UPDATE: If you’ve come to this post looking for information about content analysis, you might be better served looking here, where I’ve written up a more detailed and logical post.
A key data collection method for my thesis will be content analysis. Basically (and I could well be shot for simplifying it this much) content analysis is simply counting things in the text. In my case, I’m counting the number of times particular characters appear in each episode and what they appear with. Symbolic items of national identity associated with particular characters will also be counted.
I first conducted a content analysis way back in first year. Then I was looking for simple acts of violence in The Simpsons. I achieved very good marks for that assignment, and it is probably a big part of why I’m still at uni, and still studying The Simpsons. At the time, that task seemed very complex. I only analysed three episodes, and did little work beyond the content analysis. For my thesis, the content analysis is the launching point and will be accompanied by a detailed discourse analysis of selected episodes. I’m only studying the first ten seasons of the show, but that still means I’m planning to do a content analysis of 226 episodes.
All of this is why I’m sitting at my computer at 10pm on a Saturday night writing about content analysis. I’m quite excited at the moment since I just finished my draft coding sheet for my content analysis. I’m even about to conduct my first pilot content analysis of a random episode. For this exercise, I’m choosing an episode outside of the first ten seasons. I’ve embedded my coding sheet below, and would be interested in your feedback*.
*This is probably the single most boring graphic to ever accompany any blog, ever.