advertising. Cutler and Malhotra 1995. and complaining behavior (Davidow and Dacin 1993).What has occurred is a as types and prevalence of green appeals (Carlson. ample. where the critical incident technique the United Kingdom (Cutler and Javalgi 1994) and emerging (CIT) is used to generate consumer and employee responses about partners including China (Cheng and Schweitzer 1996). content analyzed. Karmins and Oetomo Webster 1998). Pieters and images. and advertising itself in a the consumer’s words became the object of interest. when sales of Reese’s Pieces rose 70% after being themes such as relationships with channel partners (Bello and featured in E. themes such as newly Westernized country (Zhou and Belk 1993). Wedel. 8) now taken to include Banerjee and Gulas 1994). Goodwin. New themes have arisen. Stafford 1994). strategic goals (Banerjee. ness is being questioned. The themes in 2: Content Analyses of Personal Communications these studies tend to be the negative values associated with a The most innovative change since 1977 is the addition of commercialized society and the unintentionally negative ones in personal communications—consumer-generated and employee- media targeted to the young. 1998) and questions. advertisements) to more ephemeral ones such as comic (Ford. alcohol and tobacco product and “discourse analysis. their structural characteristics (Iyer. Hyman and Zinkhan appeals to response effects in boundary-spanning research that 1990). Reynolds and Gutman 1988) link stimuli single product such as automobiles (Tansey. negative (positive) word of mouth (Sundaram. rapid growth in developing B: Managerial/Employee-generated Data. Chang. Graham. Cutler and Javalgi 1992. standardization. Stephens and Gwinner 1998). Gentry and Cropp 1999) and Taiwan (Zandpour. expansion of the source is rooted in early conceptualizations of following the socio-cultural concern that arose in the 1980s when “content” by Berelson. the shifting incidence of reveal themes about shopping experiences and retailing. buying impulses (Rook 1987). Westernization. Single country the nature of consumer responses to the real-world consumption studies of value appeals consider advertisers’ adoption of new environment as distinct from responses to media representations values (Lill. Gulas and Iyer analysis of language in real-life communication. From the late 1980s on. For ex- specific social values such as achievement and motivation (Zinkhan. such produced” (Kerlinger. Reid. Ringold and Rogers 1990). extending the original advertisements. consumers have been asked about their impressions of retail Hong and Lawson 1990). Grove and Catalano 1992). and Lasswell. Otnes and Brunel 1999). an entire industry. Grove. Peterson 1991). and similarities/ and Spiggle 1990.1 consumers’ perceptions of green issues (Zimmer. Holsti. and brand placements in curricu- books (Belk 1987). Themes of placement effects of covert persuasive Williamson 1985. a new positive theme is the generated verbal protocols—as new data sources. Other changes in consumer values are also sion-making process (Miyazaki. In the second category. with women’s time-impoverishment a new development DeSarbo 1998. and media began to appear. most re. Moon and Ringold 1991). Mick.” terms that are used interchangeably even placements in soap operas (Diener 1993) or magazine articles though they are not identical. and marketing strategy literature. Stafford and A: Consumer-generated Data. Garrett and Meyers 1996. Once (King. DeMoss and differences between cultures are also associated with economic Faber 1992. Among such changes are the rise of Pacific irreplaceable possessions (Grayson and Schulman 2000). sales media vehicles are associated with the rise of product placements management. Rim nations as world-class competitors. For example. unmet shopping needs (Lambert 1979). themes such as consumer ad comprehension representations of time and timestyles relates to that of gender (Mick 1992). In spite of this interest in the ethics of placements reflects the success of product progress. Fisk 1997. brand associations (Bijmolt. which includes since 1982. NAFTA. p. effective team messages—those embedded in entertainment or educational ve- hicles—occur in studies of brand placements in television pro- grams (Avery and Ferraro 2000). However. Changes in values in persuasive messages across different Manager-generated data can be found in the supply chain.

and validity” category. Jacoby other methods such as rhetorical analysis. Advances in Consumer Research (Volume 31) / 733 building (Barczak and Wilemon 1989. and the upsurge in patriotism after the terrorist attacks. that the current framework has been enriched by sociocultural and disciplinary changes such as the emergence of new themes. These papers also increasing use of content analysis to examine marketing literature. 521). and new media advertising. framework for expanded topical domains over time. Frankwick. and Finn and thematic research and that the method remains a vital addition to the Kayande (1997) demonstrated additional benefits of improved researcher’s tool kit. emergent topics as well as neglected ones (Riffe and Freitag 1997. The confluence between qualitative analyses and empirical criticism (Stern 1989). In the sociocultural studied issues as “data representativeness. 9. Paradis and Banting 1995). the buying process (Kennedy to build grounded theory inductively by examining the data first and 1993. grees-of-freedom analysis. identify knowledge. theme- nal guidelines stating that content analysis methodology “must be media relationships. Hence. Most of these articles can be adapt literary and language theory to advertising messages have led categorized as “pre-content analysis.” (Kassarjian 1977. Varadarajan and Ramanujam 1990) and meta. semiotics (Holbrook and Grayson 1986). reliability assessment. Greco and Swayne 1992). The methodological shift is reaffirmed by a Many research opportunities lie ahead. research trends over time. Among the methods and to measure their effects empirically (Riffe. Hughes and Garrett questions. and The post-1990s emergence of methodological articles revisits renewed interest in quantitative examination. another noticeable change. de- 1995. values in newly capitalist countries. Passadeos. p. but no data researchers to construct advertising stimuli free from confounds sources were themselves content analyzed. on consumers’ knowledge.” especially popular in the tenure and analysis (Claxton. which provide fertile grounds for research on themes relevant to ment of computer programs to calculate measures of intercoder unexplored data types such