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Blog 13- ProPublica.org

               In my final project, I will be researching ProPublica.org.  There are two main different types of research that can be used.  Quantitative research is “research that focuses on numbers, measures, and experimentation to describe phenomena”, whereas qualitative research is “research that describes phenomena in words instead of numbers.” When I research ProPublica, I am going to watch their coverage of stories and compare the site to other major news sources, instead of looking up statistics that pertain to ProPublica. 

                In some ways, I could use ethnography to do research by immersing myself in the ProPublica world.  By merely going on the site and not commenting, just listening, I can see what is actually going on without leaving a trace or any distractions in my wake.  A detailed analysis can come from this form of observation, one that could not have been experienced had I focused on quantitative research.  In addition, participant observation will be used.  This technique is when the researcher joins the group it is studying. I can look up people’s reactions to ProPublica.com on forums and other sites to contribute to my studies. 

                Other forms of qualitative research include focus groups, small gatherings of people that discuss certain subjects.  Sadly, I cannot use this method to gather research, because finding a group willing to meet and constantly use ProPublica would be difficult.  Also, quantitative data will be very hard to utilize, which is why I didn’t consider it.  The numbers surrounding a news source, would hardly predict the skew a certain company has or the main stories it reports.  Qualitative data is the obvious choice.

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  1. February 23, 2011 at 1:03 am

    Good post. You’re right, you’ve been asked to do a hybrid kind of analysis that draws upon the quantitative effects tradition of looking at how media “frame” stories, but then utilizing qualitative methods to do a close analysis of how evidence is presented within differing stories to shape a particular view (because we don’t have time to do a complete quantitative analysis that would explore patterns in how differing news sources frame certain kinds of stories over time). Since you’re looking at “bias,” you’re right to use qualitative methods.

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