American Sociological Association

Teaching Content Analysis through Harry Potter

Content analysis is a valuable research tool for social scientists that unfortunately can prove challenging to teach to undergraduate students. Published classroom exercises designed to teach content analysis have thus far been predominantly envisioned as lengthy projects for upper-level courses. A brief and engaging exercise may be more beneficial for introductory social science courses in which less time can be allotted to any one topic, such as content analysis. With this in mind, this article presents a highly engaging and temporally compact classroom exercise designed to teach introductory social science students about content analysis. In the exercise, students are guided through a content analysis of the music in Harry Potter films. An evaluation study suggests that the exercise improves students’ understanding of content analysis and that students find it both highly helpful and enjoyable.


Adam M. Messinger





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