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Unobtrusive Research (Babbie Chapter 11)

Unobtrusive Research (Babbie Chapter 11)

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Unobtrusive Research (Babbie Chapter 11)

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  1. Geography 237aResearch Methods Unobtrusive Research(Babbie Chapter 11) • Content Analysis • Landscape Interpretation • Advantages/Disadvantages • Secondary Data Analysis • Advantages/Disadvantages Geog 237a

  2. Content Analysis • study of human communication • “content” of communications • reduce communication data to something manageable • e.g., newspaper articles, policy documents, legislation/guidelines, books, webpages, speeches Geog 237a

  3. Content AnalysisExample • Wells (1891) • Black men lynched because of raping white women? • newspaper articles 728 lynchings • only 1/3 cases accused of rape • more often “insolence” cited Geog 237a

  4. Content AnalysisExample • Are men’s product manufacturers more likely to advertise during violent t.v. programs? • what is the unit of analysis? • what is the unit of observation? • how analyze statistically? Geog 237a

  5. Content Analysis Sampling • sampling frames have more than most researchers can handle • E.g., determine amount of “science” in media coverage of environmental issues. Unit of analysis • (re: conclusions/inferences) • usually groups • e.g., Canadian editors Geog 237a

  6. Content Analysis Unit of observation • (actually observe, analyze) • depends on research Q • depends on available data Time period • many available! • theoretically informed Representative Case • issue to represent “environmental coverage” • e.g., global climate change Geog 237a

  7. Content AnalysisExercise Research Question: • Which province has the most comprehensive environmental protection legislation? • (devise a content analysis study) What is the: • Unit of analysis? • Unit of observation? • Time period? Geog 237a

  8. Content AnalysisCoding Units of Observation Coding • making raw data more manageable • e.g., representing open-ended responses by theme codes manifest content • surface content • e.g., specific words/phrases • e.g., “scientist”, “professor”, “student”, “research” • count occurrences • high reliability • low validity Geog 237a

  9. Content AnalysisCoding Units of Observation latent content • underlying meaning, requires intensive reading • e.g., themes • e.g., passages with direct reference to a research report/published journal article • e.g., passages representing: “expert opinion”; “scientific facts” • count occurrences • high validity • low reliability Geog 237a

  10. Content AnalysisLatent Coding Example Fidel Castro, Communist leader of Cuba Geog 237a

  11. Content AnalysisExample • The political drift of Disney is blatant in these few comics where he is impelled to reveal his intentions openly. It is also inescapable in the bulk of them, where he uses animal symbolism, infantilism, and “noble savagery” to cover over the network of interests arising from a concrete and historically determined system: U.S. imperialism. Source: Dorfman, A. and Mattelart, A. (1971) How To Read Donald Duck Imperialist Ideology in the Disney Comic Geog 237a

  12. Content AnalysisCount Phenomena? Geog 237a

  13. Landscape Interpretation • study of natural and, particularly, built, environments – “cultural landscapes” • crudely: “content analysis of the landscape” • context (time and space) dependant • e.g., “city as text” • Sauer, Duncan, Ley, Meinig Geog 237a

  14. Landscape Interpretation findings might talk about: • intimidation • exclusion • class conflict • dehumanizing landscapes Geog 237a

  15. Landscape Interpretation Compare and contrast these. e.g., What goes on in these buildings? Geog 237a

  16. Content Analysis/Landscape Interpretation:Advantages/Disadvantages Advantages • Unobtrusiveness – no interaction • Reach – data worldwide, time periods • Physical safety • Ease and economy • Reliability • Generates both qualitative and quantitative data Disadvantages • Scope – limited by media • Relevance – engage actors? • Over reliance on face validity? Geog 237a

  17. Secondary Data Analysis • analysis of pre-existing data • data collected for general use • researcher has little influence over the form of the data (e.g., how a question gets asked in the survey to collect) • not to be confused with secondary analysis – analysis of others’ analysis to e.g., check accuracy Geog 237a

  18. Secondary Data AnalysisExample • Why do people commit suicide? • Durkheim – (social) environmental influences • temperature – summer highest – S Europe vs mid latitudes (latter highest) • men; age 35 – highest rates • times of social turmoil • Protestant vs Catholics • religion and turmoil combined into concept of anomie Geog 237a

  19. Secondary Data Analysis Geog 237a

  20. Secondary Data Analysis:Advantages/Disadvantages Advantages • Unobtrusiveness – no interaction • Scale/Reach – data worldwide • Physical safety • Ease and economy Disadvantages • ecological fallacy • validity – operational definition has to suit existing data • reliability – collected consistently? – e.g., NPRI, facilities in S hemisphere! Geog 237a