Audience Research As a group, we conducted research into our target audience. Before doing so, however, we needed to agree on several details to ensure that our methodological structure was sound. First of all, we needed to create an initial idea of a target audience, after which we could decide on what specific details we want to find out about this target audience. Target Audience It is vital that we have an initial idea of what our target audience is as only then can we start thinking about the very purpose of our research. We therefore created both a demographic profile and a psychological profile of our envisaged target audience. Demographics Age: 14-22 Sex: either <ul><li>Psychographics </li></ul><ul><li>Preferred musical genres are rock/ indie-rock/ alternative rock </li></ul><ul><li>Favourite bands likely to be Kings of Lyon/ Oasis/ The Killers/ Franz Ferdinand/ Arctic Monkeys etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Likely to wear skinny jeans/ skinny tops/ checked shirts/ plimsolls/ pea coats/ retro clothing </li></ul><ul><li>Likely to shop mainly at Topshop/ Topman/ H&M/ Charity/Vintage Shops/ eBay/ American Apparel </li></ul><ul><li>Likely to go to gigs/ music festivals on a fairly regular basis </li></ul><ul><li>If male, may be in a band </li></ul><ul><li>Unlikely to do much sport competitively </li></ul><ul><li>Likely spend spare time with friends/ at parties/ listening to music </li></ul><ul><li>Likely to drink on a fairly regular basis, may also smoke </li></ul><ul><li>Likely to enjoy mostly British films; either social realism (e.g. This is England, 2006/ Billy Elliot, 2000 etc.), those about music (e.g. Quadrophenia, 1979/ Control, 2007 etc.) or unconventional (e.g. A Clockwork Orange, 1971/ Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, 1998) </li></ul><ul><li>Likely to take some pride in appearance and a sense of individuality </li></ul>
Methodology Once we had agreed on this idea of our target audience, we had to consider several possible methodological designs before ultimately choosing what we felt the most appropriate and effective method. Initially, we considered using a voxpop as this would provide the opportunity to ask varied and very specific questions spontaneously in order to elaborate on previous interesting points. By doing this, we would have an effective way of gaining very detailed information. However, we also considered the negative aspects and found that there would be too many of these, weakening the reliability of our results. For example, one elemental flaw of the design is that it only allows for a limited sample size (8-10 maximum), weakening the generalisability of our results as a sample size of just 6-10 is clearly not enough to represent a whole audience. Furthermore, the sample is likely to be biased as participants would most likely be selected by us on an opportunity sampling basis, therefore we are likely to know the participants beforehand, and perhaps selecting those who we know will provide the results we want. A further important flaw of design is that, even if we somehow managed to select an unbiased, random sample, it would be likely that the majority of participants would be hesitant when expressing personal details in such socially public circumstances, there would naturally be a select number of participants dominating discussions, whereby the already small sample size is reduced in effect two just 3/ 4. It is clear, then, that although the relatively unstructured nature of the voxpop allows for flexible and specific questioning, it simply has too many flaws to be seriously considered. We thought that perhaps one way of getting around these flaws whilst keeping much of the benefits of the design would be to conduct interviews, as by doing this we could maintain a relatively unstructured format to allow for specific questioning, whilst being able to use a much larger sample size. However, doing this would take time, and a lot of it. We simply would not have the time to conduct 5-10 minute interviews with 10-15 people, and ideally we would like a sample size closer to or exceeding 20. Therefore, we had to dismiss this too. In order to overcome the problem of time, we realised that creating a questionnaire would be the simplest method. Using a questionnaire, we could use a much larger and much more random sample, increasing the generalisability of our results. Furthermore, it provides the opportunity to gather both quantitative and qualitative data, the former making the evaluation of the data a much simpler task. Eventually, then, we decided on creating a questionnaire. We decided that this questionnaire would be sent out as an attachment via e-mail to the entire sixth form at CNS. By doing this, we will effectively be using a volunteer sampling method, where we give a large amount of people the choice to participate and those who want to will. This creates a more random sample, as when we choose the sample ourselves there is always a risk of a biased sample. Furthermore, as it is done by e-mail and there is no personal contact, interviewer and/ or social desirability bias will be less significant than in the other two methods discussed. We feel, then, that by creating a questionnaire we have the best compromise of pros and cons compared to the other designs we have considered.
