Sociology 280: Introduction to Social Research

Sociology 280: Introduction to Social Research

Content Analysis Assignment


Use content analysis to analyze four speech transcripts from 2018 March for Our Lives rally

Turn In

  • A DOCX or PDF file containing Parts I, II, III, & IV (instructions below)


Carefully read the instructions for each part of the assignment below. You will follow an iterative coding process to analyze transcripts of speeches from the 2018 March for Our Lives rally. Fill in the tables for Parts I-III and then answer the questions in Part IV. (Note: Part III requires you to add to/revise Part I so do not forget to complete that step.) Turn in the completed assignment on Blackboard as a single document in DOCX or PDF form. (No .pages files please!)

Part I. Open Coding

Instructions: Read and open code the four transcripts below. Type your codes (words, phrases, or short reflections) directly into the open codes column to the right of the transcript text. These initial codes should represent a “splitter” approach. Align the codes next to the line or paragraph with which it corresponds. Codes can overlap and you can assign more than one code to a passage. Before beginning this assignment, review Chapter 13 in the Babbie textbook for an explanation of the coding process.

Codes should represent your initial assessments about the content and tone of the passage. Consider for example: what issues seem most important, whose perspective(s) is represented, how they characterize the problem, what actions/behaviors they propose, what audience they are speaking to or targeting, what concerns they raise, what rationale is used to justify their opinions or proposed actions, what tone is used to convey the message, etc.                           

Each paragraph must have at least a few codes attached (about three to five is usually appropriate). Note the corresponding paragraph number next to each code.

