Scientific Consensus Statement

English homework help: BACKGROUND. Imagine that you work for the United Nations, who issued (through their Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) a scientific consensus statement indicating that humans almost certainly cause global warming. At the same time, you are concerned that newspapers who report on global warming (also called climate change) may be presenting the issue with a “false balance” – presenting arguments for and against humans causing climate change, when there is a scientific consensus on one side of the issue. A previous study found evidence for this false balance (Boykoff & Boykoff, 2004); your job is to assess whether patterns of coverage in the last 6 months reflect a similar tendency to report with a false balance.

YOUR TASKS. Your job is to develop a sampling strategy and codebook for a content analysis of New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and Wall Street Journal news stories related to global warming and/or climate change published in the last 6 months. In order to do so, you will need to complete the 6 steps involved in doing a content analysis.

The population of interest for this assignment includes all news stories related to global warming and/or climate change published in the last 6 months. To obtain copies of the text of these news stories, you should use Nexis Uni and enter the following search term for stories that have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, & Wall Street Journal abstracts (you may choose whether to focus on print stories only, blogs, or both – see Nexis’ list of sources for these papers):

“global warming” OR “climate change”

AND DATE is within the last 6 months

You may not be able to analyze all of these news stories (e.g., conduct a census), depending on how many newspaper articles are retrieved with this search term, so you may need to figure out a sampling strategy that will allow you to test whether or not these newspapers cover global warming and/or climate change in a falsely balanced way using a sample of news stories.

Task 1. In approximately two single-spaced, typed pages (12-pt font), answer each of the following questions: (4.5 points in total)

1) DEVELOP YOUR MEASURES (step 2 from lecture)

a. Provide a one-sentence conceptual definition of each variable involved in the research question. You’ll need to provide a conceptual definition for (a) news stories related to global warming and/or climate change, and (b) false balance. You will find the following articles helpful to look at as a starting point. You may start from the authors’ conceptualizations of related terms like “information bias,” “balanced reporting,” and “false balance”, but you should come up with your own definitions of what would constitute a “false balance.” (1 point)

Boykoff, M. T., & Boykoff, J. M. (2004). Balance as bias: Global warming and the US prestige press. Global Environmental Change, 14, 125-136. doi: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2003.10.001. Available online at:

Dixon, G., & Clarke, C. (2013). The effect of falsely balanced reporting of the autism-vaccine controversy on vaccine safety perceptions and behavioral intentions. Health Education Research, 28, 352-359. doi:10.1177/1075547012458290. Available online at:

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