Research Proposal #8: Qualitative Data Sources for Interpretivist Research

I am proposing to research the changing meaning of various Italian national anthems from 1922 to the present. I would like to find out what discourses explain the differences in the Italian national anthems Giovenezza, Marcia Reale, and Il Canto degli Italiani. This research attempts to explain to readers how actors such as the Italian public and the government portrayed the three different anthems, each sharing similar lyrical meanings and original intentions, in different ways. [1]

The piece that first introduced me to the discourse surrounding the Italian national anthem is The Role of Music in Fascism Propaganda: The Example of the Mussolini Italy by Derya Karaburun Doğan. Doğan analyzed the decision of the Italian fascist party to never formally adopt a national anthem, but to merely employ a tactic of requiring the de facto anthem (Giovenezza) to be played regularly throughout the public. The anthem to the fascists, she argues, represents an appeal to the roots of traditional Italian society and rejection of the monarchical hymn Marcia Reale. The fascists began to require radio stations to play the Giovenezza at the conclusion of every radio show, eventually leading to a national rejection of the long and gaudy Marcia Reale that had concluded radio shows since the beginning of the century.  When the Marcia Reale was officially reinstated in 1945, the anthem had become so despised by the public that it only lasted one year before being removed as the official anthem. Until 2017 when it became official , Il Canto degli Italiani served as the de facto anthem. This gradual narrative adjustment of  Italian anthems began from fascist undertones that still exist today in Italian anthem literature. 

In Italy’s New Patriotism; Putting Pinocchio to work, Barbie Nadeau argued that the entrance of Italy into the European Community created a backlash of sorts, leading to a desire for Il Canto degli Italiani to be officially codified as the de jure anthem. These grassroots organizations mobilized around existing sectarian lines, expanding regional schisms. Il Canto degli Italiani was perceived as a symbol for Italian sovereignty in the wave of European cultural unification  in the early 2000s. Political organizations such as the Liga Nord used the de facto national anthem as a rallying cry in the lead up to general elections, most notably in the recent 2019 election where they gained a majority of seats in the legislature. Organizations such as Liga Nord often conflict with pro-European groups such as Forza Italia, who remained ideologically similar except in regards to their embrace of either European or Italian symbols. [3]



[1] Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, Joseph M. Williams, Joseph Bizup, and William T. Fitzgerald, The Craft of Research (4th ed.), Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016, 54.

[2]  Derya Karaburun Doğan, “The Role of Music in Fascism Propaganda: The Example of the Mussolini Italy / Faşizm Propagandasında Müziğin Rolü: Mussolini İtalyası Örneği,” Folklor/Edebiyat 25, no. 97 (2019): 229–243,

[3] Barbie Nadeau, “Italy’s New Patriotism; Putting Pinocchio to Work: [Atlantic Edition],” Newsweek, International Ed.; New York, March 17, 2003.

Research Post #7: Qualitative Data Sources

Through my analysis of the literature within the topic of the semiotics of music I have been able to distill common themes and approaches to self-reported interpretations of music, namely the use of scaled measurements. [1] For my independent variable I will use a  metric developed by Tyson and McLaughlin in their RAP (rap music attitude and perception) study of male/female constructs of rap music, adjusted to my independent variables to fit within the framework of national anthems. [2] When put into practice of qualitative studies, the RAP scale yields high levels of consistency. [3] I will retain one of the variables measured in the scale, the “violent” measurement, and switch the other two to tempo and an understanding of history behind the national anthem, which will be measured through surveys. Perception of anthem data taken from surveys on three national anthems, Malaysia, The United States, and France, will be used to operationalize my independent variable. [4] These cases have been chosen due to the wide array of literature available for their anthems as well as the variance in the meaning of their lyrics, historical background, and tempo. Instead of 

As discussed within the development of the RAP scale, analyzing potential differences between groups is an important direction to begin research to ensure validity across group lines. Original sheet music retrieved from the will be used to determine the intended tempo of the anthems, and will be operationalized into a case study of differences or similarities in the tempo and cadences of the anthems. [5] The same database will be used to access the original lyrics, if applicable, to the anthems of the selected cases. These lyrics will be operationalized by addressing their level of “implicit violence-” namely the mentioning of narratives of violence in the lyrics. The operationalized connection between violent tendencies and song lyrics has been studied, but I will investigate if any hidden variables exist within the realm of national anthems and cause the outcome to change due to their role as national symbols. [6] The indicators for my dependant variable will be the adjusted indicators from the RAP scale, changed from “views of rap music” of certain cases to an analysis of national anthems. In a similar study, Tyson found out that owning more rap media corresponds to a higher perception of rap music. [7] Echoing Tyson, I will assume that recognizing a national anthem by the melody for a country as well as being able to describe the historical background of the case’s anthem will indicate a positive perception of that anthem. 

