|This page describes a feature in AmCAT 3.3|
|View other version: 3.3 - 3.4 - 3.5|
You can do automatic content analysis using the AmCAT Query Search function. After selecting an article set you get the overview of all the articles. In the upper left corner you find a blue 'Query' button. Click on this button and you get the AmCAT Query search screen (see Figure 6.1). As an example, we use an article set called '17609 - Wikinews articles for terror*', an article set with all Wikinews articles including the word 'terror' from November 2004 until January 2015 (including 1406 articles). Note that in Figure A '17609 - Wikinews articles for terror*' is selected for use of the Query search function. This 'Article sets' filter option makes it possible for you to select only one artice set for the analysis (as is the case in this example) or select multiple article sets from this particular project. When you don't select any article set, AmCAT automatically uses all the article sets of the selected project.
AmCAT automatically selects all the articles in the selected article set(s) for your analyis. However, you can also select specific media and time periods of the articles you want to include in your analysis. You can define this subset of articles by selecting specific media ('Medium' button) or dates ('Date' button) among the 'Filter options' (see Figure 6.2). The standard configuration for 'Medium' is All media. Click on the drop down menu to select one or multiple media in your article set(s) to restrict your search order. Use the Ctrl button on your computer to select multiple media. The standard configuration for 'Date' is All dates. Select the time period of your preference by clicking on the drop down menu and selecting On, After, Between or Before and enter the chosen dates. If you prefer, you can save this selection of specific articles as a new article set (see Query search function Summary below).
You start your automatic content analysis by creating search strings (i.e. a combination of search terms) and entering them in the 'Keyword Search string(s)' field. You enter all the search terms covering what you perceive as being one topic on one row in this field. You can also enter multiple search strings in this field at the same time (if you want to compare different topics, for example) by starting each search string at a new row (use the Enter button on your computer). The length of your search strings is unlimited. Please note that the quality of your automatic content analysis depends on the quality of your search strings, which in turn depends on the reliability of your search strings. Hence, it is very important to test the reliability of your search strings.
The AmCAT Query search has various functions you can use to analyse your data. Among the 'Output options' (see Figure 6.3) you find summary, article list and graph/table output options, each representing a main function of automatic content analysis in AmCAT.
You can test various hypotheses using content analysis. However, it is important that you formulate these hypotheses clearly and concretely prior to performing the content analysis. Using content analysis, you can extrapolate your findings (i.e. generalization them to a broader context, which you have not actually measured). Examples of such extrapolations are trends, patterns and differences. From these trends, patterns and differences you observe in the collection of documents that you analyzed (your sample), you can draw conclusions about similar documents that you have not actually analyzed (the population) and thus test your hypotheses.