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Application Activity: Content Analysis. The purpose of this PowerPoint presentation is to offer a more detailed assignment description than I offer in class. Some Ground Rules. Don’t just print these slides out indiscriminately—print to DISC if you must print them.

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application activity content analysis

Application Activity:Content Analysis

The purpose of this PowerPoint presentation is to offer a more detailed assignment description than I offer in class.

some ground rules
Some Ground Rules
  • Don’t just print these slides out indiscriminately—print to DISC if you must print them.
  • Go through this as a teaching module—stop, when prompted, to discuss or write with your group when possible.
  • Don’t assume that following these tips guarantees an “A.”
why are we doing this
Why are we doing this?!?
  • Research methods are tools and order to begin to appreciate them you have to do something with them. In this case you are trying out the tool of content analysis on some bumper stickers so that you get a sense of two things:
    • When to use it
    • How to do it
how can we do this assignment well
How can we do this assignment well?
  • Do serious “pretending.” (get into it)
  • Discuss the method before you do the activity (the book should inform your choices).
  • Discuss the assignment description before you do the activity.
  • Focus on content analysis and avoid getting sidetracked by variables and research questions best suited for surveys or interviews.
what do we need to do really
What do we need to do . . . really
  • Demonstrate that you understand the basics of the method in your write up.
    • Correct use of course vocabulary
    • Discuss sampling procedure for how you got your 10 stickers
    • Introduce 1-2 well-crafted research questions appropriate for a hypothetical content analysis you could carry out if you had more time and resources
    • Pick ONE of those RQs and plan a content analysis study to answer it.
    • Clearly define new content variable(s) implied by your new RQ. Create good coding sheet items for those variables and a sampling strategy appropriate to your new RQ
    • Conclude with some insights about what your group learned about the research process (hint: cite our textbook here)
  • Demonstrate mastery of APA style and formal writing.
course vocabulary
Course Vocabulary
  • When describing your sampling procedure don’t just say “random” without understanding what that implies. You won’t do a random sample (trust me!), so find the course vocabulary that actually describes what you did.
course vocabulary1
Course Vocabulary
  • When you describe your variables of interest tie them back to the concerns of content analysis
    • Theme
    • Space
    • Trend, etc.
  • Show me you are “connecting the dots” of our textbook with your experience in this exercise
sampling procedure
Sampling Procedure
  • Let’s say you spend part of the day at Wal-Mart and part of the day at the Chick-fil-a drive through collecting bumper stickers. Is this a random sample? Talk it over, I’ll wait.
is it random
Is it random?

No . . . Nope!

No sireee Bob

sampling procedure1
Sampling Procedure
  • How did you get the stickers you actually looked at?
  • How would you get the stickers you are interested in if you pursued your research question?
  • Hint: Take a look at sample procedures such as cluster, convenience, purposive or known group
1 2 well crafted research questions
1-2 Well-crafted Research Questions
  • This unit is on content analysis so make sure that the questions are appropriate for this method. One should be descriptive and one should be comparative.
  • Hint: Make sure they focus on message variables, not the audience or driver.
what does a good rq for content analysis look like
What Does a Good RQ for Content Analysis Look Like?
  • Look at the research questions below and decide if they would work well for content analysis.
    • How has the representation of racial groups changed on daytime soap operas in the past ten years?
    • How does exposure to violence in video games influence sibling interaction?
good rq
Good RQ?
  • How does exposure to violence in video games influence sibling interaction?
    • This is an acceptable research question but not for content analysis. Notice that we are primarily interested in the sibling interaction. We are not coding the video game but have likely only determined that certain games will be considered “violent” and others “non-violent.”
good rq1
Good RQ?
  • How has the representation of racial groups changed on daytime soap operas in the past ten years?
    • This is an acceptable question since it focuses on describing TV content. We can numerically code things such as racial membership, occupation, time on screen, etc.
application to activity
Application to Activity
  • Be sure that your RQ focuses on the content of bumper stickers not the driver.
  • You could ask whether female drivers typically have more stickers than males but the focus of the coding would be on types of message content of stickers.
how would you measure it
How would you measure it?
  • At the heart of this assignment is the challenge of measurement.
  • Basically I’m asking you to figure out what you would add to the coding sheet I gave you to pursue your more specific RQ
  • Let’s say that after collecting your sample you decide the most interesting issue to you is “regional pride.”
  • How would you define it so that we could code it systematically?
example regional pride
Example: Regional Pride
  • Here are some of my thoughts:
  • Conceptual definition: Regional pride stickers make specific references to geographic regions or specific locations in that region.
    • Positive comments about region and affiliation
    • Negative comments on “outsiders” or other regions.
  • Secondary research would help here!
coding regional pride
Primary Source of Pride

___South in general

___Other region in general

___ Specific location

___ Specific regional event

___ Other

Primary Expression of Pride

___ Positive of region

___ Negative of other

___ Other

Tone of Sticker

___ Humorous

___ Serious

___ Other

Coding Regional Pride

Here are some possible items that could be added to the coding sheet.

application to activity1
Application to Activity
  • Your team should construct a coding sheet for your variables of interest just as I have done and is shown in the text. Show them exactly as they would be laid out so someone could take the sheet and code more stickers.
  • Be creative! You might want to code things on 1-10 scale or in other ways not illustrated in my example.

It’s not part of the activity, but why are these stickers in Celtics colors instead of Red Sox colors?

correct apa style
Correct APA Style
  • APA is the most common style guide for formal writing in the social sciences. Sorry, you have to learn it.
  • That said, keep the guide handy and follow it EXACTLY.
  • I expect correct use of headings.
  • I expect correct citations.
  • I expect error free writing that has been looked at by each team member (and maybe the writing center if you have the time and inclination).
final thoughts
Final Thoughts
  • Do good work and have fun doing it.
  • Practice thinking and talking like researchers. It will help with the probe and exams.
  • Consider testing out your coding sheet on a few stickers to see if it works.