Are female and male athletes at the professional and also college levels treated equally? You could think, 40 years considering that the passing of Title IX (the civil rights law that prohibits sex discrimination in education consisting of athletics) and also through the flourishing visibility of woguys athletes in sporting activities such as golf, basketround, hocvital, and also tennis, that the answer would certainly be a basic yes. But Professor Michael Messner’s (2002)Messner, M. A. (2002). Taking the field: Womales, males, and sports. Minneapolis: College of Minnesota Press. unobtrusive study shows otherwise, as does Professors Jo Ann M. Buysse and also Melissa Sheridan Embser-Herbert’s (2004)Buysse, J. A. M., & Embser-Herbert, M. S. (2004). Constructions of sex in sport: An evaluation of intercollegiate media guide cover photographs. Gender & Society, 18, 66–81. content evaluation of college athletics media guide photographs. In reality, Buysse and Embser-Herbert’s unobtrusive study mirrors that traditional definitions of femininity are fiercely preserved through colleges’ visual representations of womales athletes as passive and also overtly feminine (as opposed to strong and athletic). In enhancement, Messner and colleagues’ (Messner, Dunhave the right to, & Jensen, 1993)Messner, M. A., Dundeserve to, M. C., & Jensen, K. (1993). Separating the guys from the girls: The gendered language of televised sporting activities. Gender & Society, 7, 121–137. content evaluation of verbal commentary in televised coverage of men’s and also women’s sporting activities reflects that announcers’ comments differ relying on an athlete’s gender identification. Such commentary not only infantilizes women athletes but likewise asserts an ambivalent stance towards their accomplishments.

You are watching: Unobtrusive measures can reduce the problem(s) of

Without unobtrusive study we can be inclined to think that more has actually readjusted for woguys athletes over the past 40 years than actually has actually readjusted.

In this chapter, we check out unobtrusive methods of collecting information. Unobtrusive research describes approaches of collecting information that don’t interfere through the topics under examine (bereason these approaches are not obtrusive). Both qualitative and quantitative researchers usage unobtrusive study methods. Unobtrusive methods share the distinct high quality that they perform not call for the researcher to interact with the world he or she is studying. It may seem starray that sociology, a technique dedicated to expertise humale social habits, would employ a methodology that calls for no interactivity with human beings. But people create plenty of evidence of their behaviors—they write letters to the editor of their regional paper, they create assorted sources of entertainment for themselves such as movies and televisions mirrors, they consume products, they walk on sidewalks, they lie on the grass in public parks. All these tasks leave something behind—worn nlinux.org, trash, tape-recorded reflects, and also printed papers. These are all potential sources of data for the unobtrusive researcher.

Sociologists interested in background are most likely to usage unobtrusive methods, which are also well suited to comparative study. Historical comparative research is “research study that focuses either on one or more situations over time (the historical part) or on even more than one country or society at one allude in time (the comparative part)” (Esterberg, 2002, p. 129).Esterberg, K. G. (2002). Qualitative methods in social research. Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill. While not all unobtrusive researchers necessarily conduct historic, comparative, or also some combicountry of historic and also comparative job-related, unobtrusive methods are well suited to such work. As an example, Melissa Weiner (2010)Weiner, M. (2010). Power, protest, and the public schools: Jewish and Afrihave the right to Amerihave the right to battles in New York City. Piscatamethod, NJ: Rutgers University Press. supplied a historical comparative approach to research racial obstacles historically competent by Jews and also Afrideserve to Americans in New York City public colleges. Weiner analyzed public records from numerous years of newsfiles, trial transcripts, and also a number of organizations as well as exclusive manumanuscript collections to understand just how paleas, youngsters, and other activists responded to inetop quality and functioned to recreate institutions. Not only did this job-related indevelop readers about the little-well-known similarities between Jewish and African American experiences, yet it likewise indevelops existing disputes over inecharacteristics skilled in public institutions this day.


In this chapter, we’ll study content evaluation and also evaluation of data built up by others. Both forms of evaluation have in prevalent their use of data that execute not call for direct interaction with huguy topics, yet the certain form and also source of information for each form of analysis differs. We’ll discover these similarities and also distinctions in the complying with sections, after we look at some of the pros and cons of unobtrusive research study techniques.

Key Takeaways

Unobtrusive techniques permit researchers to collect information without interfering via the topics under research.Historical comparative techniques, which are unobtrusive, emphasis on alters in multiple situations over time or on more than one country or culture at a solitary allude in time.


What are some extra resources of unobtrusive data, aside from those currently stated, that sociologists might take interest in examining?What places might you like to compare in your own research? Are tright here transforms that take place over time that you can be interested in exploring? Explain.

