Chapter Activities

Experiential Exercises

(1) As a visual sociology project, have the class design a content analysis of weekly prime-time television content. Allow them some flexibility in determining what kind of content they’d like to analyze, but four popular choices are violence, sex, race/ethnic relations, and gender roles. Devise a coding scheme to measure the content. The first code, by the way should be type of programming (e.g., sports, drama, comedy, reality, news, etc.) and the class should make a decision to include or not include certain types of programming in the analysis. Construct a sampling frame of all hours and channels to be surveyed (for the sake of brevity, don’t use cable channels! This should leave you with ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, WB, and PBS, but this will vary by location). Randomly select network hours (e.g., ABC 8:00) and assign at least two students to watch the scheduled programming during this time period. After the data collection period has ended, check intercoder reliability. If it is reasonable, have the entire class compile their data into a single analysis. Are they surprised by their findings? (This project can be shortened by assigning different groups different channels and hours on a specific night of the week.)

(2) Select a transcription of a courtroom hearing, a Congressional Record, or any other transcription.

(a) Read the first transcription from beginning to end.

(b) Identify certain themes or concepts that emerge in the transcription and write these in the margins near relevant text. Mark other places in the transcription that also address these themes or concepts.

(c) Read the second transcription, marking places where the concepts and themes found in the first interview are addressed. If new themes or concepts emerge from the second transcription, mark these in a different color. Review the previous transcription for sections that address these new themes and concepts and mark them.

(4) Repeat Step 3 for as many transcriptions you have.

(5) Select a single concept or theme that you would like to address.

(6) Select all relevant quotations that pertain to that concept. Create a sheet in which only the passages relevant to that concept are listed.

(7) Write a brief essay on the meaning of that concept in your interviews, using text from the interviews as evidence to demonstrate your interpretation.

Individual and Group Activities

(1) Qualitative Research is an online journal about qualitative research. Ask students to inspect the table of contents for a recent issue at Read one of the articles and write a brief article review.

(2) This exercise asks students to examine how professional social scientists present analyzed qualitative data. Ask students to:

(a) Select five qualitative social science journal articles on a topic that is of interest to you. 

(b) Evaluate the data presented in these articles. What data are presented? How is it presented? Is it properly authenticated?

(c) Evaluate the conclusions of each article, following the guidelines on page 447.

(d) Point out at least three examples where that the data could be presented and analyzed in a better fashion. Suggest the improvements.