Media Content Analysis

You are to conduct a media content analysis on your literature review topic. 1. You are looking at how the media portrays your topic. Most content analysis is textual document analysis, which analyzes any type of printed materials, (e.g., newspapers, magazines, letters, books, testimony, governmental publications, statutes, manifestos, diaries, blogs, etc.) but other sources (e.g., films, radio broadcasts, television programming, news stations, etc.) are also appropriate. 2. For this assignment you are to conduct a formal “content analysis” of one week’s news reports by two different news outlets and compare them. This can be two National television news organizations, two National internet news organizations, or two National newspaper organizations, etc. It just MUST be two organizations in the same medium. The week you choose can be in the past or present. I would like it to be no earlier than August 1st, 2020, though so it’s current. When comparing the two media sources look at to what extent their news reporting is similar? To what extent is it different? What issues or subjects are being covered on your topic; are the issues covered in the “lead” stories; what is the amount of attention or “space” devoted to your topic; and can you determine the particular news “sources” that journalists rely upon for information, statements, and interpretations used in their reporting on your topic (Law Enforcement, Witnesses, Hospital Staff, Professionals in the field of study, etc.). FOR YOUR (5-6 PAGE) PAPER WRITE-UP YOU WILL NEED TO DO THE FOLLOWING: INTRODUCTION (1/2 PAGE) describes what your topic is and what you are specifically looking for. [WORTH 5 POINTS] DESCRIPTION OF DATA SOURCES (1/2 PAGE) what are your two media data source(s), why did you choose them, and the dates of those sources. [WORTH 5 POINTS] METHOD OF ANALYSIS (2 PAGES) how did you coded your content analysis data. Make sure you study how this is properly done in the materials I have provided. [WORTH 10 POINTS] FINDINGS (2-3 PAGES) what themes did you see, were the media sources factual or bias. Did your two sources cover the topic in the same manner, same amount of coverage, etc. [WORTH 40 POINTS] CONCLUSION (1/2 PAGE) write a strong summation of your findings. [WORTH 10 POINTS] COPIES OF CODING SHEETS/WORK YOU DID you will need to (submit copies of your “coding sheets”/so be sure to do this in word or some sort of document you can save and send to me in a PDF file once completed). [WORTH 10 POINTS] CITATIONS [WORTH 10 POINTS] • APA format • Not too many direct quotes • Correctly paraphrased citations • Reference page citations • NOTE: If you plagiarize you will receive a zero for the paper and an “F” for the class FORMATTING/MECHANICS OF PAPER [WORTH 10 POINTS] • APA formatting for (title, headings, subheadings in text citations and references page • Length of entire paper fits within required (6 to 7 page) limit • Typed, 12 point font, double spaced • Grammar • Sentence structure • Paragraphs (not too long or short) • Spelling 3. This assignment write-up should between (5-6 PAGES), not counting your coding sheets. 4. Basically, choose two media sources, do a google search using key terms on your topic for those two media sources over a one week time period. If nothing is on your topic during that time period then you will need to come-up with different key words to search ideas and if you still do not find anything you will need to switch to a different time- period/week. Some of your topics are in the news everyday practically, others might not be that often, but everyone’s chosen topic in this class will easily find reporting on your topic. 5. Once you find your relevant articles you will conduct a content analysis. Media and content analysis search ideas and some basics: 1. Sometimes, the research question is focused on understanding the scope of coverage of a particular news outlet. In these cases, we generally code every story – or at least a large, representative sample of stories – contained within that outlet during a given time period. Other times, the research question is focused on the way a particular news topic, event or issue is covered. In those cases, we generally use various search techniques to collect the relevant materials. 2. For example, if we want to study how newspapers have covered a certain topic, our researchers would use a broad set of keyword searches to collect potential stories from a given database such as LexisNexis. For websites, the same terms used for newspapers would be searched using Google News or the sites’ own archival functions. And for cable and network television programs, we often search closed-captioning text. 3. In the case of a study looking for coverage of same-sex marriage, the Boolean search used in the various databases might look like: 4. (marriage AND same-sex) OR (marriage AND “same sex”) OR (marriage AND traditional) OR (marriage AND gay) OR (marriage AND equality) OR (marriage AND homosexual) OR (marriage AND defense) OR DOMA OR (gay AND rights) OR “proposition 8′′ OR “prop 8′′ 5. Prior to any actual coding, researchers create a detailed codebook for each project, which lists the variables to be used and the specific rules that apply to the content in question. 