SOC 131


What are the Messages in Children's Videos and TV Programming?

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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.



Review five of the most popular children's videos. Focus on animated programming since it is generally targeted at the youngest children. You may also channel surf children's programs and identify themes. How are males and females portrayed? What implicit roles do social class and ethnicity play? What problems are presented to be solved an how are they solved? How are villains portrayed? How are heroes portrayed? This is a content analysis of television programming and cinema



You will need to first, formulate a series of categories which you will use to conceptually explore the programming. These categories should be guided by the questions laid out above and by your theoretical orientation. Once you have laid out the categories, you will need to view the video's or programs with a meticulous eye to pull out material which speaks to your categorizations. This process is called ‘coding' the data (the data being your videos). 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? What does your coding schema allow you to say about the videos? How can you situate you understanding of the videos within the larger framework of our discussion on media as an social institution?



I will provide your group with a copy of an excellent chapter on the media (from the textbook I used last semester). You will also want to do a search in the library to find any relevant sociological studies which focus on the children's literature and socialization.



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 play snipets of your newspaper text to illustrate your main ideas. 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 thatmaintains 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