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public policy/ Publication Abstract

Using YouTube Playlists for Qualitative Research: A Classroom Activity for Content Analyzing Video Ads

May 9, 2023

Matt Hettche, Michael J Clayton, Sophia Leichtentritt

Macromarketing & Public Policy


Research skills are essential for lifetime learning. Content analysis is an excellent research method to introduce and practice at the undergraduate level. Utilized by academic and industry researchers alike, content analysis involves higher order critical thinking skills for organizing and interpreting complexity. This article outlines a seven-step process for content analyzing video ads on YouTube with the aim of introducing proper research methodology to undergraduate advertising students. Building upon students’ prior procedural knowledge of the YouTube platform, core notions of “validity,” “reliability,” and “coding consistency” are explained and illustrated as part of a formal qualitative method for assessing audiovisual content. A teaching example, sample prompts for a classroom activity and reference studies for further research are provided.

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