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Methods

  1. 1. WK17 - MethodologiesDr. Carolina MatosGovernment DepartmentUniversity of Essex
  2. 2. Readings for week 17Required texts:• Fairclough, N. (2005) “Political Discourse in the Media: an Anaylitical Framework” in A. Bell and P. Garrett (eds.) (2005) Approaches to Media Discourse, Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 142-163• George, A. (1959, 2009) “Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches to Content Analysis” in Krippendorff, Klaus and Angela Bock, Mary (eds.) The Content Analysis Reader, London: Sage, 144-156• Van Dijk (2008) “Structures of Discourse and Structures of Power” and “Critical Discourse Analysis” in Discourse and Power, London: Palgrave MacmillanAdditional:• Glynos, J., Howarth, D., Norval, A., and Speed, E. (2009) ‘Discourse Analysis: Varieties and Methods’, ESRC National Centre for Research Methods• Riffe, D. et al (2005) “Defining Content Analysis as a Social Science Tool” in Analysing Media Messages, 23- 39
  3. 3. Key points• Merits of quantitative and qualitative research methods• Political discourse: definitions• Discourse analysis and critical discourse analysis• What is critical discourse analysis?(CDA)• Discourse analysis and its varieties (Glynos)• Content analysis: popularity and different uses• Some examples of dissertations with CDA and CA• What makes a good dissertation?• Literature review and methods• Conclusions and seminar activities• Readings for week 18
  4. 4. Quantitative versus qualitative research (in Jankowski and Wester, 1991, 44-75)• “Qualitative research is a form of long-term first-hand observation conducted in close proximity to the phenomena under study….Participant observation and case studies are primary methods of qualitative empirical studies.”• Historical origins (1890-1930) – “…qualitative field research was introduced to sociology in the USA, and pioneering work was conducted at the University of Chicago.”• During the debates on social-scientific methodologies in the US in the 1930s and 1940s, the application of quantitative methods increased.• 1930-1960 – With the influence of positivism, the proponents of quantitative methods gained the upper hand in the methodological debate, with survey research becoming the key method in social sciences.• Qualitative research began to be seen as a preliminary activity which lay the ground for “real” science to take place.
  5. 5. Social Science in search of a scientific method (in Jankowski and Wester, 1991, 44-75)Why the popularity of quantitative research? Because researchers both at Chicago and elsewhere were developingquantitative measuring methods which were intended to elevate the status ofsociology to that of a science. In the context of World War II, pressures were placed for research tomeasure the impact of communication, in particular propaganda I.e. Lasswell and content analysis Period of the 1960s onwards: The decade of the 1960s saw a growingdisillusionment with positivism approaches to the Social Science, and thelimitations of these practices in the study of human behaviour Criticisms towards researchers’ obsessions with “scientific method”followed by a concern with trying to understand deep social conflicts (i.e.racism, the nature of inequality, etc)
  6. 6. Merits of both research methods• Both methods (qualitative and quantitative) have their strengths and weaknesses• It is up to the individual researcher to decide which method to use, or to combine both• The trend in any good, serious quality research has been the combination of both quantitative and qualitative methods (i.e. discourse analysis and quantitative content analysis)• Rise of the qualitative research tradition again and the popularity of methods such as discourse analysis and ethnography• Ethnographic research is concerned with cultural forms, with studies acknowledging the need for participant observation and multiple data collection methods (i.e. Lull’s (1980) study of the social uses of television).• “Triangulation” method – Multiple method approach that aims to compensate the weaknesses of each method by counter-balancing them with the strengths of another
  7. 7. What is discourse?• Van Dijk (2008, 27) examines the relationship between discourse and social power, and is influenced by Bourdieu’s notion of “symbolic power”, among others• I.e. “The production mode of articulation is controlled by….the “symbolic elites”, such as journalists, writers and other groups.• Discourse here is used in the more generic sense, such as “medical discourse”, “political discourse” or “racist discourse”. It may also feature non-verbal expressions such as drawings, pictures, gestures and so on• What is the relationship between discourse and power?• “Most powerful groups control or have access to a wide range of discourse role, genres, etc. They control formal dialogues with subordinates….issue commands or laws….”• Understanding of power as a form of social control• Ideology – can be viewed as being a set of values which are either taken for granted or not, appearing as either fact or opinion. They can be articulated in the media through complex strategies, through various forms of discourse
  8. 8. Discourse analysis and the Foucauldian tradition (in Matos, 2008 and Foucault, 1972)• Discourse analysis is a method committed to challenging common sense thinking. It is critical of taken for granted knowledge and argues that the ways in which we view the world are historically specific and socially constructed (in Matos, 2008)• Discourse analysis within the Foucaldian perspective refers to institutionalised patterns of knowledge, to a connection between knowledge and power• Foucault (1972) in The Archaeology of Knowledge has emphasised “the importance of historicizing discourse, seeing a relationship between discourse, representation and knowledge in a way which “truth” is said to only mean something within a specific historical context”.• Discourse and forms of knowledge can be produced in certain periods, and they differ from one another with no necessary continuity between them.
