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Content analysis

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Sociology 2206A/B
Georgios Fthenos

Content analysis & Unobtrusive Methods Lecture #6 March 4, 2014 Content analysis: The examination and coding of documents and texts: printed, visual, aural, or virtual • Almost like a constructionist perspective • Who, what, where, when and why • Who took the picture? – E.g.: analyzing a TV show: ethnic minorities, gender differences • What gets written/ reported? – Details • Where is it written/recorded? Is the story at the front of the newspaper? The back? • Why is the issue written? • When? – which day, some days have more viewers than others • Most importantly, what is left out? • Can be qualitative or quantitative • Issues over long period of time; such as crime over the last 20 years, beneficial because don’t need ethics, less money, but takes a lot of time What things can be counted/ analyzed? • Words, including the pairing of certain words; “had a great time” = Happy • E.g. Feminist/spirituality, race/politics, rave/drugs – which words go together and a rational for why • Concerned with subjects/ themes; - Manifest content: intended content/ direct - Latent content: unintended/ indirect – digging in deep - E.g., the subject of ‘women in politics’and whether gender stereotypes are involved or implied • Value positions: does the particular photograph/ article instill a positive or negative view? • Content analysis used a lot in analyzing magazines, dating sites- how people are portrayed Coding • Two key concerns: • Designing a coding schedule- the form where the data are recorded • Designing a coding Manuel- the set of instructions to coders - Lists what is to be coded, the categories subsumed under which dimensions, the numbers (codes) that correspond to each category, and general guidance for coders - Developed over time • Issues in dividing coding schemes: - The categories MUST be mutually exclusive- don’t want them to overlap, prevent confusion - The categories MUST be exhaustive- every possible dimension should have a category - Instructions MUST be clear- to ensure reliability, inter- coder reliability (researcher- researcher), intra- coder reliability - The unit of analysis MUST be clear- How are variables going to be measured? - money measured in intervals or exact dollars? - Pilot test will reduce risks of error Qualitative content analysis • AKA: Ethnographic content analysis (Altheide, 1996) • Differs from quantitative content analysis (more rigid, numbers assigned, simply code) in that the researcher is constantly revising the themes or categories as the data are examined- more of a process • Emphasizes the context in which the documents were generated • More historical, reflexive • Looks at small little details • E.g., Crime in newspaper- from this standpoint, look at organization behind the newspaper, in addition to analyzing the article- politics may change view of article,
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