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

By Klaus Bruhn Jensen | Go to book overview

14

The qualitative research process

Klaus Bruhn Jensen
• an overview of basic concepts within qualitative media research, including meaning as produced in everyday settings and examined by researchers as interpretive subjects
• an argument for the importance of systematic design and sampling in qualitative research
• a review of interviewing, observation, and other empirical approaches to media and communication studies, with examples
• a discussion of coding, discourse analysis, and other forms of qualitative data analysis as special challenges for qualitative media research
• a presentation of computer-supported qualitative research.

INTRODUCTION

Into the 1980s, it was still common for humanistic and other qualitative researchers to refer to their own contributions to media studies as being ‘non-scientific’ (Farrell 1987:123), perhaps to secure a relatively underdefined niche for something other than social ‘science.’ While the distinction between ‘hard’ science and ‘soft’ scholarship is still occasionally rehearsed in the new millennium (Rosengren 2000), the past two decades have witnessed a shift from passive tolerance to active dialogue between self-defined qualitative and quantitative researchers. Simultaneously, the field has witnessed a widespread effort to specify the requirements of qualitative research. This chapter reviews the current state of qualitative methodologies, as employed in media and communication research, emphasizing the systematics and operational stages of the qualitative research process.

First, the chapter identifies certain key concepts, originating from anthropology, sociology, as well as the humanities, which inform the conduct of contemporary qualitative studies. Second, the planning of empirical projects is described in terms of the several strategic, tactical, and technical choices that must be made during their conception and implementation. Third, these overviews lead into a review, with examples, of three prototypical methodologies in qualitative media studies, as defined by their means of data collection - in-depth interviewing, participating observation, and document or discourse analysis. In each case, data analysis presents a particular challenge for future qualitative research. The fourth section accordingly outlines procedures for the analysis and interpretation of qualitative data.


BASIC CONCEPTS IN QUALITATIVE RESEARCH

Compared to a prototypical quantitative research project, the ‘basic’ constituents of a qualitative project are best thought of as a

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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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