  9. 9. “Political discourse in the media” (in Fairclough, 2005)• “Political discourse is seen as an ‘order of discourse’….which is continuously changing within wider processes of social and cultural change affecting the media themselves and other social domains which are linked to them.”• The notion of “order of discourse” is adapted from Foucault (1972)• As the author states, an “order of discourse is a structural configuration of genres and discourses…..associated with a given social domain – for example, the order of discourse of a school.”• Argues that Bourdieu is right in saying that the “internal analysis of political discourse or texts which does not place them with respect to the political field and its wider social frame is of limited value.”• Bourdieu’s criticism is that much discourse analysis is “analysis of communicative events which does not attempt to map them on to orders of discourse.”
  10. 10. What is political discourse?• For Van Dijk (2008), the central question in the relation between discourse and power is: who can say or write what to whom in what situation?• As Fairclough (1995, 184) has pointed out, Bourdieu (1991) has described political discourse as being a site of external and internal struggle: one to sustain a coherent political discourse within an internal structure and another to constitute a political public and a base of support for the political discourse, individuals and institutions associated with it (in Matos, 2008, 28)• Political discourse is distributed through the mass media, through the speeches of top politicians, such as the president or PM• I.e. Racist talk - Van Dijk argues that it is within political discourse that most racist talk takes places.• Fairclough (1992) sees a close relationship between change and discourse, defending further the democratization of media discourses.
  11. 11. Fairclough’s three dimensional framework for studying critical discourse analysis• The three sorts of analysis are:• 1) the analysis of texts (spoken, written);• 2) the analysis of discourse practices of text production, distribution and consumption;• 3) analysis of social and cultural practices which frame discourse practices and texts.• Micro, meso and macro-level interpretations:• a) The micro-level involves studying the text’s syntax, metaphoric structure and rhetorical devices;• b) The meso-level consists in looking at the text’s production and consumption and the power relations involved and• c) The macro-level is concerned with inter-textual relations between texts, and mainly with how external factors affect the text being studied.
  12. 12. Discourse analysis versus critical discourse analysis (in Van Dijk, 2008)• Critical discourse analysis “is a type of discourse analytical research that studies the way social power abuse, dominance and inequality are enacted, reproduced and resisted by text and talk in the social and political context.”• Critical discourse analysis (CDA) is a multidisciplinary approach to the study of discourse which focuses on the ways social and political domination is reproduced through text and talk• Key early text in the tradition was Norman Fairclough’s Language and Power (1989)• Approach draws from social theory and from the work of authors such as Marx, Gramsci, Habermas, Foucault and Bourdieu to discuss the connection between ideology, power and their reproduction through discourse• It takes explicit position and wants to resist social inequality
  13. 13. Critical discourse analysis: definitions and challenges (in Van Dijk, 2008)• Fairclough and Wodak (1997: 271-80)summarise the main tenets of CDA as being:• 1) CDA addresses social problems• 2)Power relations are discursive• 3) Discourse constitutes society and culture• 4)Discourse does ideological work• 5)Discourse is historical• 6) The link between text and society is mediated• 7)Discourse analysis is interpretative and explanatory• 8) Discourse is a form of social action.