TRANSCRIPT A: David Hogg (Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, FL)OPEN CODES
[A1] First off, I’m gonna start off by putting this price tag right here as a reminder for you guys to know how much Marco Rubio took for every student’s life in Florida. One dollar and five cents. [A2] The cold grasp of corruption shackles the District of Columbia. The winter is over. Change is here. The sun shines on a new day, and the day is ours. First-time voters show up 18 percent of the time at midterm elections. Not anymore. Now, who here is gonna vote in the 2018 election? If you listen real close, you can hear the people in power shaking. They’ve gotten used to being protective of their position, the safety of inaction. Inaction is no longer safe. And to that, we say: No more. [A3] Ninety-six people die every day from guns in our country, yet most representatives have no public stance on guns. And to that, we say: No more. We are going to make this the voting issue. We are going to take this to every election, to every state, in every city. We are going to make sure the best people get in our elections to run, not as politicians, but as Americans. Because this — this is not cutting it. When people try to suppress your vote, and there are people who stand against you because you’re too young, we say: No more. [A4] When politicians say that your voice doesn’t matter because the NRA owns them, we say: No more. When politicians send their thoughts and prayers with no action, we say: No more. And to those politicians supported by the NRA, that allow the continued slaughter of our children and our future, I say: Get your résumés ready. [A5] Today is the beginning of spring, and tomorrow is the beginning of democracy. Now is the time to come together, not as Democrats, not as Republicans, but as Americans. Americans of the same flesh and blood, that care about one thing and one thing only, and that’s the future of this country and the children that are going to lead it. [A6] Now, they will try to separate us in demographics. They will try to separate us by religion, race, congressional district and class. They will fail. We will come together. We will get rid of these public servants that only serve the gun lobby, and we will save lives. You are those heroes. [A7] Lastly, let’s put the USA over the NRA. This is the start of the spring and the blossoming of our democracy. So let’s take this to our local legislators, and let’s take this to midterm elections, because without the persistence — heat — without the persistence of voters and Americans everywhere, getting out to every election, democracy will not flourish. But it can, and it will. So, I say to those politicians that say change will not come, I say: We will not stop until every man, every woman, every child, and every American can live without fear of gun violence. And to that, I say: No more. [A8] Thank you, I love you all, God bless all of you, and God bless America. We can, and we will, change the world.                                                                     
TRANSCRIPT B: Naomi Wadler (George Mason Elementary School, Alexandria, VA)OPEN CODES
[B1] Hi. My name is Naomi and I’m 11 years old. Me and my friend Carter led a walkout at our elementary school on [March 14]. We walked out for 18 minutes, adding a minute to honor Courtlin Arrington, an African-American girl who was the victim of gun violence in her school in Alabama, after the Parkland shooting. [B2] I am here today to represent Courtlin Arrington. I am here today to represent Hadiya Pendleton. I am here today to represent Taiyania Thompson, who at just 16 was shot dead in her home here in Washington, D.C. [B3] I am here today to acknowledge and represent the African-American girls whose stories don’t make the front page of every national newspaper. Whose stories don’t lead on the evening news. I represent the African-American women who are victims of gun violence. Who are simply statistics instead of vibrant, beautiful girls and full of potential. [B4] It is my privilege to be here today. I am indeed full of privilege. My voice has been heard. I am here to acknowledge their stories, to say they matter, to say their names. Because I can, and I was asked to be. For far too long, these names, these black girls and women have been just numbers. I am here to say never again for those girls too. I am here to say that everyone should value those girls too [B5] People have said that I am too young to have these thoughts on my own. People have said that I am a tool of some nameless adult. It’s not true. My friends and I might still be 11, and we might still be in elementary school, but we know. We know life isn’t equal for everyone, and we know what is right and wrong. We also know that we stand in the shadow of the Capitol and we know that we have seven short years until we, too, have the right to vote. [B6] So I am here today to honor the words of Toni Morrison: “If there is a book that you want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, you must be the one to write it.” [B7] I urge everyone here and everyone who hears my voice to join me in telling the stories that aren’t told. To honor the girls, the women of color, who are murdered at disproportionate rates in this nation. I urge each of you to help me write the narrative for this world and understand, so that these girls and women are never forgotten. Thank you.   
TRANSCRIPT C: Emma Gonzalez (Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, FL)OPEN CODES
