Using Content Analysis and Survey Data to Study Media Framing of Infectious Diseases


This study is based on my dissertation titled “Framing Infectious Diseases and U.S. Public Opinion,” research for which was conducted between 2006 and 2011. In my study, I used both qualitative and quantitative research methods—content analysis and analysis of survey opinions to investigate public support for domestic and foreign policies on transnational infectious diseases in the post–Cold War era. I examined the impact of media frames on public perception of infectious diseases through content analysis of newspaper reports. I sampled stories on Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, avian flu, and HIV/AIDS from coverage in The New York Times and The Washington Post between 1999 and 2007. I also drew surveys of public opinion on infectious diseases in the same time from databases like Health Poll Search and iPOLL. I used statistical analysis to test the relationship between media framing of diseases and changes in public opinion. I reflect on the challenges, advantages, and disadvantages of using mixed methods in studying framing effects of media frames.

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