The research process of deductive data analysis
Research employing deductive content analysis relies on the same data collection methods and sources that are used in inductive content analysis, for example, interviews, observations, meeting documents, diary entries, historical documents and patient records. Any written material can serve as the input for deductive content analysis (see Chap. 1). As is also the case in inductive content analysis, the proper sample size for deductive content analysis is based on data saturation. Furthermore, the deductive content analysis process promotes returning to the research questions following data collection and analysis (Fig. 3.1). This is important for two reasons. First, it may be possible that the research questions and/or structure of analysis do not accurately reflect the theoretical structure. In this case, the researcher should revise their research question and/or structure of analysis to provide relevant results. A second issue is that the researcher may not have the correct data sources to answer their research questions. In this case, it is important that the researcher notices this immediately after initial data collection so that they can modify the data collection methodology. Researchers can lower the risk for both of these problems—and assure the trustworthiness of the study—by pre-testing the data collection tool and analysis matrix.
3.2.1 Examples of How Deductive Content Analysis Has Been Applied in Nursing Research
A study of adolescents with diabetes found the meaning of disease to encompass the following concepts: threats to mental well-being; threats to social well-being and threats to physical well-being. If a researcher wants to study whether adolescents with asthma have the same experience, they will have to test a previous concept in a new context. This can be achieved in two ways. In one approach, the researcher could create a questionnaire that focuses on the meaning of disease, collect data, and analyse the collected data using statistical methods. This would provide knowledge on the issues that were included in the questionnaire. In contrast to this quantitative approach, a researcher could also choose to create interview questions based on earlier knowledge (i.e. meaning of disease for adolescents with diabetes), interview a group of adolescents and analyse the data using deductive content analysis. This approach may offer the researcher an opportunity to gain other important knowledge from adolescents with asthma because the interviewees are free to answer with their own words and explain how they are feeling. This is one advantage that deductive content analysis has over quantitative research approaches.
An example of an unstructured analysis matrix
What kind of well-being threats do adolescents with asthma have?
Mental well-being threats
Social well-being threats
Physical well-being threats