A Handbook of Media and Communication Research: Qualitative and Quantitative Methodologies

By Klaus Bruhn Jensen | Go to book overview

7

Discourses of fact

Kim Christian Schrøder
• an overview of the development of quantitative content analysis
• an example of content analysis in practice
• a comparison of three forms of qualitative discourse analysis
• a review of studies of visual media content
• an example of the analysis of still images and texts in advertising.

TEXTS TO REMEMBER: INTRODUCTION

Every time a year comes to an end, we may use the chronological threshold to think back on events of the past year and their significance for ourselves and for the many social formations to which we happen to belong. Within the private circles of life, our personal memory is perhaps supported by letters and diaries, photographs or home video recordings. The further we move into the history of our local community or region, via ethnic and national collectivities, toward events on a global scale that have affected us despite their geographical distance, the more we have to rely on mediated memories, as recorded and disseminated by others, to understand what happened.1 This chapter deals with the ways in which the media select, combine, and present events in the real world in verbal and visual form, thus constructing versions of reality which shape the meanings and values that inform our attitudes and behaviors, primarily as citizens and consumers.

At the end of 1998, the BBC broadcast its annual Review of the Year program, offering a selective, collective memory of a year whose events included the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky case, the Football World Cup in France, British Northern Ireland Minister Mo Mowlam’s exploits at the negotiating table as well as her trials as a cancer patient, South African President Nelson Mandela’s eightieth birthday, pop singer George Michael being arrested for lewd conduct in a public lavatory, Titanic - the most expensive movie ever made (so far), and many other events from the domestic and international scene. In just over an hour, this retrospective provided one particular answer to the question, ‘What happened in 1998?’, at the same time implicitly labeling numerous other events as not worth remembering. In addition to omissions and absences, however, textual analysis should be curious about the ‘lenses, ’ both literal and metaphorical, through which events are to be viewed.

This is how anchorwoman Sue Lawley introduces the program as she is walking around a huge, dark television editing room with dozens of tiny screens behind her:

Welcome to Review of the Year 1998, the year Britain went digital, or a tiny bit of it

1 memory: immediate and mediated - Chapter 2, p. 16

-98-

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A Handbook of Media and Communication Research: Qualitative and Quantitative Methodologies
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • Preface xi
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • Part I - History 13
  • 2 - The Humanities in Media and Communication Research 15
  • 3 - Media, Culture and Modern Times 40
  • Part II - Systematics 59
  • 4 - The Production of Media Fiction 62
  • 5 - The Production of News 78
  • 6 - The Study of International News 91
  • 7 - Discourses of Fact 98
  • 8 - Mediated Fiction 117
  • 9 - Media Effects 138
  • 10 - Media Reception 156
  • 11 - Contexts, Cultures, and Computers 171
  • 12 - History, Media and Communication 191
  • Part III - Practice 207
  • 13 - The Quantitative Research Process 209
  • 14 - The Qualitative Research Process 235
  • 15 - The Complementarity of Qualitative and Quantitative Methodologies in Media and Communication Research 254
  • 16 - The Social Origins and Uses of Media and Communication Research 273
  • References 294
  • Index 326
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