AmCAT Version
This page describes a feature in AmCAT 3.4
View other version: 3.3 - 3.4 - 3.5

You can search for certain concepts within one or more articlesets in a project using the AmCAT Query search function. To start a query, first click on the ‘Query’ tab on the top of the screen.


In this screen, you select the articleset(s) you want to search from the list under ‘Active articlesets’. You can also search within coding jobs, that is, you search the articlesets attached to these jobs. Tick multiple boxes or hold CTRL or Shift and click multiple rows in the table to select more than one articleset. These can be found and selected under ‘Active codingjobs’.

Click the ‘use in query’ button after making your selection, which will bring you to the Query screen.


Here, you can see that the previously selected articleset (‘nyt_guardian’) is used for querying (see the ‘Sets’ box on the left). Click on the blue ‘change articlesets?’ to change the articleset(s) you use.

Querying articlesets[edit]

Let's have a closer look at the query screen, which has some more options for narrowing down the population of articles you use in your query. By default, AmCAT uses all articles in the selected article set(s) for your analysis. However, you can also filter for specific media outlets or a specific time period.

  • You can narrow down the time period using the dropdown menu under ‘Interval’, where you have the option to search only on, after, before or between specific (a) date(s).
  • Under ‘media’ you can pick the media outlet(s) you want to include, and leave out all others.
  • Lastly, in the IDs window you can paste a list of article IDs that you want to restrict your search to.


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, which is useful if you want to compare between different concepts. Make sure to put each search string on a new line in the Keyword search field. The length of your search strings is (theoretically) unlimited. 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.

You can save your query (your search term(s), together with the articleset(s), time interval and media selected) within AmCAT for later use. Click 'Save query' to do so. 'Save as copy' allows you to save changes to an existing query under a different name, similar to 'Save as' in Word. You can find your saved queries in the rightmost table on the query select screen (the first screen you see when you click the 'Query' tab) or under the 'recent queries' heading to the left of the 'Save query' button in the query screen.

The AmCAT Query search has various functions you can use to analyse your data. Among the 'Output options' you find Summary, Graph/table, Articlelist, and Network output options, each representing a main function of automatic content analysis in AmCAT. Actions allows you to create new articlesets or coding jobs based on your search.

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.

AmCAT Version
This page describes a feature in AmCAT
View other version: 3.3 - 3.4 - 3.5