<ul><li>Creating the Questionnaire </li></ul><ul><li>Since we already have an idea of our target audience, it is important to include both questions which will help us identify this audience and those that help us expand on this idea and help us learn more about our target audience. We have therefore designed our questions on a basis of answering either ‘what we already know’ or ‘what we want to find out’. For example, we have said that our target audience listens mainly to rock/ indie-rock/ alternative rock music, therefore when a participant selects these genres in a ‘what’s your favourite genre?’ type question, we will know that this person is part of our target audience, therefore the rest of his answers will tell us more about what our target audience wants from a music video. By using this concept we were able to create highly focused questions each serving a specific purpose in helping us achieve our collective purpose; which is to find out more about what our target audience wants from music videos. We agreed that we wanted to find out the following points about our target audience: </li></ul><ul><li>Aspirations after 6 th form </li></ul><ul><li>Passions/ interests </li></ul><ul><li>How important they think music videos are (i.e. to what extent can they improve/ worsen a song) </li></ul><ul><li>What they think makes a good music video </li></ul><ul><li>What kind of ideologies do they think should be represented in music/ music videos </li></ul>Creating the Questions In order to spread out the workload evenly within our group, we agreed to each contribute four questions, creating a total of twelve questions. We also agreed that we shouldn’t contribute more than one open question each, in order to avoid receiving too much qualitative data.
<ul><li>The Completed Questionnaire </li></ul><ul><li>Below is our completed questionnaire: </li></ul><ul><li>Gender: Male Female </li></ul><ul><li>Age: 11-12 13-15 16-18 </li></ul><ul><li>Aspirations after finishing 6 th form: </li></ul><ul><li>Go to University Take a Gap Year and go to University Take a Gap Year and Get a Job </li></ul><ul><li>Get a Job Travel Undecided Other: ........................................... </li></ul><ul><li>Which of the following do you do regularly in your spare time: </li></ul><ul><li>Go Out With Friends Listen to Music Watch Films Read Books </li></ul><ul><li>Play Sport Play Musical Instrument Play on Computer/ Other Console </li></ul><ul><li>Study Get Drunk Go To Gigs Go To Raves Go To Parties </li></ul><ul><li>Other: ........................................... ........................................... ........................................... </li></ul>
<ul><li>Which of the following music genres do you prefer: </li></ul><ul><li>Hip-Hop Rap Grime Rock Indie </li></ul><ul><li>Heavy Metal Alternative Rock Classic Rock Acoustic </li></ul><ul><li>Country & Western Reggae Dance Rave House </li></ul><ul><li>Jazz Funk R&B Classical Opera </li></ul><ul><li>Other: ........................................... ........................................... ........................................... </li></ul><ul><li>In your opinion, which of the following statements best sum-up the importance of music videos: </li></ul><ul><li>In your opinion, which of the following are important in a good music video: </li></ul>Not important at all, only the music counts The quality of the music video is more important than the quality of the song Quite important, a really bad one can ruin a decent song/ a good one can improve a mediocre song Very important, a song can only be good if it has a good music video Music videos have the power to make or break a song Humour/ Jokes Attractive women Attractive men An exciting narrative Visuals relevant to the song Visuals irrelevant to the song Other: .......................................... Well choreographed dance moves Glamorous locations A desirable/ fashionable protagonist (artist) Lots of close-up and low-angled shots of the artist(s) Live performances of the artist(s)
