Micro-level Analysis

In contrast, micro-level analysis follows more along the lines of Entman and Iyengar’s frameworks. Once you have a sense of the macro dynamics being used to frame, the “micro-level” questions ask about the (1) specific language/terms being used, (2) types of content chosen, (3) spokespersons used, (4) overall tone, and the (5) implicit takeaway message.

  1. In analyzing the language used to report the news, determine if there are specifically “values-laden” terms being used, meaning terms that convey a specific value statement. As the earlier example demonstrated, using “pro-abortion” rather than “pro-choice” contributes to a frame that conveys a specific stance on the issue of abortion.
  2. In analyzing the content chosen (and not chosen), does the article present more quotes or more statistics, and what does that content suggest regarding how the article is being framed? Moreover, how does the content vary from news source to news source? What are the different types of content being presented?
  3. In analyzing the spokespersons quoted, determine the type of spokespersons used and if more than one is used. In the case of multiple spokespersons, then, determine if there are any false equivalents—meaning spokespersons that when juxtaposed do not reflect an apples-to-apples comparison. For example, many LGBTQ advocacy leaders I have worked with have discussed how media sometimes juxtapose their perspective with a religious leader’s perspective. Both perspectives are valid, but they do not present two comparable perspectives. One is the perspective of a religious leader focused on very specific religious aspects, and the other is the perspective of an advocacy leader focused on political and legal change.
  4. As you start to discern all of these aspects, you can determine the article’s overall tone. Together, does the content convey a positive, negative, or neutral tone? Is it hopeful or pessimistic?
  5. Finally, when you take a step back, what is the overarching takeaway? What does this article teach you about the given topic?
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