Dataset for Content Analysis of Media Coverage of the 2015 British General Election

  • Susan Banducci (Creator)
  • Iulia Cioroianu (Creator)
  • Travis Coan (Creator)
  • Gabriel Katz (Creator)
  • Ekaterina Kolpinskaya (Creator)
  • Daniel Peter Stevens (Creator)



These data consist of analysis of media coverage of the 2015 British General Election. Media included are national newspapers, local newspapers, national and regional television news, and radio. The complete list of outlets is included in the codebooks.

The substantive questions examined were: The flow of campaign information. Traditional academic models depict campaign information flows as linear, from elites to opinion leaders to masses, but this may no longer be accurate in a world in which social media can provide a platform for opinion leaders (and masses) to produce information. While some think that social media have made opinion leaders even more important, others argue that it has cut them out of the picture, with information flowing directly to the consumer. The changing media landscape matters in a second way - not in terms of the flow of information but, more straightforwardly, for where if at all people obtain political information in a world of declining newspaper readership and trust in media. Moreover, the traditional media no longer play the same gatekeeping role, potentially diluting their influence on the issue agenda. For example, traditional campaigns in the UK followed a pattern in which parties held morning press conferences that launched the 'theme of the day'. While the media may not have always framed the theme in the way parties would have wished, the press conference set the issue agenda for 24 hours. That no longer seems to be the case. The role of the media, both social and traditional, in the post-election period. Interpretations of election results may be important in two respects: in conferring legitimacy upon the outcome and thus fostering what is sometimes known as "losers' consent", and in providing a narrative about the mandate the incoming government enjoys. The study also addressed four deficiencies in existing studies of British media election coverage: that they tend to focus on election coverage, ignoring non-election coverage and thus not permitting analysis of the overall news context or the prominence of the election as an issue; that the data are either not made publicly available or only made available years after the election; that recent British election studies have permitted little understanding of media effects due to very few questions about media habits; and that British media studies tend to rely exclusively on survey data, ignoring the benefits for establishing causation and effect sizes offered by field experiments. The proposed research brought together investigators with a unique combination of expertise in human and automated traditional and social media content analysis and statistical modelling skills.
Date made available8 Jun 2017
PublisherUK Data Service
Temporal coverage1 Feb 2015 - 30 May 2015
Geographical coverageUnited Kingdom

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