<ul><li>On a scale of 1-5 (1 = lowest, 5 = highest), how importantly do you regard your appearance/ clothes: </li></ul><ul><li>1 2 3 4 5 </li></ul><ul><li>Which of the following shops do you prefer: </li></ul><ul><li>Topshop/ Topman H&M ZARA House of Fraser USC </li></ul><ul><li>JD JJB Sportsworld Next </li></ul><ul><li>Punky Fish Charity/ Vintage shops eBay </li></ul><ul><li>Other: ..................................................... </li></ul><ul><li>On a scale of 1-5 (1 = lowest, 5 = highest), to what extent would you say that your appearance/ fashion sense is influenced by the music you listen to: </li></ul><ul><li>1 2 3 4 5 </li></ul><ul><li>Many people argue that women are represented negatively in music videos, to what extent do you agree (1 = not at all, 5 = completely agree): </li></ul><ul><li>1 2 3 4 5 </li></ul><ul><li>Do you believe that these ‘negative’ representations have the potential to adversely affect young girls (and boys)? </li></ul><ul><li>Yes, definitely Probably Maybe Probably not </li></ul><ul><li>Definitely not Don’t know Don’t care </li></ul>
Gathering Data We thought that by creating a questionnaire we would be able to get a large sample, and we were right: we received 52 responses in the space of three days. There was, however, a slight change in the process of sending the questionnaires out compared to the method detailed above; due to the school email system, we were unable to isolate 6 th form students from lower-school students, and we were then unable to send an email to every student in one go due to a limitation of possible recipients. Consequently, we sent the questionnaire to a large number of random students by sending the email several times, selecting large groups of recipients each time. Once we obtained our responses, I processed the responses to each question by creating a table of possible responses for each question and then tallied each response. I first did this separately for the male participants and the female participants and then collectivised the results. Afterwards, I repeated the process but this time only processing the responses of those who I felt matched our initial target audience. I did this based on the responses they gave to the pre-planned ‘identification’ questions (e.g. favourite music genre, favourite shops and some general interests), as we knew that are target audience like indie/ rock music and shop at Topshop/ Topman/ H&M. Below is the data generated from all responses:
1. Age: 2. Gender: 11-12 13-15 16-18 All Responses 12 40 All Male Responses 7 7 All Female Responses 5 33 Target Audience Responses 8 21 Male Target Audience 4 2 Female Target Audience 4 19 Male Female All Responses 14 38 All Male Responses 14 All Female Responses 38 Target Audience Responses 6 23 Male Target Audience 6 Female Target Audience 23
3. Aspirations after finishing 6 th form: Go to University Take a Gap Year and go to University Take a Gap Year and Get a Job Get a Job Travel Undecided Other All Responses 24 16 2 2 6 8 Take a foundation degree (on the job course) College course and drama school. Apprenticeship All Male Responses 3 6 0 1 2 3 Take a foundation degree (on the job course) Apprenticeship All Female Responses 21 10 2 1 4 5 College course and drama school. Target Audience Responses 12 11 1 1 4 6 Male Target Audience 1 3 0 0 1 2 Female Target Audience 11 8 1 1 3 4 College course and drama school.
4. Which of the following do you do regularly in your spare time: Friends Music Films Read Sport Instrument Computer Study Get Drunk Gigs Raves Parties Other 48 35 24 16 19 9 16 20 16 16 2 32 Spend time with bf gym 12 8 4 2 9 3 7 4 1 2 8 36 27 20 14 10 6 9 16 15 14 2 24 Spend time with bf gym 27 25 16 11 10 8 10 13 9 12 0 18 0 6 6 3 0 3 2 4 3 0 2 0 3 0 21 19 13 11 7 6 6 10 9 10 0 15 0