Learning Objectives

Identify the significant toughness of unobtrusive research.Identify the significant weaknesses of unobtrusive research study.Define researcher bias.Define the Hawthorne impact.

As is true of the various other research types examined in this text, unobtrusive research has actually a variety of staminas and numerous weaknesses.

Strengths of Unobtrusive Research

Researchers that seek evidence of what people actually do, as opposed to what they say they execute (as in survey and also interview research), could wish to consider utilizing unobtrusive methods. Field researchers may likewise claim this advantage over intersee and also survey research study, however area researchers cannot be certain around what result their visibility in the area might have on the people and also the interactions that they observe. While unobtrusive study tasks, favor all research tasks, confront the threat of introducing researcher bias into the work, researchers employing unobtrusive techniques perform not have to be involved about the result of the research on their subjects. This effect, recognized as the Hawthorne effect, is not a problem for unobtrusive researchers bereason they carry out not communicate straight through their study participants. In reality, this is among the significant strengths of unobtrusive research.

Anvarious other advantage of unobtrusive study is that it can be reasonably low-cost compared to some of the other approaches we’ve questioned. Because “participants” are mostly inanimate objects as opposed to human beings, researchers may have the ability to access data without having actually to concern about paying participants for their time (though absolutely take a trip to or accessibility to some documents and also archives can be costly).

Unobtrusive research study is additionally pretty foroffering. It is much much easier to correct mistakes made in data collection once conducting unobtrusive study than when making use of any of the other techniques defined in this message. Imagine what you would certainly execute, for example, if you realized at the finish of conducting 50 detailed interviews that you’d accidentally omitted two critical inquiries from your intersee overview. What are your options? Reintersee all 50 participants? Try to number out what they can have actually shelp based upon their various other responses? Reframe your research study question? Scratch the project entirely? Obviously namong these alternatives is right. The exact same troubles aclimb if a mistake is made in survey study. For field researchers, the consequences of “messing up” in the time of data repertoire have the right to be also even more devastating. Imagine finding out after tagging alengthy on a political candidate’s campaign that you needed a “do-over.” In this instance, that ssuggest isn’t an choice. The project is over, and you’d have to discover a new resource of information. Fortunately for unobtrusive researchers, going ago to the source of the information to gather more indevelopment or correct some trouble in the original data repertoire is a fairly straightforward prospect.

Finally, as defined in Section 11.1 “Unobtrusive Research: What Is It and When to Use It?”, unobtrusive research study is well suited to research studies that emphasis on procedures that take place over time. While longitudinal surveys and also long-term area monitorings are also suitable ways of gathering such indevelopment, they cannot research processes that developed years prior to data arsenal started, nor are they the most cost-efficient methods to study long-varying procedures. Unobtrusive methods, on the other hand also, permit researchers to investigate events and also procedures that have actually long because passed. They additionally perform not count on retrospective accounts, which may be subject to errors in memory, as some longitudinal surveys perform.

In amount, the strengths of unobtrusive study include the following:

Tright here is no possibility for the Hawthorne result.The method is price effectiveIt is less complicated in unobtrusive research study than through various other approaches to correct mistakes.Unobtrusive approaches are conducive to studying processes that take place over time or in the past.

Weaknesses of Unobtrusive Research

While there are many kind of benefits to unobtrusive research study, this approach additionally comes with a distinct set of drawbacks. Since unobtrusive researchers analyze information that might have been developed or gathered for objectives totally various from the researcher’s aim, problems of validity occasionally aincrease in such projects. It might also be the situation that information sources measuring whatever a researcher wishes to research sindicate carry out not exist. This suggests that unobtrusive researchers may be required to tweak their original research study interests or concerns to much better suit the information that are easily accessible to them. Finally, it have the right to be hard in unobtrusive research jobs to account for context. In a field research study task, for example, the researcher is able to view what events lead as much as some occurrence and also observe exactly how people respond to that event. What this suggests for unobtrusive research is that while it have the right to be tough to ascertain why somepoint arisen, we have the right to obtain a good expertise of what has actually arisen.

In amount, the weaknesses of unobtrusive research encompass the following:

Tbelow might be potential problems via validity.The topics or questions that deserve to be investigated are limited by information availcapacity.It can be tough to view or account for social conmessage.

Key Takeaways

Unobtrusive study is cost effective and also permits for much easier correction of mistakes than other techniques of data arsenal execute.The Hawthorne result, which occurs as soon as research subjects change their habits bereason they recognize they are being stupassed away, is not a threat in unobtrusive study as it is in various other techniques of data repertoire.Weaknesses of unobtrusive study incorporate potential problems with validity, limitations in information availability, and also obstacle in accounting for social conmessage.


What execute you view as the most vital stamina and also the most essential weakness of unobtrusive research? Why?