6. For an example of the specificity of these rules, consider studies that measure the tone of news coverage toward a particular person or topic. This involves assessing the way in which a story’s content is constructed via use of quotes, assertions or innuendo, which results in supportive, neutral or negative coverage. To measure tone, coders tally up all assertions that are clearly in support or opposition. Direct and indirect quotes are counted along with assertions made by journalists themselves. 7. Because we are interested primarily in measuring stories that are clearly emphasizing one point of view over the other, we set a high bar: In this case, for a story to be coded as either “supportive” or “opposing,” it must have twice as many of one kind of comment as the other. Overview Content analysis is a research tool used to determine the presence of certain words, themes, or concepts within some given qualitative data (i.e. text). Using content analysis, researchers can quantify and analyze the presence, meanings and relationships of such certain words, themes, or concepts. Researchers can then make inferences about the messages within the texts, the writer(s), the audience, and even the culture and time of surrounding the text. Description Sources of data could be from interviews, open-ended questions, field research notes, conversations, or literally any occurrence of communicative language (for example, books, essays, discussions, newspaper headlines, speeches, media, historical documents). A single study may analyze various forms of text in its analysis. To analyze the text using content analysis, the text must be coded, or broken down, into manageable code categories for analysis (i.e. “codes”). Once the text is coded into code categories, the codes can then be further categorized into “code categories” to summarize data even further. Uses of Content Analysis • Identify the intentions, focus or communication trends of an individual, group or institution • Describe attitudinal and behavioral responses to communications • Determine psychological or emotional state of persons or groups • Reveal international differences in communication content • Reveal patterns in communication content • Pre-test and improve an intervention or survey prior to launch • Analyze focus group interviews and open-ended questions to complement quantitative data Types of Content Analysis There are two general types of content analysis: conceptual analysis and relational analysis. Conceptual analysis determines the existence and frequency of concepts in a text. Relational analysis develops the conceptual analysis further by examining the relationships among concepts in a text. Each type of analysis may lead to different results, conclusions, interpretations and meanings. NOTE: For this assignment you will be doing a conceptual analysis! Conceptual Analysis In conceptual analysis, a concept is chosen for examination and the analysis involves quantifying and counting its presence. The main goal is to examine the occurrence of selected terms in the data. Terms may be explicit or implicit. Explicit terms are easy to identify. Coding of implicit terms is more complicated: you need to decide the level of implication and base judgments on subjectivity (issue for reliability and validity). Therefore, coding of implicit terms involves using a dictionary or contextual translation rules or both. To begin a conceptual content analysis, first identify the research question and choose a sample or samples for analysis. Next, the text must be coded into manageable content categories. This is basically a process of selective reduction. By reducing the text to categories, the researcher can focus on and code for specific words or patterns that inform the research question. General steps for conducting a conceptual content analysis: 1. Decide the level of analysis: word, word sense, phrase, sentence, themes 2. Decide how many concepts to code. NOTE: for this assignment you will stick with a pre- defined set of categories. 3. You are to code for existence or frequency of a concept. • When coding for the existence of a concept, the researcher would count a concept only once if it appeared at least once in the data and no matter how many times it appeared. • When coding for the frequency of a concept, the researcher would count the number of times a concept appears in a text. 4. Decide on how you will distinguish among concepts: • Should text be coded exactly as they appear or coded as the same when they appear in different forms? For example, “dangerous” vs. “dangerousness”. The point here is to create coding rules so that these word segments are transparently categorized in a logical fashion. The rules could make all of these word segments fall into the same category, or perhaps the rules can be formulated so that the researcher can distinguish these word segments into separate codes. • What level of implication is to be allowed? Words that imply the concept or words that explicitly state the concept? For example, “dangerous” vs. “the person is scary” vs. “that person could cause harm to me”. These word segments may not merit separate categories, due the implicit meaning of “dangerous”. 