Use of open-ended essays and computer content analysis to survey college students' knowledge of aids

David P. Fan, Carol L. Shaffer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study used computer content analysis of written essays to explore university students' knowledge and attitudes about AIDS. Because the essays were long, averaging 650 words each, and were on the very general topics of what individuals and society should do about AIDS, it was possible to study a wide variety of subjects. Computer scoring of the essays showed that education and individual changes in sexual behavior were the two methods of prevention mentioned most often. The majority of students accurately identified the most important methods of transmitting the disease. Only one fourth of the respondents discussed casual contact; a majority of those knew that the disease could not be transmitted in this manner. A minority of the students advocated isolating people infected with HIV or marking these individuals in ways that are accessible to others in society. The new computer methods used to analyze the essays offer flexible and efficient procedures for analyzing text on a variety of topics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-229
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American College Health Association
Volume38
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 1990

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
AIDS opinion, knowledge, attitudes,computer content analysis NOTEThis research was funded in part by US Public Health Serv- ice Research Grant MH-39610.

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