Learning Objectives

Define content analysis.Describe the kinds of messages that content experts analyze.Name at least 2 examples of content analysis research.Define main and also secondary resources, describe their distinctions, and provide an instance of each.Define physical traces and compare them to product artefacts.Overview the distinctions in between manifest content and latent content.Discuss the differences in between qualitative and quantitative content analysis.Describe code sheets and also their objective.

This area focuses on exactly how to gather data unobtrusively and also what to execute via those information once they have been accumulated. There are two primary methods of gathering data unobtrusively: conducting a content analysis of existing texts and analyzing physical traces of humale habits. We’ll discover both viewpoints.

Content Analysis

One method of conducting unobtrusive research study is to analyze messages. Texts come in all kinds of formats. At its core, content analysis addresses the concerns of “Who says what, to whom, why, how, and via what effect?” (Babbie, 2010, pp. 328–329).Babbie, E. (2010). The exercise of social research (12th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. Content analysis is a form of unobtrusive research study that involves the research of human interactions. Another method to think of content evaluation is as a method of examining texts and their interpretation. Here we use a more liberal interpretation of text than you might discover in your dictionary. The text that content experts investigate has such things as actual written copy (e.g., newsrecords or letters) and content that we can check out or hear (e.g., speeches or other performances). Content analysts could also investigate more visual depictions of humale interaction such as television mirrors, advertisements, or movies. The adhering to table offers a couple of certain examples of the kinds of data that content experts have actually examined in prior research studies. Which of these resources of information could be of interemainder to you?

Table 11.1 Content Analysis Examples

DataResearch questionAuthor(s) (year)
Spam e-mailsWhat is the create, content, and amount of unsolicited e-mails?Berzins (2009)Berzins, M. (2009). Spams, scams, and also shams: Content analysis of unsolicited email. International Journal of Technology, Knowledge, and also Society, 5, 143–154.
James Bond filmsHow are female characters shown in James Bond films, and what wider lessons deserve to be attracted from these portrayals?Neuendorf, Gore, Dalessandro, Janstova, and Snyder-Suhy (2010)Neuendorf, K. A., Gore, T. D., Dalessandro, A., Janstova, P., & Snyder-Suhy, S. (2010). Shaken and stirred: A content evaluation of women’s portrayals in James Bond films. Sex Roles, 62, 747–761.
Console video gamesHow is male and female sexuality depicted in the best-marketing console video games?Downs and also Smith (2010)Downs, E., & Smith, S. L. (2010). Keeping abreastern of hypersexuality: A video game character content evaluation. Sex Roles, 62,721–733.
Newspaper articlesHow carry out newsfiles cover closed-circuit television monitoring in Canada, and also what are the ramifications of coverage for public opinion and policymaking?Greenberg and also Hier (2009)Greenberg, J., & Hier, S. (2009). CCTV surveillance and also the poverty of media discourse: A content analysis of Canadian newspaper coverage. Canadian Journal of Communication, 34, 461–486.
Pro-eating disorder websitesWhat are the features of pro-eating disorder websites, and also what are the messages to which individuals may be exposed?Borzekowski, Schenk, Wilkid, and also Peebles (2010)Borzekowski, D. L. G., Schenk, S., Wilchild, J. L., & Peebles, R. (2010). e-Ana and also e-Mia: A content evaluation of pro-eating disorder Net sites. Amerihave the right to Journal of Public Health, 100, 1526–1534.

One point you can alert about Table 11.1 “Content Analysis Examples” is that the information resources represent main resources. That is, they are original. Secondary resources, on the various other hand, are those that have currently been analyzed. Shulamit Reinharz uses a useful way of separating in between these two types of resources in her techniques text. She defines that while major sources recurrent the “‘raw’ materials of history,” additional resources are the “‘cooked’ analyses of those materials” (1992, p. 155).Reinharz, S. (1992). Feminist approaches in social research. New York, NY: Oxford College Press. The distinction between primary and additional sources is vital for many type of elements of social scientific research, however it is especially crucial to understand once conducting content analysis. While tbelow are absolutely instances of content analysis in which secondary resources are analyzed, I think it is safe to say that it is more prevalent for content analysts to analyze primary resources.


In those instances where additional resources are analyzed, the researcher’s emphasis is usually on the procedure through which the original analyst or presenter of information reached his conclusions or on the options that were made in regards to how and also in what ways to current the data. For example, Ferree and Hall (1990)Ferree, M. M., & Hall, E. J. (1990). Visual imeras of American society: Gender and also race in introductory sociology textpublications. Gender & Society, 4(4), 500–533. conducted a content analysis of introductory sociology textpublications, however their aim was not to learn about the content of sociology as a technique. Instead, the researchers sought to learn just how students are taught the subject of sociology and understand also what imeras are presented to students as representative of sociology as a self-control.