[1]  Clark, L. A., & Watson, D. (1995). Constructing validity: Basic issues in objective scale development. Psychological Assessment, 7(3), 309-319. Retrieved from:

[2] Edgar H. Tyson and Alicia McLaughlin, “Do Males and Females Report Similar Constructs of Rap Music? A Cross-Gender Validity Study of the Rap Music Attitude and Perception Scale,” Gender & Behaviour; Ile-Ife 10, no. 2 (December 2012): 4926–48.

[3] Edgar H. Tyson, “Rap-Music Attitude and Perception Scale: A Validation Study,” Research on Social Work Practice 16, no. 2 (March 1, 2006): 211–23,

[4]Cheong Soon Gan, “The National Anthem: Contested and Volatile Symbol of Post-Colonial Malaysia, 1957–69,” South East Asia Research 23, no. 1 (2015): 61–78,; Naomi Winstone and Kirsty Witherspoon, “‘It’s All about Our Great Queen’: The British National Anthem and National Identity in 8–10-Year-Old Children,” Psychology of Music 44, no. 2 (March 2016): 263–77,; Also Avi Gilboa and Ehud Bodner, “What Are Your Thoughts When the National Anthem Is Playing? An Empirical Exploration,” Psychology of Music 37, no. 4 (October 2009): 459–84,

[5] “Nationalanthems.Info,” accessed October 27, 2019,

[6] Craig A. Anderson, Nicholas L. Carnagey, and Janie Eubanks, “Exposure to Violent Media: The Effects of Songs with Violent Lyrics on Aggressive Thoughts and Feelings.,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 84, no. 5 (2003): 960–71, 

[7]  Edgar H. Tyson, “The Rap Music Attitude and Perception (RAP) Scale,” Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment 11, no. 3–4 (October 12, 2005): 59–82,


Research Post #6

I am proposing to research the changing narratives behind national anthems. I would like to find out what explains the success of some national anthems at producing national pride across time, compared to similar failures of other anthems in similar circumstances. This research attempts to explain to readers what primary factor of causality drives the changes in interpretations of national anthems over time. [1]

My research question for a large-n neopositivist study is: “What explains variation in levels of support (defined as the national anthem achieving its goal of instilling a sense of national pride) for national anthems. 

I found it most likely that I will need to create my own data set for this research. Inside such a dataset, or in one already constructed, I would operationalize the change in national support of national anthems by creating a unique plus/minus ordinal grading scale. There is some variance of measurement in national surveys across world polls on national pride, so a unique grading scale would be necessary for this project. After recording the time and event of a dependant variable occurring, survey data from before and after the dependant variable will be measured. 

A set of selected cases to a set of comprehensive independent variables would be selected from various national or international survey services. An existing dataset that I will use as a measurement tool recording the change in opinion of the US national anthem is a combination of the 1991 Gallup May 4 Poll and 2001 Terrorism Reaction Poll #3. As mentioned earlier, I will compile these polls into a single ordinal grading scale. The questions in each poll was: Which of the following would you PREFER as the national Anthem? The Star Spangled Banner, My Country ‘Tis of Thee, America the Beautiful, or God Bless America?” Only the difference of % of respondents who chose The Star Spangled Banner will be measured. In this data set, only one case for my research (the United States’ perception of their national anthem) was measured, so similar datasets for other cases are necessary for a large-n analysis. [2] 

At the moment, two of the primary independent variables I am investigating are the effects of institutions and inherent human psychology on how perception of national anthems change over time. A possible limitation of the datasets is the nonuniformity of such national survey polls. This will force me into creating a custom ordinal grading scale, possibly creating problems in terms of ignored variables within the cases. 

[1] Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, Joseph M. Williams, Joseph Bizup, and William T. Fitzgerald, The Craft of Research (4th ed.), Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016, 54.

[2] Gallup Poll News Service. May Wave, #4. Gallup Survey Distribution. (05/23/1991-05/26/1991). Retrieved from:; Also Gallup Poll News Service. Terrorism Reaction Poll, #3. CNN/USA Today. (09/21/2001-09/22/2001). Retrieved from: