Directed qualitative content analysis: the description and elaboration of its underpinning methods and data analysis process

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Qualitative content analysis consists of conventional, directed and summative approaches for data analysis. They are used for provision of descriptive knowledge and understandings of the phenomenon under study. However, the method underpinning directed qualitative content analysis is insufficiently delineated in international literature. This paper aims to describe and integrate the process of data analysis in directed qualitative content analysis. Various international databases were used to retrieve articles related to directed qualitative content analysis. A review of literature led to the integration and elaboration of a stepwise method of data analysis for directed qualitative content analysis. The proposed 16-step method of data analysis in this paper is a detailed description of analytical steps to be taken in directed qualitative content analysis that covers the current gap of knowledge in international literature regarding the practical process of qualitative data analysis. An example of “the resuscitation team members' motivation for cardiopulmonary resuscitation” based on Victor Vroom's expectancy theory is also presented. The directed qualitative content analysis method proposed in this paper is a reliable, transparent, and comprehensive method for qualitative researchers. It can increase the rigour of qualitative data analysis, make the comparison of the findings of different studies possible and yield practical results.

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