Measuring the complexity of viewers' television news interpretation: Integration
SourceCommunications, 33, 2, (2008), pp. 211-232
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ NISCO CW
Although interpretation is often considered a vital factor in the effects of news, its conceptualization and operationalization have been problematic. In this study, interpretation is defined in terms of the structural attribute of complexity. In a previous contribution, one aspect of interpretive complexity, differentiation, was operationalized and measured to test the usefulness of the concept in news research. This follow-up study introduces a method for measuring and analyzing a second aspect of interpretive complexity: Integration. Whereas differentiation represents the broadness of interpretations, integration refers to the cohesiveness of interpretations. This contribution describes two dimensions of integration, called micro-integration and macro-integration, and attempts to test their utility by operationalizing and measuring them in a small-scale study (N = 19). Results illustrate that the method yields data that are helpful in systematically exploring and comparing how viewers interpret television news by assessing differences in cohesiveness. The merits of the concept and method and their use for the study of news effects are evaluated.
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