Here we present a methodological variant of content analysis stemming from a set of categories which amount to a profile of science which can be recognised already in primary sources (i.e., peer reviewed papers in the scientific literature) as well as in published journalistic work. The purpose of this profile is two-fold: to be used as an extra tool in content analysis in scholarly research; and to aid science reporters in their journalistic research.

We have tested the accuracy of the profile at both ends of science journalism: i) in a randomly chosen set of papers in peer-reviewed journals covering several areas of knowledge; and ii) in a set of TV newscasts from public television stations in 4 countries. (We expect to reach around 50 papers and hundreds of TV notes by 2016.)

Our results show that the profile faithfully represents the science within the scientific papers examined. This legitimises it as a tool for analysis of science contents in published journalism. Here, our results show deep differences of science contents in public TV newscasts beyond number of notes, duration, placement, frames and sources. The profile allows us to identify not just "how much" science makes it from the paper to the screen, but even which categories of science tend to be either favoured or ignored.

Ultimately, the profile could find its most important use as a tool for science reporters in their journalistic research.

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A profile of Science for content analysis and for science reporting

javier cruz-mena  

TV newscasts are the main source of scientific information for the vast majority of people. Content analysis of science and technology is usually done by focusing on the number of pieces aired, its placement within the newscasts, frames and sources. Much less attention has been paid to which and how much science actually appears, since there is no such thing as a "science-meter".

Here we present a methodological variant of content analysis stemming from a set of categories which amount to a profile of science which can be recognised already in primary sources (i.e., peer reviewed papers in the scientific literature) as well as in published journalistic work. The purpose of this profile is two-fold: to be used as an extra tool in content analysis in scholarly research; and to aid science reporters in their journalistic research.

We have tested the accuracy of the profile at both ends of science journalism: i) in a randomly chosen set of papers in peer-reviewed journals covering several areas of knowledge; and ii) in a set of TV newscasts from public television stations in 4 countries. (We expect to reach around 50 papers and hundreds of TV notes by 2016.)

Our results show that the profile faithfully represents the science within the scientific papers examined. This legitimises it as a tool for analysis of science contents in published journalism. Here, our results show deep differences of science contents in public TV newscasts beyond number of notes, duration, placement, frames and sources. The profile allows us to identify not just "how much" science makes it from the paper to the screen, but even which categories of science tend to be either favoured or ignored.

Ultimately, the profile could find its most important use as a tool for science reporters in their journalistic research.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

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