5. Develop rules for coding your texts. After decisions of steps 1-4 are complete, a researcher can begin developing rules for translation of text into codes. This will keep the coding process organized and consistent. The researcher can code for exactly what he/she wants to code. Validity of the coding process is ensured when the researcher is consistent and coherent in their codes, meaning that they follow their translation rules. In content analysis, obeying by the translation rules is equivalent to validity. Code the text: This can be done by hand or by using software. By using software, researchers can input categories and have coding done automatically, quickly and efficiently, by the software program. When coding is done by hand, a researcher can recognize error far more easily (e.g. typos, misspelling). If using computer coding, text could be cleaned of errors to include all available data. This decision of hand vs. computer coding is most relevant for implicit information where category preparation is essential for accurate coding. NOTE: for this assignment I would like this work of (coding) to be done by hand. 6. Analyze your results: Draw conclusions and generalizations where possible. Determine what to do with irrelevant, unwanted or unused text: reexamine, ignore, or reassess the coding scheme. Interpret results carefully as conceptual content analysis can only quantify the information. Typically, general trends and patterns can be identified. Reliability and Validity Reliability: Because of the human nature of researchers, coding errors can never be eliminated but only minimized. Generally, 80% is an acceptable margin for reliability. Three criteria comprise the reliability of a content analysis: 1. Stability: the tendency for coders to consistently re-code the same data in the same way over a period of time. 2. Reproducibility: tendency for a group of coders to classify categories membership in the same way. 3. Accuracy: extent to which the classification of text corresponds to a standard or norm statistically. Validity: Three criteria comprise the validity of a content analysis: 1. Closeness of categories: this can be achieved by utilizing multiple classifiers to arrive at an agreed upon definition of each specific category. Using multiple classifiers, a concept category that may be an explicit variable can be broadened to include synonyms or implicit variables. 2. Conclusions: What level of implication is allowable? Do conclusions correctly follow the data? Are results explainable by other phenomena? This becomes especially problematic when using computer software for analysis and distinguishing between synonyms. For example, the word “mine,” variously denotes a personal pronoun, an explosive device, and a deep hole in the ground from which ore is extracted. Software can obtain an accurate count of that word’s occurrence and frequency, but not be able to produce an accurate accounting of the meaning inherent in each particular usage. This problem could throw off one’s results and make any conclusion invalid. 3. Generalizability of the results to a theory: dependent on the clear definitions of concept categories, how they are determined and how reliable they are at measuring the idea one is seeking to measure. Generalizability parallels reliability as much of it depends on the three criteria for reliability. Advantages of Content Analysis • Directly examines communication using text • Allows for both qualitative and quantitative analysis • Provides valuable historical and cultural insights over time • Allows a closeness to data • Coded form of the text can be statistically analyzed • Unobtrusive means of analyzing interactions • Provides insight into complex models of human thought and language use • When done well, is considered a relatively “exact” research method • Content analysis is a readily-understood and an inexpensive research method • A more powerful tool when combined with other research methods such as interviews, observation, and use of archival records. It is very useful for analyzing historical material, especially for documenting trends over time. Disadvantages of Content Analysis • Can be extremely time consuming • Is subject to increased error, particularly when relational analysis is used to attain a higher level of interpretation • Is often devoid of theoretical base, or attempts too liberally to draw meaningful inferences about the relationships and impacts implied in a study • Is inherently reductive, particularly when dealing with complex texts • Tends too often to simply consist of word counts • Often disregards the context that produced the text, as well as the state of things after the text is produced • Can be difficult to automate or computerize

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