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  • 00:00


  • 00:19

    GIOVANNA FOLLO: The aims of the YouTube videoswith police behaviors-- police civilian behaviorwith content analysis really came on whatwas happening in the news.So one of the things I wanted to understandwas how YouTube actually affected our perceptionof these confrontations.Did it--

  • 00:41

    GIOVANNA FOLLO [continued]: Actually I went into it wanting to do a baseline in termsof demographics, race, and gender, and allthis other stuff.And I came out with basically two thingsthat are very prominent within the research.And that's what happens with content analysis,you're really looking at different artifacts.For instance, I'm do YouTube videos,

  • 01:03

    GIOVANNA FOLLO [continued]: other people would do news articles.You could do commentary.So content analysis really is just unobtrusive typeof research.Well, in a society like today, every single newsstory you have police where they're being videotaped,

  • 01:29

    GIOVANNA FOLLO [continued]: they're using cam-- body cams, dashcams, and were worried about our policing.We're defensive with the policing,we're challenging, were wondering.Are we giving policing too much authority?Are they being militarized?What's happening with it?

  • 01:49

    GIOVANNA FOLLO [continued]: And I really want to know how we constructthis whole situation in terms of how we actuallyinteract with the police.And why were you we're reacting in such a way.So society is kind of brought me to it.That's a nice thing about being a sociologist,not necessarily a particular focus,

  • 02:10

    GIOVANNA FOLLO [continued]: but more of a general sociologist,is the fact that when things pop up in society, you can go aheadand you can try to figure out what's happening with it.Why content analysis and why YouTube videos.One of the things, I don't have to worryabout content analysis, as when you're doing that,

  • 02:31

    GIOVANNA FOLLO [continued]: it's public domain.You don't have to worry about IRB--so you don't have to get an institutional review boardpetition.If it's public domain, you don't haveto worry about human subjects, so you're kind offree to get the information.Why content analysis?I like doing it because it gives you an idea, especially the way

  • 02:51

    GIOVANNA FOLLO [continued]: YouTube is right now.Everybody-- first thing you do when something happens,you throw out your cellphone, you put on the camera,and you start recording it.And that frames your perception.So one of the things that's reallyinteresting about content analysis about the YouTubeis that it's a snippet.The research that I did, I pulled 65 videos.

  • 03:14

    GIOVANNA FOLLO [continued]: And I went-- some of our international,some of them-- most of them are US based.And an average of time was about four minutes and, I think,44 seconds.So in four minutes and 44 secondswe basically figured out, or cometo some type of construction as to whatyou're encounter is going to be police, if they're good,

  • 03:36

    GIOVANNA FOLLO [continued]: they're bad.Well, they shouldn't be doing that,or I can't believe they flew off the handle that fast,or you can't believe the person just didn't pay attentionand just didn't follow direction.So that's the issue, that's one of the things with YouTube,everybody takes a look at it.And I get tons of videos of these situations happening,

  • 03:56

    GIOVANNA FOLLO [continued]: and people video recording them.Content analysis is categorized as qualitative research,and it's unobtrusive.So in other words, you're not going and talking with people.So you don't have to worry about that.

  • 04:18

    GIOVANNA FOLLO [continued]: You go about doing in terms of-- so you decide whatyou want to do, what artifact.In other words, is it magazines, is it articles, TV commentary?I chose YouTube videos.You could do music videos, you could do a ton of other stuff.And really all you're doing is you're going inand you're looking at it.And you're looking at it from more of a critical perspective.

  • 04:41

    GIOVANNA FOLLO [continued]: So you trying to understand what the words mean.So your coding.So you go through a preliminary view and you say.Well that's really interesting because there'sa general consensus as you go through.One of the interesting things that I found wasis that no matter what happened, policegot angry you didn't follow instructions or directions.

  • 05:04

    GIOVANNA FOLLO [continued]: And I'm not sure if, from their perception,that meant that you were up something,or just because they were being challenged.I'm not really sure.That's something I can't do unless I do interviews.So that's how you go ahead and do content analysis.The other thing I did is the duration of this thing.So how much time.

  • 05:25

    GIOVANNA FOLLO [continued]: Some of them were 59 seconds, other onescame up to 14 minutes.But not all of them had just the video itself.So there's commentary before and after that frame at two.So it's really interesting.When you're doing content analysis, you pick your place,you like you pick your artifact--what you want to look at, and why you want to look at it.

