The Significant Other: A Longitudinal Analysis of Significant Samples in Journalism Research, 2000–2014

Ben S. Wasike


This study examined the methodology journalism scholars use when studying significant samples, or “those persons who have attained an unusually pervasive and lasting reputation, regardless of whether that reputation be great or small.” Using Simonton’s work as the theoretical guide, the study content analyzed a census of articles published in 10 major journalism journals from 2000 to 2014. Results showed that the typical study examining significant samples is psychometric and is also quantitative, nomothetic, longitudinal, singularly focused, and exploratory. In addition, it uses macro units and observes the subject indirectly. The study also found similarities between the study of significant samples and extant work in terms of the preponderance of quantitative methods and the use of content analysis as a data collection method. The ramifications are discussed.


research methods, significant samples, journalism research, meta-analysis, Simonton

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