This will be a relatively short piece of work rather than an essay. It should contain a few paragraphs under each of the sections outlined below, that demonstrate an understanding of content analysis and the ways in which it might be applied to a particular topic.
Marks will be awarded for imagination and effort, and for designing a content analysis proposal that is practical and relevant to your topic. All sections should be completed.
Marks will be lost for poor effort and sloppy mistakes in spelling or presentation (including referencing). Please take some time to look again at the referencing guidelines I have uploaded.
An outline of the area of study, particularly those aspects that would suit content analysis as a research method. This could be for your dissertation or another topic entirely.
If you are using your dissertation topic, think carefully about how your ideas could be investigated using content analysis as a specific approach. This will allow you to avoid having to repeat ideas or writing that you have used in the dissertation proposal.
It’s fine to use some of the same academic sources as in the dissertation proposal (appropriately referenced) but you will need to rephrase your own words to make it unique to this assignment and to content analysis as a research method.
It should contain AT LEAST three sources that give some background to the topic. AT LEAST one should be an academic piece of work (textbook or journal article). Other sources of facts and figures can also be included (for example; research reports, instances of media coverage, screenshots of social media posts etc.).
Make sure that these are all appropriately cited or acknowledged within the text of the proposal and in the bibliography.
Details of the question(s) you want to answer.
All terms should be carefully defined. Remember operational definitions.
Try to explain the thinking behind these by referring back to the literature you have mentioned previously. It’s fine to only have a research question.
You should also give some thought as to how content analysis will help you answer these questions, and why it is an appropriate technique.
As above, these should specifically relate to content analysis, not your overall dissertation research question, although you may want to show how this fits with your main objectives.
Unit of Analysis
What you are looking AT.
A Unit of Analysis might be a post on social media, a company report, a webpage, a press release, a news article, a photograph, an advert…It can be pretty much any form of communications.
This should be as specific as possible, with justification of why you have decided on this unit of analysis. You will propose to analyse multiple examples of the same kind of unit of analysis.
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Details of the sample of material that you might analyse, for example, the particular publication or channel and the dates of your time frame. You should also include search terms if you are using a database or a social media platform.
Try to justify your selection by linking back to your research question(s)/hypothesis(es).
Units of Measurement
What you are looking FOR.
At least eight (8) units of measurement, with justification for why these will be important to your topic.
Remember it’s worth trying to think about a potential findings section, and what that might contain, in order to help you design these categories.
As above, try to justify your selection by linking back to your research question(s)/hypothesis(es), and to the academic literature that you have based these on.
How might content analysis add to other kinds of research methods that you could use for your topic?
This could be a very brief section but it is worth considering this technique as a complement to others.
This could be in combination with surveys (questionnaires), interviews, or focus groups, or with secondary data. You might also propose multiple content analyses, for example looking at social media posts from an organisation and then a second detailed analysis of followers’ responses to these.
Remember triangulation can be about multiple sites of data as well as multiple different methods.
Word Count at the end of the proposal (for the total of all of these sections).
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APPENDICES (not included in the word count)
An alphabetical list of all references used within the text, including any from research methodology textbooks. See handbook for referencing style guidelines.
Example coding sheet
Try to design a coding sheet for the content analysis.
This will look something like a questionnaire and should contain all of your units of measurement, and the possible “answers” for each of these measurements.
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