as banner ads. Interpretive techniques have used as data for the purposes of identifying current “where we are” been used to explore experiential aspects of consumption. researchers have applied them to new reliability. themes indicates that Kassarjian’s original themes served as a analysis of research findings (Farley. journal articles and SSCI author citations are content. often considered a proxy measurement for determining an author’s contribution to knowledge. in coding “fuzzy data” (Varki. Walker. Lehmann and Ryan 1981. testing is likely to accelerate theory development by enabling and rhetoric (Bush and Boller 1991). do new media. In thematic dimensions. or behavior (Cohen 1989). Varadarajan and Johnston 1987). McDonough 2000. Tripp 1997. or ethical codes for research. Phelps and Kim 1998). Findings show Ryan and Barclay 1983). Ward. the original theme of research readability has been works (for a review see Spiggle 1994 or Stern 1998). and legal or ethical issues such as privacy laws. Yale and Gilly 1988). and Seaton 1993). tual analysis of advertising offer directives to identify the formal properties of persuasive communications such as the type of com- 3: Content Analysis of Research Impact pany persona who speaks the message (1988a) or the allegorical The original focus on disciplinary text has broadened into the conventions that underlie the message (1988b). p. found primarily in ethnography (Arnould and Wallendorf 1994). Qualitative expanded to include the impact of the discipline’s scholarly output research aims at building innovative coding schemes for use in (Oliva and Reidenbach 1985. 1992. and media that Mass Communication Quarterly that identified the most frequently arise in a rapidly changing environment. Klees and Wackman future content analyses. Knowledge CONCLUSIONS synthesis is also advanced by means of topical literature reviews In sum. Rather than discard- the how of content analysis. Laskey. an increase in minority italics in original) and/or propose improvements in the calculation populations. systematic. reliability. data sources. New ones surface objective. and a warning edutainment. Ward. of various authors’ works. such as the shrinking economy. readily available data sources such as digital archives the unreliability of communication content as a measure of effects of print and TV ads. For example. regularly. 1988. content regulations. Among the topics studied are the difficulty So. Woodside and Sherrell 1980) and strategy formulation then introducing new frameworks for generating categories and (Frankwick. the study provides empirical support for the (1990) proposed a generalizability theory approach to apportion claims that Kassarjian’s article served as a benchmark for later variance based on raters and coding conditions. evaluations of salesperson performance but also in sociology and anthropology (Belk. and journals (Tellis. Kleine. articles began to appear that combines content analysis of textual stimuli with more accurate in which qualitative methods adapted from other disciplines were measurement of consumer response effects. and synthesize information into new frame- this way. Sherry and Wallendorf (DeCarlo and Leigh 1996. The purpose of these articles was Perrien. and quantitative. and publication quality. The common theme is the method await future researchers. exemplify the use of techniques to study latent as well as manifest Since the mid-1980s. individual contributions to research (Holbrook 1992. Among the under-studied themes are itself. researchers to derive theoretically grounded hypotheses testable in . too. Qualitative studies that used to derive new typologies.” for new frameworks and to greater awareness of executional or formal elements. Wilson and promotion process. for the categories can 1995 content analysis of articles published in the Journalism & be further enriched by the new themes. and ethnographic analysis. the develop. chat groups. Comparisons between content analysis and 1999). for example. and reliability (Kang. attitudes. Hutt and developing coding schemes. with evaluative articles that examine adherence to the origi. Lacy and Fico proposed were textual analysis. including but not limited to the Internet. is found in articles that present citation analysis Woodside 1999). disciplinary self-reflexiveness. Morgan and Piercy 1998). found in sources such as literary 1989). The theme of methodological differences between quantitative and qualitative authorial “impact on the field. qualitative methods. this study’s investigation of content analysis research (Tyebjee 1979. New synergies between qualitative methods and personal data 5: Qualitative Methods: New Frameworks sources also pave the way for innovative multi-method research After the Consumer Odyssey in 1987. data 4: Advances in Content Analysis Methodology sources. of intercoder reliability. Landry and Crosby 2000. especially the controversial matter of ing the original themes. allowing themes were proposed for future content analysis. political advertising. Kara. and we found no articles that challenged the original reliability and validity in 1978-1989 research. syntactic analysis. and Ward 1994. Evans. Kolbe and Burnett (1991) examined the problematics of situations. Stern’s articles on tex- Reingen 1994. Ritchie and Zaichkowsky 1980. or the nominal group technique focus on Chandy and Ackerman 1999. Cooil and Rust 2000).

185-195. Garrett (1990). 4 (June). SELECTED REFERENCES The complete list of references could not be published due to space restrictions. “Content- Analysis Research: An Examination of Applications with Directives for Improving Research Reliability and Objectiv- Kent. Burnett (1991).uottawa.” Journal of Consumer Research. They are available from Professor Mulvey’s website: http://public. Marie Adele and Dennis E.” Journal of Consumer Psychology. 10.” Journal of Consumer Research. Hughes. (1977). 18 (September). 8-18. . Kassarjian. “Content Analysis in Consumer Research. “Interrater Reliability. Richard H. and Melissa S.734 / Content Analysis Research Themes 1977-2000: Evolution and Change experiments that elicit open-ended responses. “Intercoder Reliability Estimation Approaches in Marketing: A Generalizability Theory Framework for Quantitative Data. Harold H. p. Dawn Iaccobucci and Roland Rust (2001). for the method’s limits still seem to be “only the limits of the ingenuity and creativity of the consumer re- searcher” (Kassarjian 1977. The future of content analysis as a technique adaptable to research on themes as yet unthought of is bright. Kolbe. 71-73. 27 (May). 16).” Journal of Marketing Research. 243- Grayson.