SOC221H5 Lecture Notes - Lecture 9: Content Analysis

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25 Mar 2013
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Lecture 9- March 25, 2013
Types of nonreactive quantitative methods
Mostly positivist (similar to natural sciences) and deductive
No interaction between respondent and researcher
1. Unobtrusive observation
2. Content analysis
3. Existing statistics
4. Secondary analysis
Unobtrusive Observation
Example: collecting data on alcohol consumption (i.e. going through garbage to count
bottles)
Not very common
Content analysis
Gathering and analyzing content of a text
Objective and systematic procedures
Nonreactive (without influence from the researcher) and also positivist
Random sampling and precise measurements
Operational definitions for abstract constructs
Positive features:
o Can be helpful for problems involving large volumes of texts
o Helpful when topic needs to be studied at distance
o Can reveal messages in text that are difficult to see with casual observation (i.e.
gender roles portrayed in children’s books)
Primary difference between qualitative content analysis and quantitative content analysis:
meaning
Involves more of a count to make it quantitative
o Example: textbook analysis (Caucasian pictured in textbooks compared to number
of minorities)
o Textbook page 309 (table of differences)
Existing Statistics
Efficient (saves time and money) because research has already been done (i.e.
government data)
Very common in quantitative methodological approach in sociology
Deductive/inductive
Existing data examples: Statistics Canada website
o Provides detailed information on survey
o Provides measurement tools
Researcher must be mindful of:
o Appropriate research question- existing statistics will not help answer qualitative
questions (i.e. how and why)
o Aggregate data- compilation of all surveys put together and there is no access to
individual results of different surveys
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Document Summary

Mostly positivist (similar to natural sciences) and deductive. No interaction between respondent and researcher: unobtrusive observation, content analysis, existing statistics, secondary analysis. Example: collecting data on alcohol consumption (i. e. going through garbage to count bottles) Gathering and analyzing content of a text. Nonreactive (without influence from the researcher) and also positivist. Primary difference between qualitative content analysis and quantitative content analysis: meaning. Involves more of a count to make it quantitative: example: textbook analysis (caucasian pictured in textbooks compared to number of minorities, textbook page 309 (table of differences) Efficient (saves time and money) because research has already been done (i. e. government data) Very common in quantitative methodological approach in sociology. Existing data examples: statistics canada website: provides detailed information on survey, provides measurement tools. Appropriate for questions that have to do with large scale trends in society: how data has been influenced by context and technology- i. e. crime statistics- existing data sets will change if definition of law changes.

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