Broadsides as Sources: A Methodological Discussion and Overview of Key Findings

  • Kate BatesEmail author


This chapter includes a methodological discussion and justification of the discourse analysis used and presents the quantitative findings from 650 broadsides, illustrated by statistical figures, tables and maps. This detailed method of analysis produced a wealth of information from the broadside content and revealed factual details relating to the crimes, punishments, criminals and victims they depicted. For example, several conclusions can be made, namely that: broadsides, far from being mere entertainment, actually include a substantial amount of factual information regarding crime in the early nineteenth century; broadsides were evidently an important source of information regarding crime and criminality for those who chose to read them; nineteenth-century broadside production was motivated to a large extent by the reporting of actual crimes and they responded to real fluctuations in crime rates; the people to feature most prominently in broadsides are those of the poorer and lower classes, whether they are criminals, victims or witnesses.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Liverpool John Moores UniversityLiverpoolUK

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