5. Which of the following music genres do you prefer: Hip-Hop Rap Grime Rock Indie Heavy Metal Alternative Rock Classic Rock Acoustic Country & Western Reggae Dance Rave House Jazz Funk R & B Classical Opera Other 22 15 9 20 28 7 12 10 11 2 12 20 5 7 7 7 29 5 3 <ul><li>Disco </li></ul><ul><li>Electro </li></ul>6 6 2 7 4 2 4 4 1 0 3 3 1 1 4 4 6 1 0 0 16 9 7 13 24 5 8 6 10 2 9 17 4 6 3 3 23 3 2 <ul><li>Disco </li></ul><ul><li>Electro </li></ul>10 6 6 19 24 7 13 10 11 11 9 9 4 4 6 4 13 3 2 <ul><li>Electro </li></ul>2 1 1 6 2 2 4 4 1 0 2 1 0 0 2 2 2 0 0 0 8 5 5 13 22 5 9 6 10 11 7 8 4 4 4 2 11 3 2 <ul><li>Electro </li></ul>
6. In your opinion, which of the following statements best sum-up the importance of music videos: Not at all, only music counts Quite, really bad ruin decent song/ good improve mediocre more important than song Very, song only good if good music video make or break a song Other All Responses 15 31 1 3 Good one can improve a mediocre song, but a bad one wont ruin a good one. All Male Responses 6 6 2 0 1 0 All Female Responses 9 25 0 1 2 Good one can improve a mediocre song, but a bad one won’t ruin a good one. Target Audience Responses 8 20 0 1 1 0 Male Target Audience 2 3 0 0 1 0 Female Target Audience 6 17 0 1 0 0
7. In your opinion, which of the following are important in a good music video: Humour/ Jokes Well choreographed dance moves Attractive women Attractive men Glamorous locations An exciting narrative fashionable protagonist (artist) Visuals relevant to the song close-up and low-angled shots of the artist(s) Visuals irrelevant to the song Live performances of the artist(s) Other All Responses 9 25 10 15 9 11 9 36 5 3 17 dance routines that become ‘cool’ such as SOULJA BOY All Male Responses 2 4 7 0 2 0 1 8 0 1 5 0 All Female Responses 7 21 3 15 7 11 8 28 5 2 12 dance routines that become ‘cool’ such as SOULJA BOY Target Audience Responses 6 15 4 10 4 8 6 22 4 2 13 0 Male Target Audience 1 1 2 0 0 0 0 5 0 1 3 0 Female Target Audience 5 14 2 10 4 8 6 17 4 1 10 0
8. On a scale of 1-5 (1 = lowest, 5 = highest), how importantly do you regard your appearance/ clothes: 1 2 3 4 5 No answer All Responses 0 2 14 27 8 1 All Male Responses 0 1 4 8 1 0 All Female Responses 0 1 10 19 7 1 Target Audience Responses 0 1 9 16 3 1 Male Target Audience 0 0 3 3 0 0 Female Target Audience 0 1 6 13 3 1
9. Which of the following shops do you prefer: Topshop/ Topman H&M ZARA House of Fraser USC JD JJB Sports World Next Punky Fish Charity/ Vintage eBay Other All Responses 34 36 19 5 2 2 2 2 7 2 9 9 Black Lace Rock Collection Primark 2 3 Republic 3 Bank New Look 2 Jumble Sales Carboots Internacionale Madhouse All Male Responses 8 7 2 2 1 1 2 2 2 0 1 2 Primark Republic Madhouse All Female Responses 26 29 17 3 1 1 0 0 5 2 8 7 Black Lace Rock Collection Primark 3 Republic 2 Bank New Look 2 Jumble Sales Carboots Internacionale Target Audience Responses 20 24 11 4 0 2 1 1 3 2 6 4 Black lace rock collection Primark Republic 3 JUMBLE SALES /CARBOOTS Madhouse Male Target Audience 2 4 0 2 0 1 1 1 1 0 1 0 Republic Madhouse Female Target Audience 18 20 11 2 0 1 0 0 2 2 5 4 Black lace rock collection Primark Republic 2 JUMBLE SALES /CARBOOTS
10. On a scale of 1-5 (1 = lowest, 5 = highest), to what extent would you say that your appearance/ fashion sense is influenced by the music you listen to: 11. Many people argue that women are represented negatively in music videos, to what extent do you agree (1 = not at all, 5 = completely agree): 1 2 3 4 5 All Responses 17 11 13 7 2 All Male Responses 4 3 3 2 0 All Female Responses 13 8 10 5 2 Target Audience Responses 9 5 11 4 0 Male Target Audience 0 1 3 1 0 Female Target Audience 9 4 8 3 0 1 2 3 4 5 All Responses 3 14 20 9 5 All Male Responses 2 5 6 0 2 All Female Responses 1 9 16 9 3 Target Audience Responses 1 7 15 5 2 Male Target Audience 1 1 3 0 1 Female Target Audience 0 6 12 5 1
