Application Exercises

Chapter specific application exercises will help you think about research design in practice or have you explore a relevant resource.

Exercise 1: Warming Up with Wordle is a word cloud generator. Paste your selected content into Wordle to generate a word cloud that displays the most frequent words as the largest. Other generators, with varying levels of control, are easily found with a search for “word cloud generator.”

Exercise 2: A Basic Content Analysis

Review the content analysis of vehicle campaign stickers outlined at the beginning of this chapter. What basic assumptions about faculty, vehicles, campaign stickers, sampling and coding could be challenged? What problems can you identify with the sampling decisions made here? List the factors that might influence the composition of the sample.

Exercise 3: New Media Bias

Both ends of the political spectrum complain about biased reporting by the news media. Set out the basic elements of a content analysis project that would answer the question of whether a particular news medium is biased toward or against a political figure, government policy, or program. Identify the content you would sample from, the units of analysis, and the coding scheme you would use.

Hint: Visit the George Mason University Center for Media and Public Affairs website at:

Exercise 4. Stereotyping in Entertainment Media and Advertising

A criticism of advertising and entertainment media such as movies and television is the stereotyping of people by, for example, gender, ethnicity, occupation, or age. Pick one of these types—for example, occupational stereotyping—and outline a content analysis study that would test for the presence or absence of stereotyping. Define the content you would sample from, the units of analysis, and the coding scheme you would use. Note that for this exercise you will need some operational definition of stereotyping so that you can identify it and code it when you see it.

Exercise 5. Analyzing Online Harassment: Quantitatively

A Pew Research Center Internet, Science & Tech Project (2014) study of online harassment asked respondents about six different forms of online harassment. The study also provides selected quotes about harassment from those surveyed at:

Using the steps described in this chapter, do a quantitative analysis of selected quotes from the above survey and report your conclusions. In Chapter 12, you will be invited to think about analyzing the same data qualitatively.

The full report, questionnaire, and respondent comments are available at:

A 2017 update of this survey, excluding the “In Their Own Words” content of the 2014 survey is available at: