Extended Qualitative Content Analysis: Researching the United Nations and Other International Institutions
Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law & International Law (MPIL) Research Paper No. 2020-02
Qualitative Research Journal (2022), available at: https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/QRJ-11-2021-0127/full/html
Posted: 30 Jan 2020 Last revised: 28 Mar 2022
Date Written: January 28, 2020
A revised version of this paper has been published in: Qualitative Research Journal, online first: https://doi.org/10.1108/QRJ-11-2021-0127
Purpose This paper aims to introduce the extended qualitative content analysis (EQCA) method to integrate data-reducing and data-complicating research steps when conducting qualitative research on the United Nations and other international institutions.
Design/methodology/approach EQCA supplements the method of qualitative content analysis, which enables researchers to deal with large amounts of data, with two elements from grounded theory, which allow detailed analysis and interpretation of codes and sub-codes. The elements in question are axial coding and theoretical sampling.
Findings EQCA provides a method to generate middle-range theories by combining theoretical and empirical analysis to address and theorize the complex interactions between actors, structures and norms in international institutions. The value added by the proposed method is demonstrated with a case study of a United Nations intergovernmental working group in the issue area of business and human rights.
Originality/value Based on the concepts of interpretation and social causality, this paper contributes to the body of qualitative research that transcends the dichotomy between positivist and post-positivist approaches in the disciplines of international relations and international political theory.
Keywords: Qualitative content analysis, Grounded theory, United Nations, International institutions, Agent– structure relationship, Coding, Causality, Interpretation, International relations, International political theory, Business and human rights
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