content analysis

Jill Weinberg is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Tufts University and an affiliated scholar at the American Bar Foundation.  In this episode, we discuss her research on how ordinary people define justice and injustice and how social context informs their definitions. In particular, we focus on Jill’s use of post-it notes to gather responses and how this methodological choice mitigates the researcher’s impact in the field and empowers respondents as they engage with what many view as a highly emotional topic.

 

In this episode we welcome Madison Van Oort, Ph.D candidate at the University of Minnesota. Madison conducts research in the areas of fast-fashion and low-wage labor in the 21st century. The format of the conversation will be slightly different than past episodes, as Madison joins us to reflect on the strengths and limitations of the discourse and semiotic analysis that she employed in collaboration with me (Kyle Green), to study how companies employed the crisis of masculinity to sell products. Our co-authored article, “We Wear No Pants: Selling the Crisis of Masculinity in the 2010 Super Bowl Commercials” can be found in Signs (Spring 2013 Vol. 38, No. 3). I enjoyed the chance to participate with in some of the methodological reflections and hope you enjoy the conversation as much we did.

“Semiotic analysis is never objective and it is never absolute. I don’t think that we were ever claiming that we were taking an objective approach. Instead, I think we just kind of came at it as two sociologists with somewhat similar, but also somewhat different, academic training and with eyes toward different kinds of signs and symbols.”
Madison Van Oort- 

*The commercials that we discussed on this podcast can be found here.

In this episode, we talk with Alejandro Baer, Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University of Minnesota.

In this study, Alejandro and his colleagues sought to understand the specific discourse around anti-semitic sentiments amongst different cultural groups in Spain. To study this difficult to measure construct, the researchers created homogenous discussion groups of 7 to 9 people, led by a trained moderator. Participants were of similar demographics, leading to a ‘group discourse mode’ that revealed the structures of meaning different groups use to discuss their views on minority groups.

“When you design your groups, they have to be internally homogenous and externally heterogeneous. All of the individuals of one group share certain similarities in terms of age, political orientation, or of religious origin. You cannot put together left wing activists with conservative religious individuals of a totally different age. That’s not the idea. We want to capture the discourse they will share, not what makes them different.
– Alejandro Baer – 

On this episode of the Give Methods a Chance podcast , we are joined by Dr. Andrew Billings. Andrew is the Ronald Reagan Endowed Chair in Broadcasting in the College of Communication and Information Sciences at The University of Alabama. He has authored books on a range of topics including Fantasy Sport and coverage of the Olympic games.  His scholarship has also attracted interest outside academic walls from mainstream outlets ranging from the The Boston Globe to the Los Angeles Times to ESPN.com. We talk to Andrew about his use of quantitative content analysis to study traditional and social media coverage of NBA player Jason Collins’ coming out as gay.

“One barrier, and this is certainly true with more and more social media, is that there is an incredible amount of, it is not really negativity, of course there is negativity out there…Coding for sarcasm can be really tricky. And that is the reason we can’t use, with most of the work I do, I can’t send it through a content analysis software program because inevitably it is going to code things differently than the way they come out.”
– 
Andrew Billings – 

Keith N. Hampton is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication, School of Communication and Information, and an affiliate member of the Graduate Faculty in Sociology at Rutgers University. His research interests focus on the relationship between new information and communication technologies, social networks, democratic engagement, and the urban environment. Today we discuss his project, “Social Interaction in Public Spaces: A Longitudinal Study.” The goal of this study is to understand change in the social life of urban public spaces over the past 30 years, using visual content analysis.

“This is truly the only way to do a longitudinal study of public space. We can hang out in a public space for months, or maybe even a year, but doing that for two or three decades is simply impossible. So, for any large scale, longitudinal study of urban public spaces, I think this is probably the only method that is available to us.”
– Keith Hampton – 

In this episode we are joined by Matthew Hughey. Matthew is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Connecticut. He is the author of number books including the White Savior Film: Content, Critics and Consumption, The Wrongs of the Right: Language, Race, and the Republican Party in the Age of Obama, and White Bound: Nationalists, Antiracists, and the Shared Meanings of Race. Matt joins us to discuss his multi-methods approach to studying film, film criticism, and film consumption.

“I’m a methodologically promiscuous sociologist, so I dabble with different methodologies depending what types of questions I ask.  So for example, If I wanted to know something about the ways that audience members develop, nurture, and deconstruct—in their everyday lived experiences—a film genre such as this, it would call for a kind of ethnographic strategy in which I would need to embed myself with a community of avid film goers.  That type of immersion would be necessary to gain a sociologically informed view of what really figure out the relationship between people lived experiences and their cinematic evaluations.  But since I was interested in a different question—notably, what kinds of demographic and interactive setting influenced how audiences make meaning of just a handful of these films, then interviews and comparisons between focus groups fit the bill for my question.”
– Matthew W. Hughey –