Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Content analysis.USES ,LIMITATIONS

The method is popu­lar with mass media researchers because it is an efficient way to investigate the content of the media, such as the number and types of commercials or advertisements in broadcast­ing or the print media. Content analysis can be traced back to World War II, by comparing the mu­sic played on German stations with that on other stations in occupied Europe,
After the war, researchers used content analysis to study propaganda in newspapers and radio.
An informal content analysis of three journals that focus on mass communication research (Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, Journal­ism and Mass Communication Quarterly, and Mass Communication and Society) from 2007 to 2008 found that content analysis was still a popular method, used in about one-third of all published articles.
There are many definitions of content analysis.
Kerlinger's (2000) definition is fairly typi­cal: Content analysis is a method of studying and analyzing communication in a system­atic, objective, and quantitative manner for the purpose of measuring variables.  Kerlinger's definition involves three con­cepts that require elaboration.

First, content analysis is systematic.
This means that the content to be analyzed is selected accord­ing to explicit and consistently applied rules: Sample selection must follow proper pro­cedures, and each item must have an equal chance of being included in the analysis. Moreover, the evaluation process must be 

systematic: All content under consideration is to be treated in exactly the same manner.
Second, content analysis is objective;
The researcher's personal biases should not enter into the findings. The analysis should yield the same results if another researcher replicates the study.

Third, content analysis is quantitative. The goal of content analysis is an accurate representation of a body of messages. Quan­tification is important in fulfilling that ob­jective and it aids researchers in the quest for precision,  sum­marize results and to report them concisely.  It  gives research­ers additional statistical tools that can aid in interpretation and analysis.
Using content analysis, conducted for one of five purposes.
Describing Communication Content

These studies demonstrate content analysis used in the traditional, descriptive manner: to identify what exists. For example, Cann and Mohr (2001) examined the gender of journalists on Australian TV newscasts.
One of the advantages of content analysis is its poten­tial to identify developments over long time periods. Cho (2007) illustrated how TV newscasts portrayed plastic surgery over the course of three decades.
These descriptive studies also can be used to study societal change. For example, chang­ing public opinion on various controversial issues could be gauged with a longitudinal study (see Chapter 8) of letters to the editor or newspaper editorials.
Testing Hypotheses of Message Characteristics
Content analysis has been used in many studies that test hypotheses of form: "If the source has characteristic A, then messages containing elements x and y will be pro­duced; if the source has characteristic B, then messages with elements w and z will be produced
Comparing Media Content to the "Real World"
In content analyses,  the portrayal of a certain group, phe­nomenon, trait, or characteristic is assessed against a standard taken from real life. The congruence (comparison) of the media presentation and the actual situation is then discussed.
Assessing the Image of Particular Groups in Society
The content analyses have focused on exploring the media im­ages of certain minority or otherwise notable groups and to assess changes in media policy toward these groups, to make inferences about the media's responsiveness to demands for better coverage, or to document social trends.
Establishing a Starting Point for Studies of Media Effects
The use of content analysis is used for cultivation analysis.  Content analysis is also used in studies of agenda setting and cultivation effect.

Content analy­sis cannot serve as the sole basis for claims about media effects.
Another potential limitation of content analysis is a lack of messages relevant to the research. Many topics or characters re­ceive little exposure in the mass media.
Content analysis is frequently time consuming and expensive. The task of examining and categorizing large volumes of content is often laborious and tedious.

In general, a content analysis is conducted in several discrete stages. The following steps may be used as a rough outline:
1.  Formulate the research question or hypothesis.
2.  Define the universe in question.
3.  Select an appropriate sample from the population.
4.  Select and define a unit of analysis.
5.  Construct the categories of content to be analyzed.
6.  Establish a quantification system.
7.  Train coders and conduct a pilot study.
8.  Code the content according to established definitions.
9.  Analyze the collected data.
10.   Draw conclusions and search for indications.

