Chapter

Methodology: How Information Was Collected

Nachman Ben-Yehuda

in Theocratic Democracy

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780199734863
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199895090 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199734863.003.0003
Methodology: How Information Was Collected

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Taking Niklas Luhmann’s suggestion that understanding social systems requires that we examine communication systems, and based on contextual constructionism, this chapter explains why using the printed media as a main tool to understand a cultural conflict is an advantageous and persuasive methodology. The chapter discusses various alternative methods (e.g., ethnographies, police records, interviews, using informants) and points out that relying on the printed media offers clear benefits such as more information in an historical perspective, easy accessibility and cross checking. The chapter summarizes the advantages and shortcomings of using the media as compared to examining police records; examines the issue of falsification and reliability of journalists’ reports and surveys other relevant studies that used the media as a methodological tool. How the media data base for fifty years was created and used is explained and illustrated, as well as raising some potential criticisms.

Keywords: dirty data; falsifications; media; newspapers; police

Chapter.  7164 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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