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Pearson’s Chi-Squared Test and the News Coverage Index (2012): Story Formats on Network and Cable TV News Programs

By: The Odum Institute Published: 2017 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Datasets
Methods: Chi-square test
Data Type: Numeric
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This dataset example introduces Pearson’s chi-squared test for independence. It is often referred to using the symbol χ2. Pearson’s chi-squared test allows researchers to test whether the distributions of two categorical variables are independent of each other or not. In this way, the technique builds directly on cross-tabulation. Many other statistical tests of independence exist, but Pearson’s chi-squared test is one of the most frequently used among them. This example describes Pearson’s chi-squared test, discusses the assumptions underlying it, and shows how to compute and interpret it. This example uses a subset of data from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism News Coverage Index for 2012. Specifically, we test whether the formats for news stories most frequently used by network and cable ...

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About This Dataset
Data Source Citation

Pew Research Center. (2012). 2012 Project for Excellence in Journalism News Coverage Index [Data ile]. Retrieved from

Full title of originating dataset

2012 Project for Excellence in Journalism News Coverage Index (NCI)

Data author(s) and affiliations

Pew Research Center

Data Universe

American news stories from newspapers, online news sources, network television, cable news, and radio news

Funding sources/suppliers

Pew Research Center

Pew Research bears no responsibility for interpretations presented or conclusions reached based on analysis of the data

Sample/sampling procedures

A multistage, purposive sampling process of media outlets was employed to provide a broad, illustrative but not strictly representative sample of the media universe.


Weights for news sources: Newspapers (0.19), Online (0.30), Network TV (0.15), Cable TV (0.23), Radio (0.12)

Data collection dates

01-2012 to 05-2012

Time frame of analysis


Unit of analysis

Text Unit

Location covered by data

United States

Links to SRM content
List of variables


Broadcast Start Time


Duration in Seconds




Story Format


Geographic Focus




Media Type