  [C1] Six minutes, and about 20 seconds. In a little over six minutes, 17 of our friends were taken from us, 15 more were injured, and everyone, absolutely everyone in the Douglas community was forever altered. Everyone who was there understands. Everyone who has been touched by the cold grip of gun violence understands. For us, long, tearful, chaotic hours in the scorching afternoon sun were spent not knowing. [C2] No one understood the extent of what had happened. No one could believe that there were bodies in that building waiting to be identified for over a day. No one knew that the people who were missing had stopped breathing long before any of us had even known that a code red had been called. No one could comprehend the devastating aftermath, or how far this would reach, or where this would go. [C3] For those who still can’t comprehend, because they refuse to, I’ll tell you where it went. Six feet into the ground, six feet deep. Six minutes and 20 seconds with an AR-15, and my friend Carmen would never complain to me about piano practice. Aaron Feis would never call Kyra “miss sunshine,” Alex Schachter would never walk into school with his brother Ryan, Scott Beigel would never joke around with Cameron at camp, Helena Ramsay would never hang around after school with Max, Gina Montalto would never wave to her friend Liam at lunch, Joaquin Oliver would never play basketball with Sam or Dylan. Alaina Petty would never, Cara Loughren would never, Chris Hixon would never, Luke Hoyer would never, Martin Duque Anguiano would never, Peter Wang would never, Alyssa Alhadeff would never, Jamie Guttenberg would never, Jamie Pollack would never.   [Silence for more than 4 minutes]   [C4] Since the time that I came out here, it has been six minutes and 20 seconds. The shooter has ceased shooting and will soon abandon his rifle. Blend in with the students as they escape and walk free for an hour before arrest. Fight for your lives before it’s someone else’s job. 
TRANSCRIPT D: Alex King & D’Angelo McDade (North Lawndale College Prep High School, Chicago, IL)OPEN CODES
Alex King   [D1] Good afternoon, family. Yes, I said family. I said family because we are here joined together in unity fighting for the same goals. I say family because of all the pain that I see in the crowd. And that pain is another reason why we are here. Our pain makes us family. Us hurting together brings us closer together to fight for something better.   [D2] My name is Alex King. I am 17. I am a senior at North Lawndale College Prep as well as a Peace Warrior and a leader with Good Kids Mad City. Chicago has been at the forefront of gun violence for a very long time with 650 people being murdered in the year 2017 and 771 being murdered in the year 2016. But that is not it. Gun violence travels in places like Florida, Baltimore, Washington DC, Los Angeles. It happens nationwide.   [D3] I know many people who have lost loved ones, friends, and family on a regular basis due to gun violence. My nephew, Daishawn Moore, he was taken away on May 28 in the year 2017, two weeks after his 16th birthday. The day I lost my nephew was a huge turning point in my life. I started doing a lot of bad things, hanging around a bad crowd. I started to really give up.   [D4] But there is this principle by Dr. King and it states ‘The beloved community is the framework of the future.’ And what that means is how our community is now is how it will be affected in the future if we don’t make a change. If we aren’t acting like a family now, we won’t act like a family in the future. If pain is in our community now, pain will forever be in our community in the future, if we don’t make a change.   [D5] Our community has been affected by gun violence for so long and will continue to be affected by it if we don’t do something. But, through my friends and colleagues, I found help to come up out of a dark place. Everyone doesn’t have the same resources and support system, as I was lucky to have.   [D6] Myself and a few other Peace Warriors were able to take a trip to visit Parkland students and share our trauma with one another. We left not only knowing that we would support one another, but also realizing that without the proper grassroots resources, this issue of violence will not be solved, and we will not stop until we are properly resourced in our communities. So, family, let’s continue to fight for what’s right.   [D7] And since we are family now, I’d like to pass on one of the traditions that me and my family does at North Lawndale College Prep. So as I do this, I will ask that you follow me after I say repeat after me. So it’s this African clap that we do at North Lawndale that shows unity, which is unity and strength. Look at the numbers in the crowd here today. Do you see this? So here’s how it goes. [Teaches the clap to the crowd.] Now y’all think we can do this as a family? Alright, that’s what I like to hear. Let’s go. [Leads the crowd in the clap.] I love y’all. D’Angelo McDade [Leads crowd in the clap.] [D8] For we are survivors. Let me say that again for you: For we are survivors. We are survivors of a cruel and silent nation. A nation where freedom, justice, equality, and purpose is not upheld. A nation where we do not live out the true meanings of our creed. When will we as a nation understand that nonviolence is the way of life for a courageous people? When will we as a nation understand that we are not here to fight against one another? But we are here to fight for life and peace?   [D9] Dr. King once said ‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.’ Which now leads me to say that violence cannot drive out violence, only peace can do that. Poverty cannot drive out poverty, only resources can do that. Death cannot drive out death, only proactive life can do that.   [D10] As I stand before you, I stand as D’Angelo McDade, an 18-year-old from the West Side of Chicago. I, too, am a victim, a survivor, and a victor of gun violence. I come from a place where minorities are controlled by both violence and poverty, leading us to be deterred by success. But today, we say, ‘No More!’ [D11] I stand before you representing the body of those who have experienced and lost their lives due to gun violence. For we are survivors. For I am a survivor. For we are survivors not only of gun violence, but of silence. For we are survivors of the erratic productions of poverty. But not only that, we are the survivors of unjust policies and practices upheld by our Senate. We are survivors of lack of resources within our schools. We are survivors of social, emotional, and physical harm. [D12] Dr. King had a dream, a dream that we as youth must now make our reality. Ephesians 4:2-3 says “Be completely humble and gentle. Be patient bearing one another in love.” Make every count. Keep this unity of the spirit through peace and love. For first Peter says in Chapter 4 verse 8, “Above all,” you ain’t hearing me, it says “above all love each other.” Because love conquers wrongdoings and for as we, let me hear you say we. Let me hear you say we. As youth, we must now be the change that we seek. [D13] My mother has this phrase that she uses all the time and she told me before I left home to come deal with this. She says ‘If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.’ And I stand for peace.   

