Researching world audiences: the experience of a complex methodology

Martin Barker, Ernest Mathijs

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This essay critically revisits the methods used in the 2003-4 Lord of the Rings international audience research project. We argue that its way of combining in its core implement, a complex questionnaire which eventually recruited almost 25,000 responses, a combination of quantitative and qualitative questions allowed the project to disclose what the film meant, and how it mattered to audiences in new and distinctive ways. Using in particular two sets of findings which emerged from the overall dataset – one relating to which audiences most enjoyed and valued the film, the other relating to patterns in cross-cultural
    responses – we show the particular ways the methods adopted allowed moves between quantitative and qualitative understandings. This discussion of methods is set within a reconsideration of debates about the apparent benefits of triangulation. We close by noting some limitations in the research, and suggesting ways future research might overcome those limitations.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)664-689
    Number of pages26
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012

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