Little Blue Book

ETHNOGRAPHIC CONTENT ANALYSIS

This chapter addresses how an ethnographic approach to document analysis is based on principles of qualitative data collection and analysis. Ethnographic content analysis (ECA) is briefly contrasted with conventional modes of quantitative content analysis to illustrate the usefulness of constant comparison for discovering emergent patterns, emphases, and themes in an analysis of TV news coverage of the Iranian hostage situation. Although later chapters examine how the protocols are constructed to aid in qualitative data collection and analysis, this overview is intended to contrast this approach with conventional quantitatively oriented content analysis. It is suggested that an ethnographic perspective can help delineate patterns of human action when document analysis is conceptualized as fieldwork. Prior research and awareness of an activity involved in the production of documents can theoretically inform sampling procedures, whereas constant comparison and discovery may be used to further delineate specific categories, as well as narrative description. In general, ...

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