Qual Quant (2011) 45:859–873
Mixing quantitative and qualitative content analysis:
triangulation at work
Published online: 4 December 2010
© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010
Abstract The paper discusses an original path model for triangulating the results of three
types of content analysis: (i) the analysis of the co-occurrence of words; (ii) the substitution
model of quantitative content analysis and (iii) qualitative coding. The model refers to the
“within method” as well as the “between methods” of triangulation. It shows how this model
helps assess the reliability and validity of content analysis. In the former case, the text is
used as a unit of analysis; in the latter—the variable (theme, category or qualitative code).
The model is tested on two sets of transcripts of semi-structured (N = 64) and unstructured
(N = 43) interviews carried out independently by two research teams. Outcomes of the test
show consistent patterns in both cases. Some directions for further explorations are discussed,
including latent qualitative analysis.
Keywords Triangulation · Qualitative content analysis · Quantitative content analysis ·
Path model · Reliability · Validity · Semiotics
Introduction: the text as a key source of information in the humanities
and social sciences
Although the subject-matter of the natural sciences—the objective reality—can be studied
directly, the humanities and social sciences deal with the reality as we perceive it. For instance,
This article is a signiﬁcantly abridged and adapted version of Methodological appendix of “Market as a
Weapon: The Socio-Economic Machinery of Dominance in Russia”, copyright Transaction Publishers 2010.
Reprinted by permission.
A. Oleinik (
Department of sociology, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, NL A1C 5S7, Canada
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Institute of Economics of Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia