Qualitative Research in Journalism: Taking It to the Streets

By Sharon Hartin Iorio | Go to book overview

10
Textual Analysis
in Journalism
John L. “Jack” Morris
Loyola University, New Orleans, LA

Textual analysis is sometimes called careful reading, and it is as important to a journalist as good listening. Textual analysis is a method that communication researchers use to describe, interpret, and evaluate the characteristics of a recorded message (Frey, Botan, Friedman, & Kreps, 1991). This type of qualitative research and analysis focuses on a particular text to determine its characteristics and place it in a category shared by other similar texts for comparison and contrast purposes. Qualitative textual analysis can lead to quantitative research methods such as content analysis (Krippendorff, 1980) or Q methodology (Brown, 1993; McKeown & Thomas, 1988), which can be used to analyze publications or opinions about texts.

For example, researchers might categorize the types of message strategies that politicians use in public campaign speeches as fear-appeals and reward-appeals by studying individual texts, and then conduct a quantitative study. This research project might study how the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times covered campaign speeches over the period of a year by focusing on the textual attributes of each paper's campaign coverage. Reporters who write the news stories also use some level of textual analysis to compare and contrast oral and written language. Reporters at the Washington Post use personal computers to search for key words in bills and legislation that indicate stakeholders—winners and losers—in the documents (see following examples).

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Qualitative Research in Journalism: Taking It to the Streets
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • References xii
  • Preface xiii
  • About the Contributors xvii
  • Part I 1
  • 1 - Qualitative Method Journalism 3
  • References *
  • 2 - The Chicago School Precedent 21
  • Endnotes *
  • References *
  • 3 - From Objectivity to Interpretive Sufficiency 41
  • References *
  • Part II 57
  • 4 - The Case of the Akron Beacon Journal 59
  • References *
  • 5 - Focus Groups Newsroom Style 75
  • References *
  • 6 - Giving Voice to the Voiceless 93
  • References *
  • Appendix 6.1 - Deed of Gift to the Public Domain *
  • 7 - Focused Interviews 109
  • Endnotes *
  • References *
  • 8 - Ethnographic Journalism 127
  • References *
  • 9 - Inventing Civic Mapping 145
  • Endnotes *
  • References *
  • 10 - Textual Analysis in Journalism 163
  • Endnotes *
  • References 174
  • 11 - The Imperative of Pairing Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches in Communication Research 175
  • Endnotes *
  • References *
  • 12 - Newsrooms and Community 193
  • References *
  • Endnotes *
  • Glossary 213
  • References 224
  • Author Index 227
  • Subject Index 233
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