Sometimes students new to research study approaches battle to understand the distinction between a content evaluation of second resources and also a testimonial of literature, which is disputed in Chapter 5 “Research Design”. In a testimonial of literature, researchers analyze second materials to try to understand what we recognize, and what we don’t recognize, about a particular topic. The sources supplied to conduct a academic testimonial of the literature are generally peer-reviewed resources, created by trained scholars, publiburned in some academic journal or push, and based on empirical research study that has actually been performed utilizing accepted methods of information arsenal for the technique (academic theoretical pieces are contained in literature reviews as well). These resources are culled in a evaluation of literary works in order to arrive at some conclusion about our in its entirety understanding around a topic. Findings are primarily taken at challenge worth.

Conversely, a content analysis of scholarly literature would certainly raise questions not increased in a literary works testimonial. A content analyst could examine scholarly posts to learn somepoint around the authors (e.g., Who publishes what, where?), publication outlets (e.g., How well perform various journals reexisting the diversity of the discipline?), or topics (e.g., How has actually the popularity of topics shifted over time?). A content analysis of academic write-ups would certainly be a “study of the studies” as opposed to a “evaluation of studies.” Perhaps, for instance, a researcher wishes to recognize whether even more men than women authors are publiburned in the top-ranking journals in the technique. The researcher could conduct a content analysis of different journals and also count authors by gender (though this may be a tricky prospect if relying only on names to indicate gender). Or possibly a researcher would certainly like to learn whether or just how various topics of investigation go in and out of style. She could investigate transforms over time in topical coverage in various journals. In these last two instances, the researcher is not aiming to summarize the content of the write-ups yet instead is looking to learn somepoint around exactly how, why, or by whom particular articles happened published.

Content analysis deserve to be qualitative or quantitative, and also often researchers will usage both techniques to strengthen their investigations. In qualitative content evaluation the aim is to identify themes in the message being analyzed and to identify the underlying definition of those themes. A graduate student colleague of mine as soon as carried out qualitative content analysis in her examine of national identity in the USA. To understand how the limits of citizenship were created in the USA, Alyssa Goolsby (2007)Goolsby, A. (2007). U.S. immigration plan in the regulatory era: Meaning and also principles in state disnlinux.org of citizenship (Unpubliburned master’s thesis). Department of Sociology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN. carried out a qualitative content evaluation of essential historical congressional arguments focused on immigration regulation. Quantitative content analysis, on the other hand, involves assigning numerical worths to raw data so that it deserve to be analyzed using various statistical procedures. One of my research collaborators, Jakid Houle, performed a quantitative content evaluation of song lyrics. Inspired by an write-up on the relationships in between fame, chronic self-consciousness (as measured by regular usage of first-person pronouns), and self-disastrous behavior (Schaller, 1997),Schaller, M. (1997). The psychological aftermath of fame: Three tests of the self-consciousness hypothesis. Journal of Personality, 65, 291–309. Houle counted first-perboy pronouns in Elliott Smith song lyrics. Houle uncovered that Smith’s use of self-referential pronouns increased steadily from the moment of his first album release in 1994 till his suicide in 2003 (2008).Houle, J. (2008). Elliott Smith’s self referential pronouns by album/year. Prepared for teaching SOC 207, Research Methods, at Pennsylvania State University, Department of Sociology. We’ll sophisticated on how qualitative and quantitative researchers collect, code, and also analyze unobtrusive data in the last percentage of this section.

Indirect Measures

Texts are not the only kind of information that researchers can collect unobtrusively. Unobtrusive researchers could likewise be interested in analyzing the proof that people leave behind that tells us something about that they are or what they carry out. This sort evidence contains the physical traces left by human beings and also the material artifacts that tell us somepoint around their ideas, values, or norms. Physical traces incorporate such things as worn paths throughout campus, the products in a landfill or in someone’s trash can (a data resource William Rathje and colleagues Rathje, W. (1992). How much alcohol execute we drink? It’s a question…so to sheight. Garbage, 4, 18–19; Rathje, W., & Murthy, C. (1992). Garbage demographics. American Demographics, 14, 50–55. have actually used), indentations in furniture, or empty shelves in the grocery keep. Examples of product artifacts include video games and video game tools, sculptures, mementos left on gravestones, real estate structures, or also kitchen tools. What kinds of physical traces or product artefacts could be of interemainder to you?

