Text and content analysis
Credits: 4 ECTS
Electives in advanced research methods and techniques
In 2016-presidential campaign, Donald Trump claimed global warming to be hoax, maintained Ted Cruz's father was involved in the JFK assassination and insisted Hillary Clinton to have invented ISIS. Such claims were false, as many others on which the candidate built his campaign, but everybody knows the end result of those elections.
In the post-truth era reality seems to be exceeded by its representation: words seem to matter more than facts so that politics and, more generally, the whole democratic functioning appear increasingly subject to discursive representations. This makes the interpretation of such representations (i.e. texts) and their contents (as they take shape in public opinion, media and politics) an indispensable asset for understanding contemporary reality.
The present course aims at providing the basic tools to meet such need. This is done by dealing with the main issues related to text and content analysis. After an introductory part - placing them within the broader epistemological grounds underlying qualitative and quantitative research - class meetings delve into the main stages of text and content analysis: i) data gathering; ii) data management; iii) coding; iv) interpreting and developing findings; v) presenting results. The course holds a practical approach according to which teaching insights, discussed in the first part of each session, are put into practice through concrete applications related to current political matters and with the help of the NVivo software.
Class meetings involve lectures, presentations and data analysis exercises with the aid of software (ATLAS.ti / NVivo for Qualitative Data Analysis).
Evaluation is based on:
- in-class exercises
- group presentations
- the final report on the individual project carried out during the course.