Continue to Part II on the next page.

Part II. Axial Coding

Instructions: Review your open codes and identify the prominent themes and patterns in the data. What are the main categories of information conveyed? Develop categories that summarize what is being discussed and how. Your categories should represent broad themes, around which there are differing perspectives conveyed across the four speeches. Fill in the table according to the column instructions.

Column 1 – Category: The first two categories (A & B) are provided for you. Fill in three additional descriptive categories (C through E) based on your analysis. Two of your additional categories should refer to the content or style of the speeches, while your final category (E) should relate to tone.

Column 2 – Initial Reflections: Based on your preliminary coding of the four transcripts, briefly summarize the patterns in the data for each category. Write down your initial reflections about each speech with respect to each category. For example, in category A you’ll describe how each speaker characterized the problem and in category B you’ll describe what each speaker thought was necessary to fix that problem.

A. Characterization of the ProblemTranscript A:   Transcript B:   Transcript C:   Transcript D:  
B. Necessary Action to Address the ProblemTranscript A:   Transcript B:   Transcript C:   Transcript D:  
C.Transcript A:   Transcript B:   Transcript C:   Transcript D:  
D.Transcript A:   Transcript B:   Transcript C:   Transcript D:  
E. (Must relate to TONE)Transcript A:   Transcript B:   Transcript C:   Transcript D:  

Continue to Part III on the next page.

Part III. Selective Coding

Instructions: Use the five categories from Part II to selectively re-code the transcripts and your open codes in Part I. First, copy the five categories from Part II into Column 1 below. Highlight each category in a different color. (Category A & B are already pre-assigned highlight colors; assign different highlight colors to the remaining categories.) Return to Part I and use the colored highlights to recode your data with respect to your five categories.

Re-read the text of the transcripts and your preliminary open codes. Highlight the text of every passage or sentence relevant to a particular category in the corresponding color for that category. Highlight any of your open codes relevant to a particular category in the corresponding color for that category. If a particular passage or sentence relates to more than one of your categories, highlight it in the color of the most relevant category, then make a note in your open codes column of other relevant categories. DO NOT DELETE ANY OF YOUR ORIGINAL OPEN CODES, YOU JUST WANT TO HIGHLIGHT THE ONES MOST RELEVANT TO THE CATEGORIES ON WHICH YOU’VE DECIDED TO FOCUS YOUR ANALYSIS. You may also add additional “lumper” codes that summarize each paragraph with respect to your Part II categories.

After you have color-coded the transcripts and Part I open codes based on your selected categories, fill in the Part III table according to the instructions below.

Column 1 – Category: This column should match Part II above, but each category name should be highlighted in a different color. Use these highlight colors to recode the transcripts and open codes in Part I.

Column 2 – Matches: List the corresponding number of every paragraph of each speech that relates to the category. (This should be easy to track once you’ve gone back and highlighted in the corresponding colors).

Column 3 – Data & Patterns: Review the matching data for each category. Take another look at your highlighted text and highlighted open codes in Part I. Review your initial reflections from Part II. Use all of this information to develop some conclusions about the data. Write a bulleted list for each category identifying the key patterns you found in the data. [Bullets don’t need to be complete sentences, but should be more than just a word or two.] Be sure to consider all four speeches in your summary. (You may find agreement across the speeches for some categories and disagreement for other categories.) 

Complete the Part III table on the next page.

A. Characterization of the ProblemTranscript A: Transcript B: Transcript C: Transcript D:     
B. Necessary Action to Address the ProblemTranscript A: Transcript B: Transcript C: Transcript D:     
C.Transcript A: Transcript B: Transcript C: Transcript D:     
D.Transcript A: Transcript B: Transcript C: Transcript D:     
E. (Must relate to TONE)Transcript A: Transcript B: Transcript C: Transcript D:     

Continue to Part IV on the next page.

Part IV. Data Analysis

  1. (Minimum 100 words) Describe your methodological process. Explain how you went about open coding, axial coding, and selective coding. What decisions did you make during each step and why did you make them? Why did you decide to focus on the topics/categories that you did?
  • (Minimum 250 words) Summarize the patterns found in your data. Write one paragraph summarizing the data for each of your five categories plus a concluding paragraph summarizing your overall findings (six paragraphs total). Build on your bulleted list in Part III and describe your findings in narrative form. What were the key points you found regarding each of your categories? Assess areas of agreement and disagreement across the four speeches. Give specific examples/quotes from each transcript to support your findings. Describe the key takeaways of your content analysis in your concluding paragraph.
  • (Minimum 100 words) Analyze your findings with respect to the perspectives represented in each speech. What conclusions can you come to about each speaker? Whose perspective(s) were they trying to represent? How does the personal experience of each speaker affect their characterization of the problem and actions they feel necessary to address the problem?
  • (Minimum 150 words) Evaluate the effectiveness of the speeches. Which do you find most convincing and why? What aspects of content, style, and tone helped to best convey the speaker’s message? Based on your analysis, what lessons could future young activists learn from these speakers – both with regard to the issue of gun violence and with regard to how to effectively convey a message to an audience?
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