I recently visited the National Museum of Amerideserve to History in Washington, DC. While there I experienced an exhilittle bit displaying chef Julia Child’s house kitchen, where she filmed many of her famous cooking shows. Seeing the kitchen made me wonder how food preparation has actually adjusted over the past few decades since Child’s mirrors were on air. I wondered just how the layout of our kitchens and also the tools and appliances they contain can affect just how we entertain guests, exactly how a lot time we spend preparing meals, and exactly how much time we spfinish cleaning up afterward. Our use of certain kitchen devices and utensils could even indicate somepoint around our social course identities.Watch the adhering to clip, featuring satirist Joe Queenan, from the PBS documentary People Like Us on social course in the United States: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_Rtl3Y4EuI. The clip aptly demonstprices the sociological relevance of kitchen devices. Answers to these concerns have actually bearing on our norms and interactions as humans; therefore they are simply the sorts of inquiries sociologists using unobtrusive approaches can be interested in answering. I snapped a few photos of the kitchen while at the museum. Though the glass neighboring the exhilittle avoids right photo taking, I hope the photos in Figure 11.4 provide you an principle of what I experienced. Might the organizational plan provided in this kitchen, or the appliances that are either existing or lacking from it, shape the answers to the inquiries I pose over around human habits and interactions?


A visit to Chef Julia Child’s kitchen at the National Museum of Amerideserve to History motivated the author to think about just how kitchens, kitchen utensils, and also kitchen appliances have adjusted over time.

One difficulty through analyzing physical traces and also material artifacts is that you mainly don’t have actually access to the world who left the traces or created the artifacts that you are analyzing. (And if you did discover a method to contact them, then your research study would no longer qualify as unobtrusive!) It deserve to be particularly tricky to analyze interpretations of these products if they come from some historic or social context other than your own. Situating the traces or artifacts you wish to analyze both in their original conmessages and in your own is not always simple and also can lead to problems related to validity and relicapacity. How perform you know that you are viewing a things or physical map in the way that it was intended to be viewed? Do you have the important knowledge or expertise about the background of its original creators or customers to understand also wright here they were coming from once they created it?

Imagine an alien trying to understand also some element of Western human culture sindicate by researching our artefacts. Cartoonist Mark Parisi demonstprices the misunderstanding that could ensue in his illustration featuring 3 incredibly little aliens standing apeak a toilet. One alien states, “Due to the fact that water is the life-blood on this planet, this should be a holy place of some type.…Let’s stick roughly and see how they show their respect” (1989).Parisi, M. (1989). Alien cartoon 6. Off the Mark. Retrieved from http://www.offthemark.com/aliens/aliens06.htm Without a contextual expertise of Western human society, the aliens have misestablished the objective of the toilet, and also they will be in for quite a surpclimb as soon as someone shows as much as usage it!

The allude is that while physical traces and material artifacts make terrific resources of information, analyzing their interpretation takes even more than simply trying to understand them from your own contextual position. You have to also be conscious of who caused the physical map or created the artitruth, as soon as they created it, why they created, and also for whom they created it. Answering these concerns will certainly need accessing products in enhancement to the traces or artefacts themselves. It might require accessing historic papers or, if a modern map or artireality, perhaps an additional approach of information repertoire such as interviews via its creators.

Analysis of Unobtrusive File Collected by You

Once you have actually established the collection of messages, physical traces, or artifacts that you would choose to analyze, the following step is to figure out how you’ll analyze them. This action needs that you recognize your procedures for coding, understand the distinction between manifest and latent content, and also understand also how to recognize patterns throughout your coded data. We’ll start by mentioning steps for coding.

You could recall being presented to coding steps in Chapter 9 “Interviews: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches”, wright here we disputed the coding of qualitative interwatch data. While the coding actions offered for written files derived unobtrusively might resemble those offered to code interview information, many kind of resources of unobtrusive data differ substantially from written papers or transcripts. What if your information are sculptures or worn nlinux.org, or maybe kitchen tools, as in the formerly discussed example? The concept of conducting open coding and also concentrated coding on these sources as you would certainly for a written record sounds a tiny silly, not to mention impossible. So exactly how do we start to recognize fads throughout the sculptures or worn routes or tools we wish to analyze? One option is to take field notes as we observe our data and also then code patterns in those notes. Let’s say, for instance, that we’d like to analyze kitchen utensils. Taking area notes could be a beneficial strategy were we conducting monitorings of world actually using tools in a documentary or on a tv regimen. (Remember, if we’re observing people in person then our method is no much longer unobtrusive.)

If fairly than observing human being in documentaries or television reflects our information encompass a collection of actual tools, note taking might not be the most reliable method to document our monitorings. Instead, we can develop a code sheet to record details about the tools in our sample. A code sheet, periodically referred to as a tally sheet in quantitative coding, is the instrument an unobtrusive researcher uses to document observations.

