Case Studies

Identifying the political impact of US talk shows

In the United States it has become popular for presidential candidates to appear on entertainment talk shows. A study was undertaken to explore how viewers accept the humourous information that they watch in late night talk shows as legitimate political information.

Who used NVivo?

David Rhea, Assistant Professor, Communication Studies, Governors State University, Illinois, USA

What was the project?

In recent presidential elections in the US, it has become popular for presidential candidates to appear on entertainment talk shows, as a way of getting their political message across to viewers.

David Rhea, who is Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at Governors State University, undertook a qualitative project to determine how viewers of these talk shows disseminate the information they hear. The purpose of the study was to explore how the viewer comes to accept humorous information that they watch in late-night talk shows as legitimate political information.

“This was my first time using NVivo and I found it to be much easier to organize information than coding manually. With just a little set up time, I was able to code data thematically with just a couple of clicks.”

The value of NVivo and how it was used

David used NVivo to review the interview transcript data collected from talk show viewers, in order to extract themes from the analysis. It gave him the opportunity to analyze the data in a more advanced manner, with a view to running a similar study during the next U.S. Presidential election cycle.

“I loved how the themes were color coded on-screen visually for easy reference of my data and were easily aggregated.”

“I love the new dataset feature. I also do a fair amount of questionnaire research that includes some open-ended questions with qualitative data. When I put that qualitative data into a spreadsheet dataset, it often just gets numerically coded and counted. Results from that data become over-simplified. I look forward to being able to analyze that qualitative data the way it was meant to be analyzed and generate richer results and conclusions than before.”

“I also like how I could send sources from NVivo to my bibliography management program. I definitely think this is a great program for graduate students interested in qualitative research to have experience with when doing their data analysis.”

David recommends users explore the NVivo 9 tutorials.

“Have patience to go through the NVivo 9 tutorials and explore all the great capabilities this program has to offer. Then open your mind to explore all the new ways to analyze data that you haven’t conceived before. Everything from text analytics to visual maps…”

Outcomes from using NVivo

The findings from David’s research were presented at a preconference during the 2008 National Communication Association annual meeting.


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