Analyzing Talk and Text IV: Frame Analysis

  • Maria Löblich


The goal of this chapter is to present qualitative frame analysis as a way of studying public media policy debates in general and media policy positions in particular. Frames are the tools employed in media policy debates to assert a particular definition of what is actually the problem, of who is to blame or what are the causes of the problem, of the moral evaluation of the problem and of what is to be done about it. They are strategic instruments for actors who need acceptance for their views or decisions and who try to gain legitimacy by overemphasizing, downplaying or completely excluding certain aspects of an issue. Frames serve to narrow the available political alternatives and guide decision-making. The contribution first defines frame as a concept and explains the role of frames in media policy. Next, it critically discusses three aspects of frame analysis in communication studies: isolated identification of frames, latency of frames and lack of qualitative methodology regarding frame identification. This discussion acknowledges that frame analysis is a perspective and a conceptual tool rather than a method in itself, and sees frame analysis as guided by theory to identify and explain media policy frames, using categories to organize all steps of the research process and applying qualitative methods such as content analysis and document analysis. Next, it is explained how frame analyses can be conducted, distinguishing four: 1. Selection of methods and material, 2. Categories for frame identification, 3. Text analysis, 4. Frame (re-)construction and contextualization. These steps are illustrated with two specific cases. The frame methodology suggested here provides orientation in a largely under-reflected field of qualitative research and helps to ensure intersubjective comprehensibility and consistency.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Löblich
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Publizistik- und KommunikationswissenschaftFree University BerlinBerlinGermany

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