Reflection – Research Task Week 4 – Media Audiences

Since me and most people in my group did the group research task before the individual task, I just realised we didn’t put the people we had interviewed in the right ABC1 categories. We’d put them into categories based on their own source of income, and the ABC1 system is based not on the individual source, but rather on the household source. So if your family mainly relies on the income of your mother or father, and they are at an intermediate managerial position, even though you are a student and don’t earn much, the household is B, so you need to be in B as well. There is a reason for that – in a household (usually a family unit), people tend to consume particular types of products and media objects which are common or very similar across all household members. Eg., if your father is reading The Guardian, it is most likely you would be reading it as well, or if not this particular piece – stuff from the same type. Same for books and films – you are influenced and ‘guided’ for your consumption by your closest people, in this case, family.

The question we asked in the group task was, ‘I hate photoshopped images in women’s magazines. Do you?’. From the people I interviewed, it turned out people either had a very strong opinion and yes, they hated these kind of images, or they didn’t care at all – the youngest (20) and the oldest (53) people I interviewed (both male and C1), didn’t seem to have this problem in their lives – they don’t read women’s magazines and don’t see why an image in them might be a problem for anyone.

What I learned from this task:

  1. Do your research well – if you don’t know the definition of the terms you are using, it’s highly probable you’d be misusing them.
  2. It is very hard but important to understand how to work with survey data – if you choose the wrong criteria, or don’t sort the raw data right, you might end up with totally different (and often: wrong) results.
  3. Audience groups are important not only for targeting media objects – they can be used for defining the right type of people you will need to interview for a survey.
  4. Income source and social grade is just one of the many criteria we need to look at when researching audiences – it’s not good enough for all the various types of people out there, and even if you have people with the same economical background, they vary in age, gender and interests.
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