12. Do you believe that these ‘negative’ representations have the potential to adversely affect young girls (and boys)? Results As the above tables of responses show, 29 out of the 52 responses represent our target audience, with the remaining 23 providing much more general information about young people and popular culture. From this data, therefore, I can go on to draw conclusions about both our target audience and the preferences of popular culture amongst young people in general. I will first examine the latter, and then proceed to analyse our target audience in greater detail. Yes, definitely Probably Maybe Probably not Definitely not Don’t know Don’t care All Responses 13 18 12 6 4 3 “ At our age, what women wear in the videos is seen as fashionable to the girls and sexy to the guys so everyone’s a winner!” All Male Responses 4 2 4 2 0 3 1 All Female Responses 9 16 8 4 0 1 2 “ At our age, what women wear in the videos is seen as fashionable to the girls and sexy to the guys so everyone’s a winner!” Target Audience Responses 6 11 8 4 0 2 1 Male Target Audience 2 2 1 1 0 1 0 Female Target Audience 4 9 7 3 0 1 1
<ul><li>Young People and Popular Culture </li></ul><ul><li>For this, I will be using the data collected from all 52 responses. The graph below shows the preferred recreational activities of our sample: </li></ul>We can see that going out with friends is the most popular activity, followed by listening to music and going to parties. An interesting finding is that getting drunk appears to be an equally popular activity to reading and playing on the computer or other console – something one would expect to be a very popular pastime. This is especially interesting as the majority of the participants are under 18 years of age, and those that are 18 would have turned 18 very recently – yet the findings show that over a third of young people aged 13-18 regularly get drunk.
The two graphs above show the separate results of males and females. We can see that the graphs show that getting drunk is significantly more popular among girls than boys (39% vs. 7%) – which at first may seem quite surprising but may be a reflection of age differences between the samples; 50% of male participants were aged 13-15 whilst just 13% of female participants were aged 13-15. We can also see that playing sport is more popular amongst boys than it is for girls (64% vs. 26%), and that going out with friends, listening to music and going to parties remain the top three pastimes across both sexes. Despite apparently drinking more, however, the results show that girls both read more (37% vs. 14%) and study more (42% vs. 33%) than boys. Girls also watch more films (53% vs. 33%) whilst boys play on the computer/ other console more (50% vs. 24%).
This graph (left) shows us that R&B is the most popular musical genre among our participants, receiving 56% of responses and very closely followed by indie (54%). The following three preferred genres are hip-hop (42%), rock (38%) and dance (38%), whilst the rest are fairly evenly spread out.
These graphs show that rock is the most popular genre among boys (50%), closely followed by hip-hop (43%), rap (43%) and R&B (43%), whereas indie (63%) and R&B (61%) are clearly the two favourite genres amongst our female participants. These findings tell us a lot about popular culture as they reveal what kind of music young people like to listen to the most. The collective results show that R&B is currently the most popular genre amongst young people. This is also supported by my follow-up research to ‘materialism in music’ in which Taio Cruz’s ‘Break Your Heart’ (a conventional R&B song) was top of the UK singles chart. However, we can also remember that the music video for the song was very materialistic (receiving a score of 10/ 14). Despite the blatant masculine slant of the video (and most other R&B songs), however, it seems that the genre is more popular among girls than it is among boys. This may come as somewhat of a surprise, as Taio Cruz’s ‘Break You Heart’, for instance, is specifically about a male character openly behaving unfaithfully to his girlfriend. It seems hard to believe that the female character is designed to attract female fans who will want to relate to her, yet something is clearly attracting girls to such songs. I will explore arguments for this in greater detail in a separate post furthering my ongoing research into materialism in music.
