Visual deductive conflict frame (War Coverage)




war coverage, frame, visual frame


This variable describes how a war is depicted in the photos published by a news organization. It thereby suggests what interpretation or perspective on a war is promoted through the visual layer of news discourse. Visual frame analyses of war coverage have largely relied on deductive analyses. As such, studies measure frames that have been derived from the existing literature or small pilot studies (cf. Jungblut & Zakareviciute, 2019). Some of these deductive frames have been applied in multiple studies that are focused on a variety of conflict cases (e.g. Schwalbe, 2013; Schwalbe & Dougherty, 2015).

Field of application/theoretical foundation:

Visual frame analysis is grounded in the framing approach that describes a media frame as the result of a journalistic process of selecting some aspects of a given social reality and making them more salient than others (Entman, 1993). As such, visual framing is often measured to analyze how a war is depicted in the news. Research thus aims to unravel what image of a war is transported to the audience and thereby seeks to understand if there is a bias towards one of the involved conflict parties. As a result, visual frames usually tend to be conceptualized as the dependent variable within a research design (cf. Jungblut & Zakareviciute, 2019; Schwalbe, 2013).

References/combination with other methods of data collection:

Experimental research designs have been used to analyze the effect of different visual frames. In this, research examines whether visual framing can affect recipients’ attitude towards conflict parties and whether frames can evoke an emotional response in the audience (Brantner, Lobinger & Wetzstein, 2011).

Sample operationalization:

Please indicate which of these frames is present in the photo. In each photo, multiple frames can be present at the same time.




Conflict Frame

Depiction of the combatants, including weapons, troops, POWs, and combat

0 = frame is absent

1 = frame is present

Human Interest Frame

Depiction of noncombatants, such as civilians and humanitarian relief workers

0 = frame is absent

1 = frame is present

Violence of War Frame

Depiction of the results of conflict, such as injury, death, and destruction

0 = frame is absent

1 = frame is present

Anti-War Protest Frame

Depiction of anti-war demonstrations and protests

0 = frame is absent

1 = frame is present

Media Self-Reference Frame

Depiction of journalists at home and in the conflict zone

0 = frame is absent

1 = frame is present

Politicians Frame

Depiction of politicians and negotiations

0 = frame is absent

1 = frame is present

Looting Frame

Depiction of looting

0 = frame is absent

1 = frame is present

Oil Resources Frame

Depiction of oil fields and refineries

0 = frame is absent

1 = frame is present


Information on Schwalbe, 2013

Author: Carol B. Schwalbe

Research question/research interest: Visually Framing of the Iraq War in TIME, Newsweek, and U.S. News & World Report

Object of analysis: Three News Magazines (TIME, Newsweek and U.S. News & World Report)

timeframe of analysis: Time frame starts with the opening day of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq (March 19, 2003) and ended with the transfer of limited sovereignty to the provisional Iraqi government (June 28, 2004).

Info about variable

Variable name/definition: Deductive visual conflict frame

Level of analysis: Image

Values: 0 = absent, 1= present (for each of the described frames)

Scale: binary (nominal)



Brantner, C., Lobinger, K., & Wetzstein, I. (2011). Effects of visual framing and evaluations of news stories on emotional responses about the Gaza conflict 2009. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 88(3), 523-540.

Entman, R. M. (1993). Framing: Toward clarification of a fractured paradigm. Journal of Communication, 43(4), 51-58. doi:10.1111/j.1460-2466.1993.tb01304.x

Jungblut, M., & Zakareviciute, I. (2019). Do Pictures Tell a Different Story? A multimodal frame analysis of the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict. Journalism Practice, 13(2), 206-228.

Schwalbe, C. B. (2013). Visually framing the invasion and occupation of Iraq in Time, Newsweek, and US News & World Report. International Journal of Communication, 7, 239-262. Doi: 1932–8036/20130005

Schwalbe, C. B., & Dougherty, S. M. (2015). Visual coverage of the 2006 Lebanon War: Framing conflict in three US news magazines. Media, War & Conflict, 8(1), 141-162.



How to Cite

Jungblut, M. (2021). Visual deductive conflict frame (War Coverage). DOCA - Database of Variables for Content Analysis.



News/Journalism: Variables for Content Analysis