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Assessment and Development of New Methods for the Analysis of Media Content

The project -- embedded in and funded by the ESRC Research Methods Programme -- will test and develop methods for the analysis of media content, in particular news. The substantive concern is with the portrayal of policy, politics and politicians, but this will also enable the application and methodological assessment of innovative approaches to media content analysis. The project comprises four main elements:

  1. The exploration and testing of computer software packages for the analysis of media content. This will draw on earlier exploratory work at Loughborough.
  2. Discursive analysis of media texts drawing on the innovative work of the Loughborough Discourse and Rhetoric Group.
  3. Analysis of time series data, to explore the possibilities of such a form of content analysis using the exceptional resources of the electoral research data sets and the Media and Communication Research Archive at Loughborough.
  4. Comparative research on large data sets, exploiting their adoption in Finland of coding and content analysis methods explicitly copied from earlier Loughborough work.

These four methods and approaches are regarded as complementary; an important element of the project is to examine the extent and nature of contradictions and compatibility between different approaches to analyzing media content.

The project will include an important training element, comprising training seminars for content analysis methodology addressed to postgraduate students and to researchers both in and outside the higher education sector.


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