SOC 131

FIELD RESEARCH PROJECTS

Ideology and the Media


Intro Homepage Extra Credit Field Research Projects Lecture Notes Chapter Reviews E-mail Syllabus Sociology Links What's in the news? My Vitae Marriage & Family Class                                                                                            

Each field research project will be evaluated/graded according to the following criteria: 1) data collection (25%), 2) data analysis (25%), 3) use of supplementary materials (25%), and 4) presentation of findings (25%). Your group will be required to fill out a grade sheet (one per group) which explicitly states what you have done for each phase of the project.

 

RESEARCH QUESTION

What assumptions about the nature of the society and human nature underlie the judgments of media decision-makers?

 

DATA COLLECTION

This project entails an in-depth ideological content analysis of media. You are to describe the dominant perspectives in the media and how they overlap with the dominant perspectives in sociology. Describe what ideological paradigms are presented on a central issue currently in the public discourse. Identify viewpoints outside the dominant ideological perspective. Describe their content and location in media.

 

DATA ANALYSIS

This project requires a content analysis of the media. You will need to first, formulate a series of categories which you will use to conceptually explore the select group of articles or programs you have selected. These categories should be guided by the questions laid out above and by your theoretical orientation. Once you have identified the categories, you will need to read your data with a meticulous eye to pull out material which speaks to your categorizations. This process is called ‘coding' the data (the data being your chosen media). If you are working in a group, you will want to code the data separately, then get back together to discuss how you each coded the data - what are the similarities and differences between yourself and your colleagues? If you are working alone you will need to pass through the data (at least) three separate times to ensure that you are not missing any particularities. What does your coding schema allow you to say about the various ideological underpinnings of different media sources? How can you situate these understandings within the larger framework of our discussion on media as a social institution?

 

USE OF SUPPLEMENTARY MATERIALS

I will give you a textbook chapter on the media. You will also want to do a search in the library to find any relevant sociological studies which focus on the dissemination of ideology.

 

PRESENTATION OF THE FINDINGS

You may present your findings in any way that you deem appropriate. You may want to create tables which describe the occurances of certain themes. You may want to engage the class in some sort of activity. It is up to you, or your group, however you will want to come up with some sort of clever way to articulate your findings that maintains the interest of the class. You will have a better idea of how to present your findings once you have completed the data analysis. You should plan to limit your presentation to 20-30 minutes.