Gottschalk Gleser Method of Content Analysis

Also in the 1960s, Gottschalk and his colleagues started developing what became known as the

Gottschalk-Gleser Method of content analysis (Gottschalk, 1995). The Gottschalk-Gleser Method involves participants giving a 5-minute speech on a personal life experience. The verbatim transcripts are then submitted to a content analysis.

Several scales tapping into what Gottschalk calls "psychobiological dimensions" have been developed and validated. Most of the scales are derived from a psychoanalytic framework and are designed to diagnose clinical phenomena (Gottschalk, Stein, & Shapiro, 1997). Schizophrenic tendencies, for example, are meant to be revealed by the Social Alienation and Personal Disorganization Scale. Other scales diagnose depression, hostility, and cognitive impairment. Each scale consists of a number of subcategories that list the themes to be scored along with the respective scoring weights. The Anxiety Scale, for example, comprises death anxiety, castration anxiety, separation anxiety, guilt anxiety, and shame anxiety. Whenever one of these themes is mentioned, a weight is assigned according to the degree of (psychodynamic) association with the self (e.g., self: "I was scared I could die," +3 vs. other people: "He was scared he could die," +2 vs. objects: "The dog was scared it could die," +1).

The Gottschalk-Gleser Method relied originally on human judges. Recently, however, Gottschalk and Bechtel (1989, 1995) have introduced a computerized version. The computerized method is one of the few existing semantic text analysis tools in psychology (Popping, 2000). It uses a semantic grammar consisting of S-V-0 templates to identify the action of the sentence (e.g., "to die") as well as the agent (e.g., "I" vs. "he") and—if applicable—the object. The Gottschalk-Gleser approach is specific in that it concentrates on selected clinical phenomena and focuses on the content of a person's statement.

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