Assignment: Unobtrusive Research/Content Analysis
Bring one copy of your final lab report to hand in at the beginning of the lab. This lab is designed to provide you with a small amount of hands-on experience with content analysis. Your task is to design a quantitative, descriptive content analysis project that will allow you to make statements regarding the relative social status of men and women in contemporary U.S. society.
Specifically, you want to determine whether and to what extent men are higher status than women in the U.S.1 Examples might include indications that men are generally assumed to be more competent, more worthy of esteem and prestige, more valued members of society, more influential, or that their ideas, contributions and opinions are more correct or more highly valued.
There are many other indicators of status differences. To examine this hypothesis, you will design a quantitative content analysis project studying the meaning of "gendered" cultural artifacts. Your lab report should completely address each of the following:
1. Describe in detail the social artifact that you have chosen to content analyze in terms of gender and status. Why did you select this artifact? Provide a clear and strong justification for using this particular artifact to investigate this research question.
2. Sampling design: Describe in detail a sampling plan appropriate for generating a valid description of the status of men versus women in contemporary U.S. society. Identify the unit of analysis, unit of observation, population or sampling universe, sampling frame, and describe exactly how you would select your sample (the sampling design and how you would implement it to select the particular cases that would be included in your sample). You do NOT need to select a sample, just describe how you would do it.
3. Operationalization (coding scheme): Describe exactly how you will measure gender and status and how you will then determine if/how much the genders differ in terms of status. Provide enough detail so that any other student in the class could replicate your measurement without asking for clarification (e.g., instructions and examples for counting and the base of your percentages; instructions and examples of magnitude estimation questions; etc.). Did you choose to focus on manifest or latent content, or both, and why?
4. Coding: Apply your coding scheme to two examples of the social artifact (you do not need to choose them according to your sampling plan, they can just be convenient examples to pretest your coding scheme) you have chosen to analyze (e.g., two episodes of TV shows). Describe the data for these two cases and whether they are consistent with the research hypothesis.
5. Analysis and Assessment: Assuming that you were to conduct this research project, what would be the most appropriate method for assessing the reliability and validity of your coding scheme (i.e., of your measures)? If, after completing this project, you found support for the hypothesis, would you be able to conclude that gender causes status? Why or why not (discuss how well this study meets each of the three criteria of causality)?