Looking at Congressional Committee Deliberations from Different Perspectives: Is the Added Effort Worth It?

5th ESRC Research Methods Festival, St Catherine’s College, Oxford (2nd – 5th July 2012)

39 Pages Posted: 18 Aug 2012

See all articles by Cheryl Schonhardt-Bailey

Cheryl Schonhardt-Bailey

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Government

Date Written: June 12, 2012

Abstract

This paper has two parallel aims — one methodological and one more substantive. With respect to methodology, the basic motivation of this paper is to assess the extent to which different automated content analysis software yield broadly similar results, when applied to the same corpora. The two corpora analysed here originate from our book (Deliberating Monetary Policy) that seeks better to understand deliberations on US monetary policy. In our book, we sought to capture the content and substance of the discourse in the House and Senate hearings on the Federal Reserve’s Monetary Policy Report over a 33 year period (1976-2008). Our empirical analysis of the textual data in Deliberating Monetary Policy employed Alceste as the automated content analysis software. This paper presents a specific challenge to the software by employing two other automated content analysis software on the transcripts of the congressional hearings — T-Lab and Dtm-Vic. These two software packages were chosen because they both employ methods and functions that approximate some of those found in Alceste and so provide enough common functionality to allow comparisons of the results, without in any way serving as actual replicas of Alceste. Here the task not only is to challenge the initial findings but also to push beyond them. In terms of substance, this paper also asks, what more can we learn from adding new methodological perspectives?

Suggested Citation

Schonhardt-Bailey, Cheryl, Looking at Congressional Committee Deliberations from Different Perspectives: Is the Added Effort Worth It? (June 12, 2012). 5th ESRC Research Methods Festival, St Catherine’s College, Oxford (2nd – 5th July 2012), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2130909 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2130909

Cheryl Schonhardt-Bailey (Contact Author)

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Government ( email )

Government Dept
London School of Economics
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

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