  14. 14. Contemporary politics and political discourse (in Fairclough, 2005)• The crisis of political parties and the broken community ties has resulted in the last decades in the rise of what some call “identity politics” or “sub-politics” (i.e. grassroots social movements, animal rights groups, etc).• The power struggle to achieve hegemony occurs both internally (within the order of discourse of the political system) and externally (in the articulation of different systems and orders of discourse).• The internal struggle for hegemony for instance is a struggle between political parties and political tendencies• I.e. Various agents (professional politicians, journalists, etc) are potential protagonists….in struggles for hegemony in the media• We also need to look out for alliances – i.e. “Derrida has warned of the powerful emergent confluence between political discourse, academic discourse and media discourse.”• I.e. Thatcherism and Blairism.
  15. 15. Six key approaches to discourse analysis (Glynos et al 2009)• 1) Political Discourse Theory (PDT)• 2) Rhetorical Political Analysis (RPA)• 3) Discourse Historical Analysis (DHA) in Critical Discourse Analysis• 4) Interpretive Policy Analysis (IPA)• 5) Discursive Psychology (DP)• 6) Q Methodology (QM)• Essex School of discourse analysis – with Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe as their founding fathers. Scholars reinterpreted Gramsci’s theory of hegemony highlighting the role of meaning and of processes of interpellation in the articulation of political discourses (Hegemony and Socialist Strategy, 1985)• Tradition has been influenced by Saussurean linguistics, Lacanian psychoanalysis and deconstruction
  16. 16. Six key approaches to discourse analysis (Glynos et al 2009)• Authors underline three dimensions to help us think about the approaches to discourse analysis:• 1) Ontology• 2) Focus• 3) Purpose• Political discourse theory and critical discourse analysis devote space to ontological considerations.• “Approaches share a concern with questions of meaning…..It is this concern with meaning and subjectivity that drives the selection of different methods or techniques in the study of discourse, whether these are qualitative, quantitative or both…”• Political Discourse Theory (PDT) for instance emerged from the attempts by Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe of using Gramsci and Althusser’s work to tackle the problem of class reductionism
  17. 17. Semiotic analysis (in van Zoonen, 2000)• Semiotics is the study of signs and how they become meaningful in our culture• Barthes (1957) distinguished between denotation and connotation, or first and second order signification. Denotation is relevant to the semiotics of Saussure and focuses on language (the relation between signifier and signified)• The denotative meaning of a “black cat” would be the animal, however the sign carries other connotative meanings (i.e. an omen of bad luck). It has a manifest referent in reality.• Connotation or second order signification concerns the latent cultural values, and can also take on the form of various narratives, known as “myth” by Barthes.• Fiske and Hartley (1978) stress the third order signification or ideology, conceiving connotation and myth as the manifest expression of the dominant ideology.• Used in the analysis of advertisements, symbols, etc (i.e. a perfume ad showing a young women could connote values of femininity)
  18. 18. Lasswell, Lerner and Pool: the content analysis tradition• Lasswell, Lerner and de Sola Pool (1952: 45) (in Franzosi, 2007) put it in these terms: “There is clearly no reason for content analysis unless the question one wants answered is quantitative.”• The creation of coding frames is an important aspect of content analysis. As K. Krippendorff (1980 and 2004) states, six questions must be addressed in every content analysis:• 1) Which data are analysed?• 2) How are they defined?• 3) What is the population from which they are drawn?• 4) What is the context relative to which the data are analysed?• 5) What are the boundaries of the analysis?• 6) What is the target of the inferences?• Quantitative CA starts with word frequencies, space measurements (i.e. columns in newspapers), time counts (i.e. radio) and keyword frequencies.
