Principles of Methodology

* I prefer you to choose content analysis option. However, if you think you do great on historical documents option, you can do it.

Content Analysis Option: The purpose of this assignment is to conduct an analysis of social or
cultural artifacts. If you choose magazines, you need to examine six issues; tv – five hours; song lyrics
– six songs; etc. Please remember that a series of artifacts is required. If you are unsure please ask.
1. select a series of social artifacts – describe context
2. develop a research question
3. define sample – describe sampling method and how you obtained the artifacts
4. operationalize variables
5. develop a codebook (attach to assignment as an appendix – make sure that the codebook contains
aspects that your artifacts can answer, do not add materials re: audience for example)
6. describe findings – what did you see (this is where your counts assist you with proportions)
7. make links to cultural and social context
8. Need two academic sources (can be used to frame social and cultural context, methodology,
findings, etc.)
9. five pages, double spaced…

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Historical Documents Option: The purpose of this assignment is to think about social interactions
using a different medium – documents.
1. Select a topic/period to study, develop a research question
2. Describe the context of that period
3. Find an appropriate document (and attach to assignment – no mass media, journal articles, images
or pictures, etc.) You also need to access the document through an archive not a random website. If
you are looking at accessing online materials that is fine, however it still needs to come from an
archive. You need to discuss your process of accessing and locating the document.
4. How does the document fit into the period
5. Using Allmendinger and Bederman perform an analysis of the document
6. Need two academic sources to frame your context
7. Five pages

No, you cannot use the examples you worked on in class.
If you are interested in visiting any archives around town, I have been to most of them and can speak
to access and processes if you wish.

Content analysis
– Art and culture are created in a specific time and as such the values of that time and society
are imbued in the social artifact. This is why context is important and one of the questions
that content analysis attempts to answer – how are a society’s values and norms, attitudes
and ideas reflected in the artifact. This is also connected to the question on describing your
findings, the data that you generate through your codebook is analyzed through the lens of
context. While describing your findings part of it is about addressing the counts and
amounts that you have got but it is also about the language and discourses that are reflective of
a specific time and place. How do we refer to and understand class, gender, race, norms,
language descriptors, etc.?

When I ask for you to operationalize your variables I am looking for you to define your terms.
We’ve talked about this in class but it is the word operationalize that is tripping some of you up.
I’ve employed the language of methodology and this term is in both your text and your class notes.
Your codebook needs to have not only the main variable but the words and phrases that comprise
that variable and are found in your artifact.

This is a medieval pancake recipe… remember our discussion of paleography? This will offer an
example of the process of reading an archival document.

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