Qualitative Sociology

, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 65–77 | Cite as

Reflections: Ethnographic content analysis

  • David L. Altheide


An ethnographic approach to document analysis is offered based on principles of qualitative data collection and analysis. It is proposed that numeric as well as narrative data be collected when studying such documents as TV new and movies. Ethnographic content analysis is briefly contrasted with conventional modes of quantitative content analysis to illustrate the usefulness of constant comparison for discovering emergent patterns, emphases and themes in an analysis of TV news coverage of the Iranian hostage situation. It is suggested that an ethnographic perspective can help delineate patterns of human action when document analysis is conceptualized as fieldwork.


Social Psychology Content Analysis Qualitative Data Social Issue Document Analysis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • David L. Altheide
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Justice StudiesArizona State UniversityTempe

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