Hard or Soft Searching? Electronic Database Versus Hand Searching in Media Research

Stephannie C. Roy, Guy Faulkner, Sara-Jane Finlay


It is important for qualitative media researchers to consider the impact of their research objectives on the sample frame imposed and subsequent data-collection methods. To illustrate this, we present some of the issues we encountered in determining a method of gathering physical activity articles in daily newspapers. We consider the implications of search choices for our sample, highlight the impact of using hardcopy hand-searches and electronic indexes and emphasise the importance of conducting a study to determine the reliability of hand-searching versus electronic index search methods. We suggest that researchers should be aware of the benefits and drawbacks of search methods including what kinds of information these methods yield and the possible effects on the research project. We conclude by highlighting the importance of these discussions to the reliability of content analysis.
URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0703204


computerised indexes; hand-searching; media analysis; reliability

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Copyright (c) 2007 Stephannie C. Roy, Guy Faulkner, Sara-Jane Finlay

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