Friday, February 3, 2012

We'll Get the Data, You Do the Explaining

Gill and van Zoonen both to a really good job at explaining how content analysis is used as an objective tool for looking at media. Gill specifically, says that content analysis is often used as a way to make an argument about various media representations more persuasive, in some cases give reason to start having a conversation about media representation. I liked this approach a lot because I think content analysis is very helpfully in being able to see all the ways media represents gender, or race, or class in an easy to digest format. Take for example the data on page 71 in van Zoonen. Even without background as to what this data was looking to find, its very obvious that the two columns labeled women and men are displaying very different representations. Firstly, the men’s column is much longer than the women’s column, offering more choices in profession with more even numbers of how many media men do those tasks. The women on the other hand have far less professions and have a very clear front-runner with more than half the percentage in one occupation. Even with very little context by reading this information you can immediately start a conversation about why this data is the way it is. You might also be able to say, with almost certainty, that there is something problematic about what this data reflects. This content analysis doesn’t explore why the data is the way that it is, or how media executed these various representations; it just presents the data in an objective manner and requires someone else to figure out the significance of it.

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