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Qualitative Media Analysis

Qualitative Media Analysis

Second Edition

Navigate the wealth of media documents available to qualitative researchers today with this simple guide.

October 2012 | 168 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

In order to prepare a successful research project, a qualitative researcher often must consult media documents of various types. Authors David L. Altheide and Christopher J. Schneider show readers how to obtain, categorize, and analyze these different media documents in this entry in the Qualitative Research Methods series. They look at traditional primary documents such as newspapers and magazines but also at more recent forms--television newscasts and cyberspace. The use of student examples of research protocols makes this book a useful primer in deriving meaning from the bombardment of media documents a qualitative researcher faces.

Chapter 1. Plugged in Research
Chapter 2. Ethnographic Content Analysis
Chapter 3. Process of Qualitative Document Analysis
Chapter 4. Newspapers, Magazines, and Electronic Documents
Chapter 5. Electronic Reality I
Chapter 6. Electronic Reality II
Chapter 7. Tracking Discourse
Chapter 8. Field Notes and Other Data

It’s the only “how to” book of its kind out there.

Lisa Duke Cornell
University of Florida

It explains how to do qualitative textual analysis in a way that is laid out step-by-step, making it clear to students how to do it.

Melissa Wall
California State University - Northridge

It’s short and to the point, covering a lot of ground quickly. I have always been able to justify it on a syllabus because it reads well and fast, it not too expensive, and it gives novices clear guidance. Personally, I’m also 100 percent simpatico with Professor Altheide theoretically and philosophically. More important, he does make it relevant to communication theory as well as practice.

Kim Golombisky
University of South Florida

The main strength is its focus on “media”, applied researchers are rapidly shifting their attention to multiple sources of data and focusing on how people and organizations communicate. Social media is also influencing marketing and public relations activities. It IS the hot topic….helping researchers figure out how to target, capture, analyze and interpret these new forms of media is essential.

Kay Davis
Pepperdine University

The key strength of Qualitative Media Analysis is that it provides students and scholars with a rigorous, social science-based, qualitative alternative to quantitative content analysis, allowing for better and deeper interpretation of media texts. The methodology outlined by Altheide is particularly useful for the examination of previously unstudied media, where no theory and/or previous data exist to inform content analysis protocols.

Colleen Connolly-Ahern
The Pennsylvania State University
Pre-published review

It's a great book! The students told me it was relevant and easy to read.

Ms Julia M Lau
Politics Dept, Catholic University Of America
April 16, 2016

This text is relevant to the research interests of media-savvy undergraduates today; it is also useful for instructors and graduate students seeking more clarity on qualitative methods of inquiry with regard to media of all kinds. I intend to test it out on my next (Fall 2015) senior thesis writing class at McDaniel College.

Ms Julia Lau
Political Science and International Studies, Mcdaniel College
March 8, 2015

Over the past 1.5 years, the master's of education students I work with have been collecting more online forum and discussion board for research and content analysis. So I have incorporated the book as a tool to help them refine their research questions and data collection methodologies.

Dr Robynn Battle
Education Dept, Holy Names University
November 3, 2014

Good addition to Mass Media Research. This is qualitative research oriented and my course focuses more on quantitative aspect. So this is a good source on qualitative aspect. It is not too long, so for students, it is very convenient.

Jin Yang
Journalism Dept, University Of Memphis
July 15, 2014

too print based, not enough content involving qualitative analysis of electronic media

Dr Trey Stohlman
Broadcast Cinematic Arts Dept, Central Michigan University
October 18, 2013
Key features


  • Every chapter has been expanded and revised, with new figures, more examples, and a new appendix for greater depth of coverage
  • Chapters 3, 4, and 5 provide greater detail on the actual process of qualitative media analysis
  • NEW! Chapter 6, Electronic Reality II, addresses social media with actual examples from ongoing research, offering the reader applied examples

Numerous comments and suggestions from researchers who have used the guidelines in the 1996 book have informed our efforts to integrate the new material and in some cases, clarify previous work as well. We have expanded every chapter; revised the Figures—and added a new one (Figure 1.2); incorporated research by others; offered more examples in the text—as well as an appendix that lists published work, theses and dissertations; we have also spelled out the process of qualitative media analysis in more detail, (Chaps. 3, 4, 5) and offered a new chapter on the nature and use of social media, with actual examples from ongoing research (6. Electronic Reality II). A plethora of scholarly reports, Masters Theses and Doctoral Dissertations have used ECA or qualitative media analysis during this time, and many of these people have provided comments, queries, and suggestions that have informed this revision. A sample of these are included in the Appendix so that the reader can check out "real world" applications of this book. We also add an expanded list of studies that have used this approach.

Sample Materials & Chapters


ch 1

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