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unit of analysis

Definitions of Unit of Analysis

  1. (noun) The basic element of research.
  2. (noun) Who or what is being studied during research.

Example of Unit of Analysis

Unit of Analysis Pronunciation

Pronunciation Usage Guide

Syllabification: u·nit of a·nal·y·sis

Audio Pronunciation

– American English
– British English

Phonetic Spelling

  • American English – /yOO-nuht uhv uh-nAl-uh-sis/
  • British English – /yOO-nit UHv uh-nAl-i-sis/

International Phonetic Alphabet

  • American English – /ˈjunət ʌv əˈnæləsəs/
  • British English – /ˈjuːnɪt ɒv əˈnæləsɪs/

Usage Notes

Related Quotation

  • “Categorizing possible units of analysis may make the concept seem more complicated than it needs to be. What you call a given unit of analysis—is irrelevant. The key is to be clear about what your unit of analysis is. When you embark on a research project, you must decide whether you’re studying marriages or marriage partners, crimes or criminals, corporations or corporate executives. Otherwise you run the risk of drawing invalid conclusions because your assertions about one unit of analysis are actually based on the examination of another” (Babbie 2011:107).

Additional Information

Related Terms


Babbie, Earl R. 2011. The Basics of Social Research. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Cite the Definition of Unit of Analysis

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2014. “unit of analysis.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved May 28, 2024 (https://sociologydictionary.org/unit-of-analysis/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

unit of analysis. (2014). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/unit-of-analysis/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2014. “unit of analysis.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed May 28, 2024. https://sociologydictionary.org/unit-of-analysis/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“unit of analysis.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2014. Web. 28 May. 2024. <https://sociologydictionary.org/unit-of-analysis/>.