Interdisciplinary Inquiry Research Proposal

Excerpt from Research Proposal :


Introduction and Theoretical Framework

Fox News claims to be "America's 1 Cable News Network." Its tagline reads, "Fair and balanced." But is Fox News truly "fair" and truly "balanced"? Content analysis is the best method to analyze Fox News. Used frequently in media and communications studies, content analysis can be a quantitative and/or a qualitative approach. A quantitative approach is helpful when counting instances of specific words or images and using that numerical data for classification, tracking, or comparisons with other texts. A qualitative approach is broader in scope, potentially multidisciplinary, and rich with potential for discourse.

External validity is the goal of content analysis (Downe-Wamboldt, 2009). This is because content analysis enables the social sciences to have real-world meaning and application (Colin, n.d.). Content analysis of major media sources like Fox News are meaningful in the real world, because of the huge impact television viewing has on human emotion, cognition, and behavior (Comstock, et al., 1978). For this reason, content analysis is one of the most effective means of studying the sociological impact of mainstream media. Semetko & Valkenburg (2006), for example, show how content analysis can be used to study frames in European news presentation.

Simple forms of content analysis include textual analysis: which can numerically count the number of times a certain word was used in a given broadcast or within a predetermine length of time. This type of content analysis is also referred to as a summative content analysis (Hsieh & Shannon, 2005). Concurrent with simple methods of counting instances of words and images is interpretation of those words and images. While the interpretation process invites researcher bias, it is also essential for creating research questions and promoting media integrity.

Research Question and Hypothesis

Is Fox News "fair and balanced"? A more effective research question will be: "To what extent does Fox News reveal a conservative bias in its…

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