Humanities and social scientific research methods in porn studies

Publisher:
Taylor & Francis Online
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Porn Studies, 2014, 1 (1-2), pp. 53 - 63
Issue Date:
2014-03-21
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© 2014 Taylor & Francis. Porn studies researchers in the humanities have tended to use different research methods from those in social sciences. There has been surprisingly little conversation between the groups about methodology. This article presents a basic introduction to textual analysis and statistical analysis, aiming to provide for all porn studies researchers a familiarity with these two quite distinct traditions of data analysis. Comparing these two approaches, the article suggests that social science approaches are often strongly reliable-but can sacrifice validity to this end. Textual analysis is much less reliable, but has the capacity to be strongly valid. Statistical methods tend to produce a picture of human beings as groups, in terms of what they have in common, whereas humanities approaches often seek out uniqueness. Social science approaches have asked a more limited range of questions than have the humanities. The article ends with a call to mix up the kinds of research methods that are applied to various objects of study.
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