Demystifying content analysis

A. J. Kleinheksel*, Nicole Rockich-Winston, Huda Tawfik, Tasha R. Wyatt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

287 Scopus citations


Objective. In the course of daily teaching responsibilities, pharmacy educators collect rich data that can provide valuable insight into student learning. This article describes the qualitative data analysis method of content analysis, which can be useful to pharmacy educators because of its application in the investigation of a wide variety of data sources, including textual, visual, and audio files. Findings. Both manifest and latent content analysis approaches are described, with several examples used to illustrate the processes. This article also offers insights into the variety of relevant terms and visualizations found in the content analysis literature. Finally, common threats to the reliability and validity of content analysis are discussed, along with suitable strategies to mitigate these risks during analysis. Summary. This review of content analysis as a qualitative data analysis method will provide clarity and actionable instruction for both novice and experienced pharmacy education researchers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7113
Pages (from-to)127-137
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Pharmaceutical Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Content analysis
  • Educational research
  • Latent
  • Manifest
  • Qualitative data analysis


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