For this first written assignment, I want you to watch television. That’s right, I want you to watch lots of television (TV).
I want you to use a research method called Content Analysis. Content analysis requires you to analyze the content of various media such as poems, TV shows, radio shows, etc. It is not simply watching shows and relaying your opinion of them or some overall evaluation. Content analysis requires you to analyze specific content of the target medium. For example, if someone did a content analysis study of violent behavior in TV cartoon shows researchers would watch cartoon shows and watch for and record all the violent acts in each show. They would tally the number of acts in each show and determine whether there were overwhelming numbers of violent acts in those particular cartoons.
For this project I need you to watch at least 5 network TV sitcom shows or any shows that have as their focal situation the interaction between men and women (such as shows about married couples, families, or men and women in the work place). The CONTENT that I want you to ANALYZE are negative and positive statement by one sex about the other sex.
So, for each show you watch I want you to record four (4) categories of comments: (1) all the negative things men say about a female character or women in general (for example, “Sally you are so emotional are you PMSing?” or “Women are too emotional to be effective leaders.”) (2) all the negative things women say about a male character or men in general (for example, “Mike you are such a pig!” or “Men are such pigs.”) (3) all the positive comments men make about a female character or women in general ( for example, “Mary is a great parent.” or “Women are the future of our society.”) and (4) all the positive comments women make about a male character or men in general (for example, “Colin is a great dad.” or “Men these days are much more involved as parents.”).
After you finish watching all five shows and totaling up all the comments in each category I want you to present three sections in your final report that you will post to discussion board. Below I have outlined the three elements that must be included in you discussion board post to be complete.
Section 1 (description): A complete list of the five shows that you used for this content analysis project. You need to include the show’s title, network on which you viewed it and length of show (half-hour or hour, etc.) Also, include a brief description of the show’s premise.
Section 2 (results/analysis): List each show and the negative/positive comment category totals. That is, for each show you watched show me the total number of category 1, 2, 3 and 4 comments. For each of the five shows you viewed make sure to tell me which category(s) was highest and which was lowest. Basically, I want you to tally the comments in each of the four categories and show which category had the greatest number of comments and which has the least.
Section 3 (conclusions): In this final section I want you to use your comment category numbers to draw conclusions about the shows you watched. What did you notice while watching these shows and focusing on these types of comments. Why do you think writers use these comments? Do they use popular gender stereotypes to get laughs? Do they play on social biases to get laughs or set up situations? What other reasons do you think the shows use these sex typed comments?
You may what 5 episodes of the same show. You may watch shows from Hulu, Netflix, cable television, pre-recorded media (DVDs) or any other source of televised programming.