I have written a thesis that seeks to analyze the ideological thinking of a newspaper through its editorials in a political situation during a certain period of time. I couldn’t count on my Thesis Advisor and I have written my thesis by myself.

My methodology is simple. In short, I made a compilation of information about the problem, then I selected 20 meaningful dates during the political climate in question, so I had a sample of 20 editorials: 1 per each meaningful date. Then, after checking out the editorials I found 8 units of analysis and made a Content Analysis to find the expressions used on the editorials. That's how I found the newspaper’s judgments, attitudes and attributes about diverse events and characters (important people) related to the political situation. These represent the variables or categories that would demonstrate the newspaper’s ideological posture.

Nevertheless, after applying this methodology (contents analysis) in my thesis, I read about Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA). This is the most appropriate method to analyze the ideological thinking of a newspaper. Even that, my Advisor approved my thesis and I must defend it in three weeks. I am afraid that in my defense someone asked me why I used Content Analysis instead of ACD, being my thesis a qualitative investigation. I do not know how to answer appropriately. I would like to read your opinions and recommendations, my friends.

3 Answers 3


This situation is one of many that demonstrate the key role of an academic advisor and why I would never suggest anyone attempt a research program as a novice without one.

The specific content of your research (i.e., the merits of content analysis vs. critical discourse analysis for your research question) is off-topic for Academia.SE, but at this point you should find an advisor in your field to ask for advice.

If you cannot reach your thesis advisor, then maybe someone else on your committee can step into that role. Your advisor has approved your work, so either they have not read it carefully (and have failed you miserably in their advising duties) or this problem is not as serious as you may think (i.e., your choice can be justified despite your oversight of another technique in the field).


The best approach is probably to be honest. If it is because you didn't know about CDA, then it might count against you, of course. However, it may be that the approach you took is sufficient to the research you did and maybe had some advantages. This isn't my field, so I don't know what those might be, but perhaps you do.

But you also, now, have an opportunity for future work to compare what you did with what CDA would imply instead.

But the most important thing is to be able to justify the approach that you did take. Presumably your thesis itself has justifications for approaches and tools.


Work on the CDA as much as you can in the coming few weeks and if it comes up during the viva, you will have a lot to talk about and impress them with.

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