In this area, you will find resources including methods for our media content analysis and training procedure, a code book of variables with their definitions, a sample character ID coding sheet, a comprehensive list of top 30 U.S. movies 1950-2006, as well as a summary of findings and list of references.

In the Movie Data section you can download variables used in publications or graph them. Descriptions of available variables are included.


The movie phases of the project found increases in some aspects of sex, violence, and suicide and decreases in some aspects of tobacco and alcohol. See the book The Changing Portrayal of Adolescents in the Media Since 1950 (Oxford, 2008), or other publications listed on the Publications page.


Movie Coder Training:

Our coders are undergraduates from the University of Pennsylvania – primarily majoring in Communication at the Annenberg School. They are recruited for their exceptional academic performance, attention to detail, and interest in the project. Also, they more closely represent our target adolescent population than older coders would.

New coders undergo a rigorous training regimen in order to familiarize them with the data collection procedures as well as to ensure inter-coder reliability. We use Krippendorff’s alpha measure with a score of 0.7 as our criterion in determining reliability among coders.

A ‘gold standard’ of coding responses for a diverse sample of training movies was used to train coders. These standards contain coding responses from an initial set of coders who reached reliability with each other on all content in the code book. Some of the definitions were refined in consultation with the project designers, retrained on, and tested again for reliability. These expert coders agreed on the best coding response for each question. These codes were then deemed the gold standards, and all future coders were expected to arrive at the same answers during training.

After studying our code book, trainees went through three phases of training. First, they watch portions of several training movies in five-minute segments and are given the gold standard codes to help them see how the coding instrument is applied. In the next phase, trainees code segments from several movies on their own before being presented with the gold standard. Trainees then move to the final phase by coding several full length films as well as additional segments that expose them to rare content. Intercoder reliability is obtained at this phase for all content measures and further training is conducted if necessary. Once satisfactory reliability has been established for each trainee, they start coding from the project’s actual sample.

Coding Instrument:

Considerations on a Web-Based Survey Software Platform: CHAMP’s Choice for Its Content Analysis


This code book area provides descriptions and definitions of variables coded for films. These variables measure the frequency, explicitness, and other characteristics of the recorded behaviors.


This area provides additional resources for researchers who are interested in starting their own content analyses. It offers both theoretical and practical support, such as a sample character ID sheet and papers on reliability and validity by experts.


In this section you can download variables used in publications or graph them along year trend lines. Descriptions of available variables are included as well as the sample list of top 30 U.S. movies 1950-2012.

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Click here to Download the movie data