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An automated quantitative content analysis process for humanitarian logistics research

Nathan Kunz (Coggin College of Business, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida, USA)

Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management

ISSN: 2042-6747

Article publication date: 8 April 2019

Issue publication date: 5 December 2019

621

Abstract

Purpose

Access to high-quality data is a challenge for humanitarian logistics researchers. However, humanitarian organizations publish large quantities of documents for various stakeholders. Researchers can use these as secondary data, but interpreting big volumes of text is time consuming. The purpose of this paper is to present an automated quantitative content analysis (AQCA) approach that allows researchers to analyze such documents quickly and reliably.

Design/methodology/approach

Content analysis is a method to facilitate a systematic description of documents. This paper builds on an existing content analysis method, to which it adds automated steps for processing large quantities of documents. It also presents different measures for quantifying the content of documents.

Findings

The AQCA approach has been applied successfully in four papers. For example, it can identify the main theme in a document, categorize documents along different dimensions, or compare the use of a theme in different documents. This paper also identifies several limitations of content analysis in the field of humanitarian logistics research and suggests ways to mitigate them.

Research limitations/implications

The AQCA approach does not provide an exhaustive qualitative analysis of documents. Instead, it aims to analyze documents quickly and reliably to extract the contents’ quantifiable aspects.

Originality/value

Although content analysis has been used in humanitarian logistics research before, no paper has yet proposed an automated, step-by-step approach that researchers can use. It also is the first study to discuss specific limitations of content analysis in the context of humanitarian logistics.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This paper presents the automated quantitative content analysis (AQCA) approach that the author has developed and applied in three published papers (Kunz and Reiner, 2012; Gold et al., 2017; Seifert et al., 2018) and in a working paper. Although the author was responsible for developing the AQCA approach and implementing it in these papers, the author has benefited greatly from suggestions and input from co-authors, and the author is grateful for their contributions (Nonhlanhla Dube, Stefan Gold, Gerald Reiner, Lysann Seifert, Taco van der Vaart and Luk Van Wassenhove).

Citation

Kunz, N. (2019), "An automated quantitative content analysis process for humanitarian logistics research", Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management, Vol. 9 No. 3, pp. 475-491. https://doi.org/10.1108/JHLSCM-06-2018-0051

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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