  • 05:47

    GIOVANNA FOLLO [continued]: So you're looking at more of a general research questioninstead of really, kind of, well, this caused this.Well, you can't because it's qualitative research.But you can rigorously go throughand start coding, and then theming, and then gettingsome ideas as to what's happening with it.

  • 06:09

    GIOVANNA FOLLO [continued]: Ethical issues, not necessarily with YouTube,considering all I did was, I looked at the video,I took down the title, the date that it was probably put up,and how long it was.There are no names in there, nothing like that.So IRB-wise, institutional review board, notreally any issue in terms of ethics

  • 06:31

    GIOVANNA FOLLO [continued]: when you're doing something like that because it'spublic domain, anybody can watch it.So not an issue when it comes to that part of it.The other issues with YouTube is the factthat you get a snippet, you don'tunderstand the whole situation.But that's the whole interesting part doing the content analysiswith YouTube is people make judgments just

  • 06:53

    GIOVANNA FOLLO [continued]: on 59 seconds worth of film, but they don't see the rest of it.So it's very interestingOh, going into it-- so the warts and all of research--going into it and trying to do one thingand then finding that you can't do it

  • 07:14

    GIOVANNA FOLLO [continued]: because it doesn't make sense.So I went into this research thinking,OK, so I'm going to get this whole baseline in termsof how these things escalate.And because race has been brought up,maybe a gender issue, whatever the case may be,you don't see any of that.

  • 07:34

    GIOVANNA FOLLO [continued]: I saw two major things that happened.One, if there's a weapon, police have their protocols.Two, basically, you resist by not doingwhat they ask you to do.And what their perception is of it.So those-- so the warts and all, basically,is trying to get what you want, but you can't get it,

  • 07:56

    GIOVANNA FOLLO [continued]: but then again finding something else.So it's kind of a give and take type of deal.So, some of the findings and implications.One of the things I found that there'sa total miscommunication-- or no communication

  • 08:17

    GIOVANNA FOLLO [continued]: between the public and police.One of the things I found was that policereacted when there is a weapon-- if there was an knife or a gun.In the one video, I saw a guy had a knife walking aroundand as soon as they saw the knife, they had about, I'd say,more than 16 feet, but they shot anyways, probably protocol.

  • 08:41

    GIOVANNA FOLLO [continued]: The other thing was that some of the simplest non-- resistance?I would categorize resistance as not obeying what they say.So if they tell you to do something and you don't do it,no matter how weird it is in termsof getting down or stopping, they're

  • 09:01

    GIOVANNA FOLLO [continued]: not really particular on it, that that's what agitates.And I'm not sure if it's a challenge,I'm not sure if it's a disrespect thing.So based on that, my then questionbecomes, so what are their perceptions goinginto a situation?Has their experience lent to their behavior,

  • 09:22

    GIOVANNA FOLLO [continued]: and how they behave in that situation?And is at the same case for the civilian?So if the civilian sees all these videos and goes,well, I got to take up my camera because something'sgoing to happen because look at all these videos posted.So they come in with their experienceand their perceptions about what the police are like.Especially if you've had, if you've

  • 09:44

    GIOVANNA FOLLO [continued]: been socialized in certain ways in termsof what the police have done or not done.So the video has a lot of power, and that'swhat I found very interesting.The other thing was that when the video hascommentary, either before or after,it starts framing the video.Even if it's a replay off of a CBS

  • 10:08

    GIOVANNA FOLLO [continued]: or another or Fox or something like that,the commentators are giving you extra information thatwasn't there, may be age, each maybe the factthat the guy doesn't know English,or doesn't understand it well, whatever the case may be.So now you're seeing it in a different perspective,and you may find that the confrontation shouldn't

  • 10:28

    GIOVANNA FOLLO [continued]: have escalated.But yet, it's not like the cops knewthat that was the situation.So it what it lends me to to see isthat when we watch these videos wesocially construct the scenario in our perceptionsabout police and police behavior,but yet, perhaps not having the full information.

  • 10:52

    GIOVANNA FOLLO [continued]: And we come in with, if I can say, baggagein terms of what our perceptions are about things.So, you can get a little bit of information,but I think the video itself lends to kind of contributingwith a ton of other factors.[MUSIC PLAYING]


Dr. Giovanna Follo discusses her research into police confrontations as portrayed on YouTube. She explains how she used content analysis to examine the confrontations and the videos for different perspectives and framing.

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Researching Police Confrontations and Self-defense: Content Analysis of YouTube Videos

Dr. Giovanna Follo discusses her research into police confrontations as portrayed on YouTube. She explains how she used content analysis to examine the confrontations and the videos for different perspectives and framing.

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