1. Formulating a Research Question
A content analysis should be guided by well-formulated research questions or hypotheses.  A basic review of the litera­ture is a required step. It is possible to generate a research question based on existing theory, prior research, or practical problems, or as a response to changing social conditions.
2. Defining the Universe
To "define the universe" is to specify the boundaries of the body of content to be considered, which re­quires an appropriate operational definition of the relevant population. If researchers are interested in analyzing the content of popular songs, they must define what is meant by a "popular song": They must also ask what time period will be considered: The past 6 months? Two dimensions are usually used to de­termine the appropriate universe for a con­tent analysis—the topic area and the time period.

3.  Selecting a Sample
Once the universe is defined, a sample is se­lected. Most content analysis in mass media in­volves multistage sampling. This process typ­ically consists of two stages. The first stage is usually to take a sampling of content sources.
4.   Selecting a Unit of Analysis
The next step in the content analysis process is to select the unit of analysis, which is the smallest element of a content analysis but also one of the most important. In written content, the unit of analysis might be a single word or symbol, a theme, or an entire article or story. In televi­sion and film analyses, units of analysis can be characters, acts, or entire programs. Specific rules and definitions are required for deter­mining these units to ensure closer agreement among coders and fewer judgment calls. Certain units of analysis are simpler to count than others.

5.     Constructing Content Categories At the heart of any content analysis is the category system used to classify media content. The precise makeup of this system, of course, varies with the topic under study.

There are two ways to go about estab­lishing content categories. Emergent coding establishes categories after a preliminary examination of the data. The other hand, a priori coding establishes the categories before the data are collected, based on some theoretical or conceptual rationale.

To be serviceable, all category systems should be mutually exclusive, exhaustive, and reliable. A category system is mutually exclu­sive if a unit of analysis can be placed in one and only one category.

The categorization system should also be reliable; that is, different coders should agree in the great majority of instances about the proper category for each unit of analy­sis. This agreement is usually quantified in content analysis and is called intercoder reli­ability.
6.   Establishing a Quantification
Quantification in content analysis can involve all four of the levels of data measurement nominal, interval, and ratio data are used.
 At the nominal level, researchers simply count the frequency of occurrence of the units in each category. Thus Signorielli, McLeod, and Healy (1994) analyzed commercials on MTV and found that 6.5% of the male characters were coded as wearing somewhat sexy cloth­ing among the female characters, however, the corresponding percentages were 24% and 29%.
At the interval level, it is possible to de­velop scales for coders to use to rate certain attributes of characters or situations. For example, in a study dealing with the images of women in commercials, each character might be rated by coders on several scales like these:
Independent _:_:_:_:_ Dependent Dominant : : : : Submissive

At the ratio level, measurements in mass media research are generally applied to space and time. In television and radio, ratio-level measurements are made concern­ing time: the number of commercial minutes, the types of programs on the air, the amount of the program day devoted to programs of various types, and so on.

7.   Training Coders and  Doing a Pilot Study
Placing a unit of analysis into a content cate­gory is called coding. Individuals who do the coding are called coders. The number of coders involved in a content analysis is typically small; typically two to six coders are used.  Next, a pilot study is done to check in­tercoder reliability. The pilot study should be conducted with a fresh set of coders who are given some initial training to impart famil­iarity with the instructions and the methods of the study.

8.     Coding the Content according to established definitions
Standardized sheets are usually used to ease coding. These sheets allow coders to classify the data by placing check marks or slashes in predetermined spaces

Code all characters that appear on the screen for at least 90 seconds and/or speak more than 15 words (include cartoon narrator when applicable). Complete one sheet for each character to be coded.
A.  Character number, code two-digit program number first (listed on page 12 of this instruction book), followed by two-digit character number randomly assigned to each character (starting with 01).
B.  Character name: list all formal names, nicknames, or dual identity names (code dual identity behavior as one character's actions). List description of character if name is not identifiable.
C.  Role
1-Major: major characters share the majority of dialogue during the program, play the largest role in the dramatic action, and appear on the screen for the longest period of time during the program.
2-Minor: all codeable characters that are not identified as major characters.
3-Other (individual): one character that does not meet coding requirements but is involved in a behavioral act that is coded.
4-Other (group): two or more characters that are simultaneously involved in a behavioral act but do not meet coding requirements.
D.  Species
1-Human: any character resembling man, even ghost or apparition if it appears in human form
(e.g., the Ghostbusters)
2-Animal: any character resembling bird, fish, beast, or insect; may or may not be capable of
human speech (e.g., muppets, smurfs, Teddy Ruxpin)
3-Monster/Ghost: any supernatural creature (e.g., my pet monster, ghosts)
4-Robot: mechanical creature (e.g., transformers)
5-Animated object: any inanimate object (e.g., car, telephone) that acts like a sentient being

