Content Analysis Assignment

For this assignment, you will be completing a content analysis. Your content analysis will be driven by two research questions based on media directed towards children. Your questions may be on just about anything involving this topic – that is up to you. You may cover anything from television shows to websites to advertisements. The only stipulation is that it must have something to do with media directed toward children. But here are some examples of what you might ask:

Is there a difference between Burger King and McDonald’s for the presence of children in televised ads?

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Is there a difference between Sesame Street and Paw Patrol for amount of educational content?

These are very broad research questions (yours will be much more specific), but they all have one important similarity – they are studying differences. This is because you will be doing a chi-square analysis to determine if you have found a significant difference.

It is important to note that your chi-square analysis should include only two variables, but these variables must have at least two levels. For example, in the research question listed above, you have two variables – Variable One is the fast food restaurant. This variable has two levels – Burger King or McDonald’s. Note that you could have many more levels (or groups) within this variable like Wendy’s, Arby’s, Subway, etc. Variable Two is the presence of children. This doesn’t look like it, but it also has two levels – Children are present, or children are not present.

In this example, you might watch ten commercials from each brand and then count how many commercials have children in them, and how many don’t. You would then compare, using a chi-square analysis, to see if there is a significant difference between Burger King and McDonald’s for presence of children in their ads.

This assignment will be completed in four different parts: your literature review, your method, your results, and your discussion. Your paper will be a total of about 4 full pages and will be done in APA format (you must include a title page and references, but no abstract is necessary).

Literature Review:

Your literature review will be about one page. It will consist of a short introduction, a discussion justifying your specific project, and your research questions. Your research questions should be presented in “blocks” – this means that they will each be on their own line of writing and not hidden within a paragraph. You should expect to use at least two academic sources (i.e. an academic journal, NOT a website). You do not have to cite each piece of content that you use. For example, if you find clips on YouTube, there is no need to cite those.

Your lit review will be graded on how well you write your research questions, if your questions are justified, and if you use proper grammar and formatting. Your literature review is worth 20 points.


Here you will describe your inclusion criteria and your exclusion criteria (you may not need to report any exclusion criteria). You will describe in detail what you actually did in your study – be sure to explain what media you chose, why, when it aired, etc. Be very specific in your details. This section is all about replication. Someone should be able to replicate your study to test your results.

Be sure to include your sampling procedure. How did you determine your population? How did you sample that population? Was it convenience, etc.? If you searched Google or YouTube or some other site, what were the exact search terms that you used? Be very clear as this is incredibly important in order to replicate your study (and it serves as your “citation” of the media for this paper).

Here you will also describe your codes – what exactly it is that you are looking for. Be sure to carefully define your codes. For example, you may be looking for children in advertising. How would you define children? Is it just people under the age of 12? Under the age of 6? Be careful to clearly define exactly what you are looking for. You will be graded based on the clarity of your inclusion and exclusion criteria, the clarity of your codes, the clarity of your methodology, as well as writing and formatting.

This section will be worth 30 points and should be about 1 page of writing.


Everyone will complete two chi-square analyses – one for research question one and one for research question two. Your results section will be a report of your analyses. Please report your chi-square using EXACTLY this format (just fill in where I have brackets):

Research Question [INSERT RESEARCH QUESTION NUMBER HERE] asked [INSERT RESEARCH QUESTION HERE]. Results of a chi-square analysis revealed [Or, DID NOT REVEAL] significant differences between groups (χ2 ([INSERT DF HERE]), = [INSERT CHI_SQUARE VALUE HERE]). [REPORT RELEVANT FREQUENCIES]. This suggests [BRIEFLY INTERPRET FINDINGS].

The relevant frequencies will be different for each person. However, these can be as simple as the frequency within each group, the percentage of the sample within each group, or just the frequency or percentage of one group that happens to stand out above the rest. You will only report relevant frequencies if you have a significant difference. If you do not have a significant difference (which is okay), you won’t have any relevant frequencies.

When you briefly interpret the findings, you will simply state in a sentence or two what that means. For example, you might state that these findings suggest that there are differences between one brand and another for some outcome. And that would be plenty to write, as long as it is clear.

You will be graded on how well follow the format listed above, how well you report the correct values, and if you interpret them correctly. This should be roughly 1 page and is worth 30 points. You will include your hand written calculations on a separate sheet of paper (you may have to submit this physically to your TA .


Your discussion will explain what you found in more detail. If a problem is discovered, you may discuss what solutions are available. If there is no problem discovered, you may discuss what is being done well. You will also include a short paragraph describing what you would have done differently if you were to do the study again.

The discussion should be about 1 page and is worth 20 points.


Here is a list of some common big errors and their penalties.


Not in APA format = -10

APA errors in text = -1 for each error

APA errors in references = -1 for each error

Grammar errors, typos = – 1 – 10 (depending on severity)

Appendices not cited in text = -1

Egregious errors (plagiarism, not citing sources, extreme grammar errors, paper isn’t a content analysis, etc.) = Zero for assignment


Does not use at least two academic sources (i.e. peer-reviewed journals) = -5 for each missing

Missing research question = -5 for each missing

Research questions do not use the word “difference” in them = -5 for each missing

Research question does not clearly state a variable = -5 for each missing

Sources don’t logically fit with topic = -2 for each mistake


Inclusion criteria are not stated = -5

Inclusion criteria are not clear = -1 – 5

Sampling procedure is not stated = -5

Sampling procedure is stated, but it is not correct = -5

Does not include search terms, if used = -5

Missing code = -5 for each missing

Incomplete or unclear description of code = -2

Incomplete description of sample = -5


Does not submit hand written calculations = -10

Incorrectly interprets findings (i.e. says something is significant when it is not) = -5

Calculation error = -2 for each error

Does not follow template exactly = -2 for each error

Does not report correct values = -3 for each error


Results not interpreted properly = -5 – 10

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