Coding Newspaper Articles on Human Trafficking in Russian

This semester I have been working on a research project at the Human Trafficking Research Lab. I work to explore, analyze and trace the patterns of human trafficking within the given timeline. I am coding newspapers for a paper entitled "The Social Construction of Trafficking in Russian Media" and conducting a content analysis of Russian central and regional newspapers. Usually, while coding I go through two cycles of verification before deciding on a code. Once I code the paragraph or a specific sentence, I make sure that the given content fits the code descriptors and only then do I move to the following article. The gripping part of coding papers, which is also sometimes puzzling, is the dynamics between bias and objectivity. Throughout time it appears that the bias takes over the Russian media, hence, a decline in negative attitudes toward actors occurs. 

The Human Trafficking Research Lab allows me to observe how empirical research can be carried out in practice. Another privilege I have been granted is the opportunity to cooperate with Dr. Laura Dean, I have total freedom in establishing my research schedule, and if I come across any difficulties, I can discuss them with her during our meetings. Considering the target time frame, the scope of the content analysis envisages not only Central Russia but also former soviet states and sometimes Russian propaganda per se. I reckon that human trafficking is a complex issue to tackle, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between different forms of trafficking due to framing. In some instances, I encounter trafficking cases in papers that I code, however, those cases are not labeled as trafficking by the authors, which accentuates the complexity of the issue. Some articles tend to be more difficult to read due to content and familiarity, the cases and countries discussed in the articles are close to the culture and background I come from, therefore, I do take extra time reading them. Periodically I become so captivated by the content of the newspapers that I have an urge to do further studies on them and check the legitimacy of claims made.

Kocha Changelia
UGRAD exchange student
International Black Sea University
Tbilisi, Georgia.


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