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April 24, 2018 / C H Thompson

Content Analysis

  • Content analysis is another popular for of media research (the previous slides were discussing experimental method in laboratory’s)
  • Content Analysisis a quantitative approach to analysing mass media content
  • It involves developing a system of classification to analyse the key features of media sources and then simply counting how many times these features occur in a given text.
  • The simplest form of content analysis is a word or phrase count, which these days can be done on millions of books which have been scanned into Google’s database,
  • more complex forms involve looking at broader categories of content – which types of crime appear in news media for example, or what are the major categories of news (entertainment/ sport/ politics) – or one can analyse pictures to see the representation of men compared to women for example.

Evaluative Points

  • It minimises researcher bias and typically has good reliability because there is less room for the researcher’s interpretations to bias the analysis.
  • It is quicker to do than qualitative forms of content analysis.
  • Weaknesses emerge when you start to use broader categories – which can be interpreted differently by different people.
  • Simply counting the content of a media text tells you nothing about the context in which it takes place, or the broader meaning which the words or pictures convey.
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