When a computer is used in tabulating data, the data are usually transferred di­rectly to a spreadsheet or data file, or per­haps to mark-sense forms or optical scan sheets (answer sheets scored by computer). These forms save time and reduce data er­rors. There are many software programs available that can aid in the con­tent analysis of text documents. Some of the more common are TextSmart, VBPro, and ProfilerPlus.
9.  Analyzing the Data
The descriptive statistics such as percentages, means, modes, and medians, are appropriate for con­tent analysis.. The chi-square test is the most commonly used because content analysis data tend to be nominal in form; however, if the data meet the requirements of interval or ra­tio levels, then a t-test, ANOVA, or Pearson's r may be appropriate.
10.              Interpreting the Results
If the study is descriptive, however, questions may arise about the meaning or importance of the

The concept of reliability is crucial to con­tent analysis. If a content analysis is to be objective, its measures and procedures must be reliable. A study is reliable when repeated measurement of the same material results in similar decisions or conclusions. 


Mass Media Research: An Introduction, Ninth EditionRoger D. Wimmer and Joseph R. DominickSenior Publisher: Lyn Uhl Publisher: Michael Rosenberg 

Sunday, 28 August 2016


Writing the news story is only half the story.  Getting the story is the other half.
The most important way journalists get stories is by interviewing people they plan to write about. So conducting interviews is one of the key tasks of journalism, a job that that no reporter can avoid. Interviewing is an essential skill for journalists.
Interviews may be conducted over the telephone or in person. There are advantages to both approaches. Over the telephone, the person being interviewed cannot see when you're taking notes, or whether you have a tape recorder running. This can be a significant psychological advantage in getting your interview subject to feel comfortable.
On the other hand, when we interview someone in person, we are better able to perceive nuance by observing body language, facial expression and other hints. In person, interviews also provide us with more to observe and describe surroundings and write a more colorful story.
The successful interview is depending on preparation.
Research:  Do at least some research before every interview so that you understand the basic outlines of the story.  It will inform and improve our story.  Court records, academic textbooks, journalistic databases, the record of colleagues, other journalists and former and present associates of the person are all appropriate places to look.
Sales Pitch.  Many interview subjects are nervous about being interviewed, or even hostile to the idea of helping our story. You should be prepared going into the interview to be prepared to explain to your interview subject why they're important and essential to your story, and to think of arguments that might help persuade them to co-operate.
Make a List.  Prepare a list of questions that need to ask and the order in which we will ask questions. It is a good idea to start with softer, more general questions and move to tougher questions . A list will help us  stay on track  and to keep us away from sensitive questions. Ask basic questions first then controversial questions. Our list should always include a final question: Is there anything you'd like to add or tell me about this story? Questions need to be brief.
Request and Identify Ourself. Always clearly and honestly state who you are, who you work for and what you want to do. This may make a few people refuse to talk, but most will and when they do you will face. Be prepared to negotiate politely with a secretary.
Dress Appropriately. Dress in a way that will set your interview subject at lease. If you're interviewing strikers on a picket line, don't wear a three-piece chalk-stripe suit and a silk repp tie. If you're interviewing a business executive, don't wear steel-toed boots and a T-shirt. Many reporters try to strike a reasonable balance: sports jacket, a neat shirt and slacks - nothing too fancy, nothing to ragged. If you are interviewing religious people in a place of worship, be respectful of their traditions - be prepared to wear religious headgear if requested, take your hat off in a church. If you are a woman, you may want to pack a headscarf for this reason. If you're going to make a career of journalism, buy a pair of rubber boots that fit and throw them in the trunk of your car. The day will come when you thank me for this advice.
Be There or Be Square! Be on time. Always be on time. If you simply cannot avoid being late, phone ahead and explain the problem. . Early is better than late, but don't be so early you're a nuisance.
Basic strategies for conducting interviews.