In the instance of kitchen tools, perhaps we’re interested in how utensils have changed over time. If we had accessibility to sales documents for tools over the previous 50 years, we can analyze the top-offering utensil for annually. To do so, we’d desire to make some notes about each of the 50 tools contained in our sample. For each top-rated utensil, we could note its name, its function, and also maybe its price in current dollar amounts. We could additionally want to make some assessment about just how straightforward or difficult it is to usage or some other qualitative assessment around the utensil and also its use or function. To price the challenge of usage we might usage a 5-suggest scale, with 1 being incredibly simple to use and 5 being extremely challenging to usage. We could also document other notes or observations around the tools that may not take place to us until we actually see the tools. Our code sheet could look somepoint favor the sample displayed in Table 11.2 “Sample Code Sheet for Study of Kitchen Utensil Popularity Over Time”. Note that the sample sheet has columns just for 10 years’ worth of tools. If you were to conduct this job, obviously you’d have to create a code sheet that permits you to record monitorings for each of the 50 items in your sample.

Table 11.2 Sample Code Sheet for Study of Kitchen Utensil Popularity Over Time

Utensil name
Utensil purpose
Price (in 2011 $)
Ease of usage (1–5 scale)
Other notes

As you deserve to view, our code sheet will contain both qualitative and quantitative information. Our “ease of use” rating is a quantitative assessment; we deserve to therefore conduct some statistical analysis of the fads below, perhaps noting the suppose worth on ease of usage for each decade we’ve observed. We might carry out the same point via the information gathered in the row labeled Price, which is likewise quantitative. The final row of our sample code sheet, containing notes about our impressions of the tools we observe, will contain qualitative data. We might conduct open and also concentrated coding on these notes to determine patterns throughout those notes. In both situations, whether the information being coded are quantitative or qualitative, the aim is to recognize trends throughout the coded information.

The Purpose row in our sample code sheet gives an opportunity for assessing both manifest and also latent content. Manifest content is the content we observe that is many apparent; it is the surconfront content. This is in contrast to latent content, which is much less apparent. Latent content refers to the underlying interpretation of the surconfront content we observe. In the instance of utensil function, we could say a utensil’s manifest content is the stated purpose of the utensil. The latent content would certainly be our assessment of what it means that a utensil via a specific objective is height rated. Perhaps after coding the manifest content in this category we see some trends that tell us somepoint about the interpretations of utensil function. Perhaps we conclude, based on the interpretations of top-rated utensils throughout five years, that the change from a focus on utensils designed to facilitate entertaining in the 1960s to those designed to maximize effectiveness and minimize time spent in the kitchen in the 1980s reflects a transition in how (and just how much) world spfinish time in their residences.

Kathleen Denny’s (2011)Denny, K. (2011). Gender in conmessage, content, and approach: Comparing sex messages in Girl Scout and Boy Scout handpublications. Gender & Society, 25, 27–47. current examine of scouting manuals provides another fantastic example of the distinctions between manifest and also latent content. Denny compared Boy Scout and also Girl Scout handpublications to understand sex socializing among scouts. By counting activity forms defined in the manuals, Denny learned from this manifest content that boys are offered more individual-based and also more scientific activities while girls are available even more group-based and even more artistic activities. Denny additionally analyzed the latent meaning of the messeras that scouting handpublications portray around gender; she discovered that girls were encouraged to become “up-to-date traditional women” while boys were urged to embrace “an assertive heteronormative masculinity” (p. 27).

Key Takeaways

Content analysts examine humale interactions.The texts that content experts analyze incorporate actual written texts such as newsfiles or journal entries and also visual and auditory resources such as television shows, advertisements, or movies.Content experts the majority of commonly analyze main sources, though in some instances they may analyze second resources.Instraight procedures that content analysts examine encompass physical traces and also material artefacts.Manifest content is apparent; latent content is underlying.Content analysts use code sheets to collect information.


Identify a study question you could answer utilizing unobtrusive research. Now state a testeady hypothesis having to carry out through your study question. Next determine at least two potential sources of information you can analyze to answer your research question and test your hypothesis.Create a code sheet for each of the 2 potential sources of data that you figured out in the coming before exercise.

Learning Objectives

Name at leastern 2 sources of publicly easily accessible quantitative information.Name at least 2 sources of publicly easily accessible qualitative data.

One benefit (or disadvantage, depending on which components of the study process you most enjoy) of unobtrusive research is that you may have the ability to skip the data collection phase altogether. Whether you wish to analyze qualitative information or quantitative information resources, tbelow are a number of free data sets accessible to social researchers. This area introduces you to several of those resources.

