Mixed-Methods Communication Research: Combining Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches in the Study of Online Journalism


The purpose of this case was to introduce and evaluate the methods used during 7 years of research into the form, production, and consumption of online news at national and local websites in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Finland. The general methodological approach was inductive and exploratory, with the work based mainly on semi-structured research interviews with journalists and editors and on content analysis. Quantitative Internet audience measurement, and observation and document analysis in the field were also used, although less frequently. Most of the work took a broad survey approach, although two in-depth case studies were also conducted. Forty percent of the work included longitudinal data collection in order that the analyses could integrate evidence from across historical periods. In addition to providing examples of how content analysis and interviewing can be operationalized and quantitative Internet audience data can be used, this case demonstrates the value of mixed-methods and longitudinal analysis in media research.

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