Media Content Analysis


Overview: The purpose of this project is to investigate the content and structure of the media and its impact on society. Students will work in teams to identify a research question and conduct the research to find an answer to their question. They will then develop and present a PowerPoint presentation to the class to highlight their project and findings.

Step #1: Form a research group of 2 - 3 students.

Step #2: Develop a research question. This should clearly state the specific question you wish to answer.

To get you thinking….

  • How do children’s TV programs portray violence, racial or gender differences?
  • How prevalent is "X" on certain types of programs…Sex, violence, homosexuality, smoking, drug or alcohol use?
  • What types of news stories are prevalent in the evening news, on the front page, on magazine covers?
  • What percentage of (TV or newspaper) news is … crime, accidents, promotional, human interest?
  • How do commercials differ between different types of programming?
  • To what extent do different (magazines, TV shows) reflect the target market of advertisers?
  • What categories or subject matter are prevalent among… best selling books, hit movies or music, popular video games?

Step #3: Develop a research plan to gather the information. This project will focus on your ability to observe, categorize, record what you’ve observed and analyze it for content and structure. Be sure to answer each of the following questions.

  • How will you categorize your observations?
  • How will you organize your team to gather and evaluate the information?
  • How will you record your findings?

You’ll need to find a method to quantify your observations. Examples might include:

  • Timing the length of news stories.
  • Measuring the column inches or number of pages in newspaper or magazine.
  • Recording the frequency of certain categories you develop.

Step #4: Develop an evaluation plan to assess the information to answer the research question. Be sure to stay focused on answering the research question.

Step#5: Gather and analyze the information.

Step #6: Develop a presentation plan that describes how you will share the answer to each of the following with the class:

  • The research question and why your interested in answering it.
  • The rationale for your method of observation and record keeping.
  • How you gathered your data.
  • How you evaluated your data.
  • Graphic representation of the data.
  • The answer to the research question.
  • What you learned from the project.


 Peter Pappas 

Twitter: Edteck

Copyright 1999-2012, Peter Pappas
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