First, break the ice. Don't start off an interview by being confrontational. Try to seat yourself in a comfortable, non-confrontational position. Introduce yourself and re-state your purpose. Look for ways to establish rapport. But don't waste too much time on this phase. You'll want to cut to the chase fairly quickly.
Use a conversational style. You're not a police officer and this isn't an interrogation. Barking harsh questions will likely get you nowhere fast. Use diplomacy and tact to present your questions in a conversational style. This will almost always work better.
Don't let your subject see your list. A long list of questions can put them off, or arouse their curiosity. Try not to let them see. Put questions in the back of your steno pad and flip back to refer to them. If you're one of the fortunate few, memorize them.
Start with an easy question. Save the hard stuff for later if you can. The basics - Who? What? When? Where? Why? How? - are always a good place to start. But be ready to ask tough questions early if time is limited. You can usually tell by context. If your subject has booked an hour and served you tea, you will probably have an opportunity to ask the tough stuff later. If she's already edging you toward the door, you might have to go for the jugular now.
Use open-ended and closed questions. Closed questions require a specific answer. Open-ended questions provide the interview subject with an opportunity to elaborate and provide explanation.
Ask follow-up questions. When the person you're interviewing answers one question, you may want to conversationally follow her lead and move to a follow-up question. Often it makes sense to move from the general to the specific.
Try to stay in control. Some interview subjects will try to "run out the clock" to avoid the tough questions. It's your job as the interviewer to keep track of time and get back to the core questions if they move too far away. Don't be rude, but try to keep the interview on track.
Ask background questions. It's important to understand the background and context of situations. So be prepared to ask questions about the background and history of a story.  
Repeat important questions. Your subject won't answer a question. Politely ask it again. Maybe use different words the second or third time. It's surprising how often this technique works with otherwise intelligent people
Request definitions. Don't pretend to understand jargon if you don't. There are no dumb questions. Your readers need to know and so do you. So always ask for explanations of terms you are not familiar with, or technical aspects of the story.
Get help with a chronology. If you're writing a story about a crime, an accident, a game or a battle, it's often helpful to ask your subject to help you construct a chronology of events. You don't have to write your story in chronological order, but you do need to understand the order in which events took place in order to write about it.
Check and re-check. Always get the person you are interviewing to spell names and technical terms. Get them to confirm their title. Confirm that all information you have taken down is correct. If they say something about someone else, be prepared to check it with that person.
Save the worst for the end. If there's time, save the tough questions for the last third of the interview. That way, you've got something if your subject decides to walk away in a huff. But there may be times in an interview when you have to ask tough questions. Now is the time to get to it.
Get the names of others. Not all interviews, of course, must end with hard questions. Sometimes toward the end of an interview it's a good idea to ask for the names of others who could be interviewed about the same story. Interview subjects will often be happy to help.
Give the subject an opportunity to raise concerns. Always end with a question like this: Is there anything you'd like to add or tell me about this story? This is only fair. But it also protects you against accusations that you steered clear of a difficult topic, or failed to provide your subject with an opportunity to explain themselves. It's a good question and it helps cover your butt! Who could ask for more?
On taking notes in interviews
When you interview someone, you have to be able to transfer the information you hear to your story. You have three options: memory, notes or recording. Each have their
- Interviewing is one of the key tasks of reporting.
- If reporters can't get the story without conducting interviews, they need to develop strategies for conducting effective interviews.
- Preparation is the key to a successful interview.
- Do some research.
- Prepare a sales pitch to get a reluctant source to talk to you.
- Make a list of questions.
- Request an interview and identify yourself.
- Dress appropriately.
- Always be on time.
- When you're conducting the interview, start with gentle icebreaker conversation.

- Use a conversational style.
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