Qualitative research strategy: semiotics and ethnographic content analysis of
images, conversations, and text
o Group of individuals’ production (ie. Newspaper is an institutional
Quantitative research strategy: approach to analysis of documents and texts,
quantifies content in terms of predetermined categories, systematic and reliable
History of content analysis
Late 1600’s and the church
1910: Max Weber
1922: Walter Lippman
WWII: propaganda analysis
o Looked at how to engage their own citizens, research looking at the
posters and the effectiveness of each, then the radio
1952: Bernard Berelson
o Father of content analysis, laid out how to conduct it
1968: George Gerbner
o Turbulent time, Vietnam war, Violent shows, had a strong influence on
Use of Content analysis
o Letter that Hitler wrote, artifacts and records from old societies that we
can study to help us understand how they previously interpreted the world
o Personal documents that individuals have written, come up with measures
for their expressions and come up with a profile for them
Use of CA in communications
Describing communication content of a text
o How is sex being portrayed in soap operas?
o Is there a difference in the content between X and Y
Comparing media content to the real world
o Are relationships portrayed realistically in the media?
Assessing images of groups in society
Examine media content as a starting point for examining media effects
Research Questions What are the goals of the research
o Must be clearly specific before analysis
The questions determine…
o Which dimensions of texts to quantify?
News coverage of an issue: who, what, how much, where, and
Different newspapers: the trends?
National vs. Local
o How many different views are represented?
o What is selected for inclusion?
o Omissions: what is not reported?
Define the total range of content – the universe
o Which types of text?
Printed or visual data? Documents? Mass Media?