In order to prepare a successful research project, a qualitative researcher often must consult media documents of various types. Authors David L. Altheide and Christopher J. Schneider show readers how to obtain, categorize, and analyze these different media documents in this entry in the Qualitative Research Methods series. They look at traditional primary documents such as newspapers and magazines but also at more recent forms--television newscasts and cyberspace. The use of student examples of research protocols makes this book a useful primer in deriving meaning from the bombardment of media documents a qualitative researcher faces.
Numerous comments and suggestions from researchers who have used the guidelines in the 1996 book have informed our efforts to integrate the new material and in some cases, clarify previous work as well. We have expanded every chapter; revised the Figures—and added a new one (Figure 1.2); incorporated research by others; offered more examples in the text—as well as an appendix that lists published work, theses and dissertations; we have also spelled out the process of qualitative media analysis in more detail, (Chaps. 3, 4, 5) and offered a new chapter on the nature and use of social media, with actual examples from ongoing research (6. Electronic Reality II). A plethora of scholarly reports, Masters Theses and Doctoral Dissertations have used ECA or qualitative media analysis during this time, and many of these people have provided comments, queries, and suggestions that have informed this revision. A sample of these are included in the Appendix so that the reader can check out "real world" applications of this book. We also add an expanded list of studies that have used this approach.