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Online coders, open codebooks: New opportunities for content analysis of political communication

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 March 2019

Nicholas J. G. Winter*
Department of Politics, University of Virginia, S185 Gibson Hall, 1540 Jefferson Park Ave, Charlottesville, VA
Adam G. Hughes
Pew Research Center, Washington, D.C.
Lynn M. Sanders
Department of Politics, University of Virginia, S185 Gibson Hall, 1540 Jefferson Park Ave, Charlottesville, VA
*Corresponding author. Email:


Analyzing audiovisual communication is challenging because its content is highly symbolic and less rule-governed than verbal material. But audiovisual messages are important to understand: they amplify, enrich, and complicate the meaning of textual information. We describe a fully-reproducible approach to analyzing video content using minimally—but systematically—trained online workers. By aggregating the work of multiple coders, we achieve reliability, validity, and costs that equal those of traditional, intensively trained research assistants, with much greater speed, transparency, and replicability. We argue that measurement strategies relying on the “wisdom of the crowd” provide unique advantages for researchers analyzing complex and intricate audiovisual political content.

Original Article
Copyright © The European Political Science Association 2019

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