  19. 19. Content analysis as a scientific method• “Content analysis is a summarising, quantitative analysis of messages that relies on the scientific method (including attention to objectivity, inter-subjectivity, a priori design, reliability, validity, generalisability, replicability, and hypothesis testing) and is not limited as to the types of variables that may be measured or the context in which the messages are created or presented.” (K. A. Neuendorf, 2002, 10)• Leites and de Sola Pool (in Franzosi, 2007) have contrasted the “objectivity” of content analysis with other more “subjective” or “impressionistic” ways of talking about symbols….”.• Holsti (1969)defined the uses of content analysis into three basic categories: a) make inferences about the antecedents of a communication; b) describe and make inferences about characteristics of a communication and c) make inferences about the effects of a communication
  20. 20. Uses of content analysis by purpose, communication element and questionPurpose Element Question UseMake inference Source Who? Authorshipabout theantecedents of Encoding Why? I.e. Traits ofcommunication Process individualsDescribe and Channel How? Analysemake inferences techniques ofabout the Message What? persuasioncharacteristics of Describe trends incommunications Recipient To whom? communication Patterns of com.Make inferences Decoding process With what effect? Measureabout the readabilityconsequences of Analyse flow ofcommunications information Assess responses
  21. 21. Content analysis - example of a Dummy Table (in Riffe et al 2005)Character Speaking Non-is role speaking roleMinorityfemale % %Minority % %maleWhite % %femaleWhite male % %Total 100% 100%
  22. 22. Content analysis: what is it? (in Riffe et al, 2005)• Weber’s (1990) definition specifies only that “content analysis is a research method that uses a set of procedures to make valid inferences from text.” (in Riffe et al, 2005, 23)• Krippendorff (1980) has emphasised reliability and validity: “Content analysis is a research technique for making replicative and valid inferences from data to their content.” (21)• Manifest versus latent content analysis – the manifest (or denotative or shared) describes what an author has written, as opposed to connotative or latent (“between the lines”), the intention. CA can only be applied on manifest content.• Kerlinger (1973): “Content analysis is a method of studying and analysing communications in a systematic, objective and quantitative manner…..” According to him, content analysis should be treated as a ‘method of observation’ akin to observing people’s behaviour
  23. 23. Content analysis definitions• Quantitative content analysis is thus the systematic and replicable examination of symbols of communication• What are some appropriate communication content for study?• Content analysis can be an appropriate method to identify for instance words or labels in advertisements; phrases of themes in political speeches; paragraphs of space in newspapers devoted to crime stories and whole editorials in the press endorsing particular candidates• Content analysis can also be used to address accusations of the underrepresentation of minorities in the media by attempting to measure the number of stories on immigration, asylum seekers, etc• An important prerequisite for the content analyst is that the investigator knows what he/she is looking for before beginning to count.
  24. 24. Content analysis (in George, 1959, 2009)• Initial focus of content analysis was on Propaganda Studies• “Quantitative content analysis is a statistical technique for obtaining descriptive data on content variables. It offers the possibility of obtaining more precise, objective and reliable observations about the frequency with which given content characteristics occur…”• With the rise of the quantitative methods tradition in Social Science, content analysis has become a widely popular method, and used frequently in Media and Communication Studies as well• Critics of quantitative CA have argued that the method puts too much emphasis on the comparative frequency of different symbols’ appearance• Criticisms included accusations of attempting to reduce social existence to variables (i.e. Blumler, 1954 in Jensen and Jankowski, 1991, 1995)
  25. 25. Quantitative and qualitative approaches to content analysis (George, 1959, 2009)• Quantitative content analysis….is concerned with the frequency of occurrence of given content characteristics• The type of communication analysis which makes use of “non- frequency” content indicators for purposes of inference is regarded as the non-quantitative or non-statistical variant of CA• The non-frequency approach resembles traditional methods of textual analysis• Non-frequency – is thus used to describe the type of non- quantitative, non-statistical content analysis, which uses the presence or absence of certain content characteristic….as a content indicator….• The difference between the two approaches is that frequency analysis….always singles out frequency distributions as a basis for making inferences. In contrast, non-frequency approach utilised the mere occurrence or non-occurrence of attributes….for purposes of inference.
  26. 26. Uses of content analysis as a research method (in George, 1959)• The author gives an example of a quantitative study which shows a sharp decline in the number of references to Stalin in Pravda. According to him, the frequency analyst might conclude that the successors to Stalin are trying to downgrade the former dictator or dissociate themselves from him.• The non-frequency analyst might on the other hand make a similar conclusion from the fact that in a public speech one of Stalin’s successors failed to mention him when discussing a particular subject…• It is the frequency distribution of attention to “Stalin” over a period of time on which the inference rests.• “Non-frequency approach to content analysis is an older and more conventional way of interpreting communication and drawing inferences from it then is the quantitative approach.”
  27. 27. Some problems in quantitative content analysis (in George, 1959)• For the propaganda analyst:• 1) the problem of coding irrelevant content;• 2) the problem of changes in the speaker’s strategy ;• 3) the problem of an expanding universe of relevant communication• 4) the problem of structural characteristics of instrumental communication.• Analyst must exercise care in considering which passages are relevant to each of the goals of the communicator• One of the important requirements of statistical content analysis is that it be systematic so that “all relevant content…..be analysed in terms of all of the relevant categories, for the problem at hand.” (Berelson, 1952, 17)• When you have clear cut hypotheses, the danger of coding irrelevant content is minimised.• Important also is the search for specific content categories – “Symbols or themes with low frequency of occurrence may be either ignored or grouped together under broad content categories.”
