Amsterdam School of Communication Research / ASCoR

Measurement Issues in Linkage Analysis - Causes, Consequences and Possible Remedies

27Mar2017 15:30 - 17:00


Research Priority Area Communication Lecture by Professor Michael Scharkow (Zeppelin University, Friedrichshafen, Germany) about Linkage Analysis (a sophisticated media effect research design that reconstructs the likely exposure to relevant media messages of individual survey respondents by complementing survey data with a content analysis).

It is an important improvement over survey-only designs: Instead of predicting some outcome of interest by media use and implicitly assuming what kind of media messages the respondents were exposed to, linkage analysis explicitly takes the media messages into account. The design in its modern form has been around for nearly 40 years and is today considered a “state-of-the art analysis of the impact of specific news consumption”.

However, from a methodological standpoint, linkage analyses are especially sensitive to measurement error, since two sources of error influence the results separately and in combination. Depending on the distribution of media content, the reliability of the coding and the quality of the self-reported media exposure, media effects can be seriously and systematically biased, and uncorrected linkage analyses will typically lead to severely downward-biased effect estimates.

In the talk, we will briefly review measurement issues in content analysis and self-reported media use, then demonstrate how these affect linkage analyses, and then introduce several approaches to account for measurement error and obtain less biased media effect estimates.

Finally, we will discuss possible strategies to improve measurement of media content and exposure instead of - or rather in addition to - statistical post-hoc adjustments.

About Michael Scharkow

Currently Professor of Communications (Zeppelin University, Friedrichshafen, Germany, and until recently Research Associate, Institut für Kommunikationswissenschaft, Universität Hohenheim, Stuttgart). Also, Vice chair of the Methods Division of the German Communication Association (2014-2016) and Member of the editorial board of Communication Measures and Methods.


If you plan to come, please register by sending an e-mail to

Location: Roeterseiland Campus, room C10.20

  • Roeterseilandcampus - gebouw B/C/D (ingang B/C)

    Nieuwe Achtergracht 166 | 1018 WV Amsterdam
    Receptie B: 525 5340 Receptie C: 525 5470

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Published by  ASCoR