Many kind of sources of quantitative data are publicly obtainable. The General Social Survey (GSS), which was questioned in Chapter 8 “Survey Research: A Quantitative Technique”, is among the most typically provided resources of publicly accessible data among quantitative researchers (http://www.norc.uchicearlier.edu/GSS+Website). Data for the GSS have actually been built up consistently considering that 1972, thus offering social researchers the chance to investigate alters in Americans’ mindsets and beliefs over time. Questions on the GSS cover a really broad variety of topics, from household life to political and religious beliefs to job-related experiences.

Other sources of quantitative data include Add Health (http://www.cpc.unc.edu/projects/addhealth), a study that was initiated in 1994 to learn about the stays and also actions of teens in the United States, and also the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study (http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/wlsresearch), a research that has, for over 40 years, surveyed 10,000 women and males that graduated from Wisconsin high schools in 1957. Quantitative researchers interested in examining social processes external of the USA also have actually many type of options when it comes to publicly easily accessible information sets. Documents from the British Houseorganize Panel Study (http://www.iser.essex.ac.uk/bhps), a longitudinal, representative survey of families in Britain, are easily available to those conducting academic research study (exclusive entities are charged for access to the data). The Internationwide Social Survey Programme (http://www.issp.org) merges the GSS through its counterparts in various other nations roughly the world. These reexisting just a few of the many sources of publicly obtainable quantitative information.

Unfortunately for qualitative researchers, much fewer resources of totally free, publicly available qualitative information exist. This is progressively changing, but, as technical sophistication grows and it becomes easier to digitize and share qualitative information. In spite of comparatively fewer resources than for quantitative data, tright here are still a number of data sources available to qualitative researchers whose interests or resources limit their capability to collect information on their own. The Murray Research Archive Harvard, housed at the Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard University, provides case backgrounds and also qualitative interview data (http://dvn.iq.harvard.edu/dvn/dv/mra). The Global Feminisms project at the University of Michigan offers intersee transcripts and videotape-recorded dental histories focused on feminist activism; women’s movements; and academic women’s studies in China, India, Poland also, and also the USA.These information are not free, though they are easily accessible at a reasonable price. See the Global Feminism’s order website for even more on pricing: http://www.umich.edu/~glblfem/dvd.html; http://www.umich.edu/~glblfem/index.html. At the University of Connectireduced, the Oral History Office provides links to a variety of other dental history sites (http://www.oralhistory.uconn.edu/web links.html). Not all the links offer publicly accessible information, yet many kind of carry out. Finally, the Southern Historical Collection at University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill offers digital versions of many kind of primary documents online such as journals, letters, correspondence, and other papers that record the background and also society of the Amerihave the right to South (http://dc.lib.unc.edu/ead/archivalresidence.php?CISOROOT=/ead).

Keep in mind that the sources mentioned here reexisting just a snapshot of the many kind of sources of publicly accessible information that can be easily accessed via the web. Table 11.3 “Sources of Publicly Available Data” summarizes the information resources questioned in this area.

Table 11.3 Sources of Publicly Available Data

Organizational homeFocus/topicDataNet address
National Opinion Research CenterGeneral Social Survey; demographic, behavior, attitudinal, and distinct interemainder questions; national sampleQuantitativehttp://www.norc.uchicearlier.edu/GSS+Website/
Carolina Population CenterAdd Health; longitudinal social, financial, emotional, and also physical well-being of cohort in qualities 7–12 in 1994Quantitativehttp://www.cpc.unc.edu/projects/addhealth
Center for Demography of Health and AgingWisconsin Longitudinal Study; life course study of cohorts that graduated from high institution in 1957Quantitativehttp://www.ssc.wisc.edu/wlsresearch/
Institute for Social & Economic ResearchBritish Househost Panel Survey; longitudinal study of British resides and well-beingQuantitativehttp://www.iser.essex.ac.uk/bhps
Internationwide Social Survey ProgrammeInternationwide data comparable to GSSQuantitativehttp://www.issp.org/
The Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard UniversityLarge archive of created information, audio, and also video focused on many topicsQuantitative and qualitativehttp://dvn.iq.harvard.edu/dvn/dv/mra
Institute for Research on Women and GenderGlobal Feminisms Project; interwatch transcripts and oral backgrounds on feminism and women’s activismQualitativehttp://www.umich.edu/~glblfem/index.html
Oral History OfficeDescriptions and links to countless dental background archivesQualitativehttp://www.oralbackground.uconn.edu/web links.html
UNC Wilkid LibraryDigitized manumanuscript arsenal from the Southern Historical CollectionQualitativehttp://dc.lib.unc.edu/ead/archivalresidence.php?CISOROOT=/ead

