Week three discussion

In reading the three articles, I discovered that the researchers used surveying and content analyses for their methodologies. The two that used content analyses, “#notracist: Exploring racism denial talk on Twitter” and “Keeping it in “the family”: How Gender Norms Shape U.S. Marriage Migration Politics” used different approaches to ground the research and synthesize the data.

Seemingly, Sanjay and Brooker did not do any due diligence to study the nuances of racism dialogue, whereas Longo spent two years as a bystander on an immigration forum to learn “site’s social dynamics, terminology, and common themes.” (p. 7)

Overview of the article that used survey method

  • “Employee monitoring in a digital context” analyzed Swedish employees’ awareness of potential electronic surveillance, and to what extent this affects online activity.
    • 35 question survey to approximately 1,100 employees in Sweden
      • Most questions were responses on a Likert scale.
    • The respondents were selected randomly from the CINT CPX (Cint Panel eXchange).
    • The questions were categorized to help researchers gain a perspective of the respondents’ overall feelings about monitoring and digital surveillance.

Comparison of the articles that used content analysis method

  • “Racism denial talk on Twitter” explored the technocultural practices of Twitter by focusing on the use of hashtags in creating the conditions for the production of racialized meaning.
    • Approximately 25,000 individual tweets that included the hashtag #notracist
    • The researchers contextualized #notracist by categorizing the tweets with “humor” or “truth.”
    • The researchers used a visual analytic approach to analyze data with Chorus, a methodological device for data collection and analyses. Chorus collected and visually parsed the Twitter data.
    • Research spanned eight months.
  • “Gender norms shape U.S. marriage migration politics” examined how gender beliefs are projected into the practices of marriage visa petitioners in order to “achieve genuineness” and “define red flags indicating potential marriage fraud” on an online forum. (p. 2)
    • Online ethnography and content analysis of “Immigration Pathways,” one of the largest U.S. immigration self-help websites.
    • The researcher used the constructivist grounded theory that incorporates “members’ stories into the analysis to determine the “what, how, and why” of their evaluations.” (p. 7)
    • The researcher noted that her sample was not random.
    • Red flags were sought as a way to intersect gender norms and visa denials. To analyze red flags, the posts were sorted quantitatively by 13 regional forums.
    • A script was developed in Python to synthesize data and conduct a key-word search for the term “red flag” on 48,017 threads.
    • Research spanned six years.


  1. If you had to choose a methodology in your own research, which would be your preferred method: content analysis or survey methods when it comes to digital sociology? Especially after comparing the two methods and weighing the pros and cons that come with each methodology.

    1. Hi, Samantha. Thanks for responding!

      Honestly, I think the research questions dictate the method. If the questions require specific answers from a population (as in the workplace surveillance article), then a survey is needed. Or, if what you seek is more general and can be found in the various forms of content, content analysis is the way to go.

      As an example, below are the preliminary research questions for my diss. R1 can probably be addressed with a combination of a survey and ethnographic immersion. At least one other of the bolded questions will LIKELY be answered by a survey, as well. The unbolded questions can be addressed with content analysis. DISCLAIMER: none of what I said has been confirmed by a committee. These are my initial thoughts from planning.

      R1: What obstacles have groups and organizations faced while working to increase participation?
      R2: What are the attitudes of minority groups about representation in outdoor recreational media and advertising?
      R3: What is the current landscape of minority representation in outdoor recreational media and advertising? In other words, which brands and corporations currently invest in outdoor recreational media and advertising — traditional and minority?
      R4: Which brands and corporations are interested in investing in supporting diversity initiatives and events through advertising and sponsorship?
      R5: What efforts are currently underway to increase minority participation in game fishing and boating? More importantly, what are the outcomes and successes?

  2. I think this is an excellent summary of the articles. I agree with you that the research question dictates the method. Each study is doing something a bit different, so different methods are needed. For my own study, I started with an ethnography, which provided a lot of preliminary contexts to nest the discourse in. The content and discourse analysis could not happen until I had a handle on the community dynamics. I’d love to hear more about your work. We should set up a chat if you are interested in talking through your ideas.

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