Narrative Analysis, Quantitative


The entry describes a social science methodological approach to narrative texts: Quantitative Narrative Analysis (QNA). The approach, introduced by Roberto Franzosi in the 1980s, is based on an understanding of narrative that arches back to classical rhetoric and to 20th-century developments in narratology. The theoretical underpinnings of the technique, combined with the use of rewrite rules setup in a computer environment (relational database management systems), make QNA a rigorous and powerful tool of data collection and data analysis. Compared to other, traditional social science approaches to texts—namely, content analysis, frame analysis, and protest event analysis—QNA has several advantages, in terms of methodological rigor and data reliability. But, like all manual, computer-assisted approaches to texts, QNA is very labor intensive and therefore expensive. The entry shows how new automatic computational tools of textual analysis developed in the field of Natural Language Processing hold the promise of making obsolete QNA and other textual approaches.

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