While the public and also totally free sharing of data has become significantly common over the years, and also it is an increasingly prevalent necessity of those who fund research study, Harvard researchers freshly learned of the potential dangers of making one’s data obtainable to all (Parry, 2011).Parry, M. (2011, July 10). Harvard researchers accused of bgetting to students’ privacy. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from http://chronicle.com/article/Harvards-Privacy-Meltdown/128166 In 2008, Professor Nicholas Christakis, Jason Kaufman, and colleagues, of Harvard’s Berkmale Center for Internet & Society, rolled out the first wave of their data accumulated from the propapers of 1,700 Facebook users (2008).Berkman Center for Net & Society. (2008, September 25). Tastes, ties, and also time: Facebook information release. Retrieved from http://cyber.legislation.harvard.edu/node/4682 But shortly after that, the researchers were required to deny public accessibility to the data after it was found that topics could conveniently be established with some mindful mining of the data set. Perhaps just time and also additional experience will tell what the future holds for raised access to information gathered by others.


Key Takeaways

Previously built up information resources allow researchers to conduct analysis without having actually to collect any kind of of their very own information.Some publicly available information resources are quantitative; others are qualitative.

Learning Objectives

Define stability and also define techniques for overcoming troubles of stability.Define reproducibility and also describe tactics for overcoming troubles of reproducibility.Define accuracy and also explain tactics for overcoming troubles of accuracy.

This last section of the chapter investigates a few particularities pertained to relicapacity in unobtrusive research study projects (Krippendorff, 2009)Krippendorff, K. (2009). Testing the reliability of content evaluation data: What is associated and also why. In K. Krippendorff & M. A. Bock (Eds.), The content evaluation reader (pp. 350–357). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. that warrant our attention. These particularities need to execute via just how and by whom the coding of information occurs. Issues of stcapacity, reproducibility, and also accuracy all sheight to the distinct problems—and opportunities—through creating relicapacity in unobtrusive research jobs.

Stability refers to the extent to which the results of coding vary throughout various time durations. If stcapacity is a problem, it will disclose itself as soon as the same perkid codes the exact same content at various times and comes up via various outcomes. Coding is said to be secure once the same content has been coded multiple times by the same person through the exact same result each time. If you discover problems of instcapacity in your coding measures, it is feasible that your coding rules are ambiguous and must clarified. Ambiguities in the message itself could also contribute to troubles of stcapability. While you cannot change your original textual data sources, ssuggest being aware of possible ambiguities in the data as you code might help minimize the likelihood of difficulties with stcapability. It is likewise possible that difficulties via stability may outcome from a straightforward coding error, such as inadvertently jotting a 1 instead of a 10 on your code sheet.

Reproducibility, periodically described as intercoder relicapacity (Lombard, Snyder-Duch, & Campanella Bracken, 2010),Lombard, M., Snyder-Duch, J., & Campanella Bracken, C. (2004). Practical resources for assessing and also reporting intercoder reliability in content evaluation research projects. Retrieved from http://astro.holy place.edu/~lombard/reliability is the level to which one’s coding steps will bring about the very same outcomes when the same text is coded by various people. Cognitive differences among the people coding data might bring about problems via reproducibility, as could ambiguous coding instructions. Random coding errors could also reason difficulties. One method of overcoming problems of reproducibility is to have coders code together. While working as a graduate study assistant, I participated in a content evaluation job in which 4 people common the duty for coding information. To mitigate the potential for reproducibility problems via our coding, we carried out our coding at the exact same time in the exact same room, while sitting approximately a large, round table. We coded at the same time in the very same room so that we might consult one another when we ran right into troubles or had actually concerns about what we were coding. Refixing those ambiguities together expected that we prospered to have actually a shared understanding of exactly how to code assorted bits of information.

Finally, accuracy refers to the extent to which one’s coding steps correspond to some preexisting standard. This presumes that a traditional coding strategy has already been establimelted for whatever before text you’re analyzing. It may not be the situation that main criteria have actually been collection, however permaking use of the prior literary works for the cumulative wisdom on coding on your specific area is time well invested. Scholarship focused on equivalent data or coding steps will no doubt aid you to clarify and improve your very own coding procedures.

See more: Which Of The Following Examples Contains A Subordinating Conjunction? ?

Key Takeaways

Stability deserve to end up being an concern in unobtrusive research study task when the results of coding by the exact same perchild differ throughout different time periods.Reproducibility hregarding do with multiple coders’ outcomes being the same for the same message.Accuracy refers to the level to which one’s coding measures correspond to some preexisting typical.


With a peer, produce a code sheet that you have the right to use to document instances of violence on the tv routine of your alternative. Now, on your own, watch 2 or three episodes of that regime, coding for instances of violence as you go alengthy. Your peer need to execute the same. Finally, compare your code sheet to that of your peer. How comparable were you in your coding? Where carry out your coding outcomes differ, and also why? Which concerns of relicapability might be relevant?