  28. 28. Dissertation topicDefine your topic and research questions Think to yourself: what is interesting academically/empirically/personally?• Develop answerable research questions and avoid being vague (i.e.• How will you study your questions. What kind of methodologies are more appropriate to answer it?• Is your question realistic?Start to develop a good timetable for your dissertationAfter you have a research question and methodology, you must begin to think of your theoretical frame and the literature that you want to use Is your research contributing to a body of knowledge? Do you want to revise particular theories?How will your case study and methods answer the core research questions?
  29. 29. Literature review• Non-graded, to be handed in between Feb-March 2013.• Relevant research literature should be critically reviewed, leading to a specification of the research questions or hypotheses.• What is relevant to include, and what it not that relevant?• A well written literature review contains: • Topic introduction • Clear research questions • Conceptual map • Review of relevant theories and studies applying them • Review of previous studies using similar questions, methods, theoretical considerations. • Integration of studies from different disciplines • Assessment/analysis of current developments and knowledge gaps in the field • Proposed methodologies • Appropriate bibliographic references • (2.500 words)
  30. 30.  Intellectual grasp of the topic; understand its significance Invites a dialogue with the reader Develop a debate which allows both exploration and rejection of alternatives Examines the theory critically and engages well with the key literature in the field in an intelligent manner Maintains links between theory, method and interpretation Has a clear and strong argument throughout; has a good structure Methodology is clearly established Thesis is well-organised, well-written and “easy” to read Includes scholarly notes and uses academic conventions
  31. 31. Dissertation assessment criteria• Presentation – Clarity of expression, a coherent and consistent structure• Content – Quality and breadth of literature survey, the fit between your assessment of the literature and your choice of empirical research focus; the interpretation of your results in relation to the literature• Critical Judgement – Depth of interpretation and theoretical sophistication, critical appraisal• Plagiarism – Check the guidelines for this.Submission deadline: 13th of September
  32. 32. Further reading on methods and qualitative and quantitative research• Bignell, J. (1997) Media Semiotics: an introduction, Manchester: Manchester University Press• Fairclough, N. (2003) Analyzing Discourse: Textual Analysis for Social Research, London: Routledge• D. Howarth (2000) Discourse, Buckingham: Open University Press• Hall, S (1997) Representation: cultural representation and signifying practices, London: Sage• Jensen, K. B. and Jankowski, N. W. (eds.) A Handbook of Qualitative Methodologies for Mass Communication Research, 135-149• Neurendorf, K. (2009) The Content Analysis Guidebook, London: Sage Publications• Riffe, D.,, Lacy, S. ad Fico, F.R. (2005) Analyzing Media Messages: Using Quantitative Analysis Research, London: Taylor and Francis
  33. 33. Seminar activities and questions• 1) Discuss the methods used in the qualitative and quantitative research traditions and the merits and weaknesses of each. What methods are you thinking of using for your dissertation?• 2) Using Fairclough’s and Van Dijk’s texts, what is understood by critical discourse analysis? What are the type of research questions that CDA tends to focus upon?• 3) Examine the content analysis research method. What are some of the strengths of the method and what have been the core critiques?• 4) Investigate the six key approaches to discourse analysis outlined in the Glynos et al text. What are some of the differences and similarities between the approaches?
  34. 34. Readings for week 18Required texts:• Hanitzsch, T. (2004) “Journalists as a peacekeeping force? Peace journalism and mass communication theory” in Journalism Studies, 5 (4), 483-495.• Lee, S. T., and Maslog, C., C. (2005, July) “Asian regional conflicts and the war in Iraq: A comparative framing analysis”, paper presented at the annual International Communication Gazette, Oct/Dec 2006, vol. 68 issue 5/6, p. 499-518.Additional: Fawcett, L. (2002) “Why peace journalism isn’t news” inJournalism Studies, 3 (2), 213-223. Teheranian, M. (2002) “Peace journalism: Negotiating global mediaethics” in The Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics, 7(2),58-83.

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