This chart shows that over two-thirds of our participants believe that music videos have the power to improve a mediocre song and to ruin a decent song. This suggests that there is a lot of pressure on music videos, and also suggests that a large number of currently popular songs are popular largely because of the effectiveness of their music videos. If this is the case – that artists can be made popular because of their videos and not their music – then what does this mean for the artistic values of today’s popular music? One possible assumption that we can make from these results is that modern artists can become extremely popular with a repertoire of mediocre music, but in his/ her videos he/ she promotes a desirable image and/ or persona. In this way, artists are maybe becoming brands rather than artists in the true meaning of the word. Again, due to the complex nature of these findings, I will explore similar arguments in a different post. Here I will rather focus on a more general consumption of popular culture.
These charts suggest that females believe music videos to be more important than our male participants, as an equal amount of boys believed music videos to have no value as those that believed it to be able to improve/ ruin a mediocre/ decent song (40% vs. 40%). This is also perhaps a slightly surprising result, considering the seemingly male-dominated world of music videos (i.e. the male gaze theory and general popularity of male artists – on the date of my follow-up research for ‘materialism in music’, the 11 th of October, eight of the top ten in the UK singles chart were male-led acts, albeit some featured female artists, e.g. Jay-Z Ft. Alicia Keys).
This graph shows that our participants believe that relevant visuals are the most important factors in making a good music video – supporting Goodwin’s theory (1992). Well choreographed dance moves and live performances of the band are also seen as important.
These graphs show that relevant visuals are the most important factor across both sexes. However, there are some gender differences as males believe the inclusion of attractive women more important than females do the inclusion of attractive men (50% vs. 39%). Well choreographed dance moves and live performances of the band are also seen as important across both sexes, while a fashionable protagonist seems surprisingly unimportant. I will examine these findings in greater detail in a separate post, exploring possible reasons for gender differences and possible links between preferred genres and factors in good music videos i.e. are certain things seen as more important by those listening to particular genres. However, here I will now go on to explore the results of our target audience.
<ul><li>Target Audience Results </li></ul>This graph shows that going to university is the primary aspiration of our target audience, with 79% wanting to go to university, however with almost half of those (38% vs. 41%) preferring to take a gap year beforehand. This perhaps indicates that our target audience have some desire to travel and take a break from school before university life – revealing a part of their personality as perhaps either 1) looking for adventure (through travelling) and/ or 2) wanting to gain experience/ more perspective of (adult) life before going to university and/ or 3) simply wanting a break and/ or 4) simply not being ready for university and/ or 5) perhaps unsure of what to do/ where to go in life. These assumptions are supported to some extent by the 14% who said they want to travel and the 21% who were undecided about what to do. Ultimately however, the aspiration of going to university indicates that our target audience is generally fairly ambitious and aspirational in terms of future plans.
This pie chart shows that over two-thirds of our target audience believe music videos to be quite important, with them having the ability of improving mediocre songs or ruining decent ones. This is perhaps a little surprising, as one may expect an indie audience to place less emphasis on the video and more on the music, especially considering the fact that 86% of our target audience regularly listen to music and 28% play an instrument:
However, the apparent consensus regarding the importance of music videos perhaps suggests that music comes with a music video as a package, and both must be of good quality for the package to be successful. As for their pastimes, going out with friends and listening to music are clear favourites as expected, while watching films, reading books, studying and playing musical instruments are all at least 7% more popular among our target audience than among all 52 participants. Playing sport and going to raves have dropped in popularity while getting drunk remains just as prevalent (31%).
This graph shows that our target audience find relevant visuals to the song to be the most important factor in making a good music video, supporting Goodwin’s theory t (1992) t hat there is a relationship between music/ lyrics and visuals. This is useful information to us as we can therefore strengthen our music video and make it appeal to our target audience more by including strong links between the song and the visuals.
This pie chart shows that almost two-thirds of our target audience claim to regard the importance of their appearance and clothes as 4 out of a possible 5, while just over a third regard its importance as 3 out of 5 and just 10% gave it an importance of 5. This tells us more about the ideologies of our target audience, as these results show that most (66%) care a lot about their appearance (4 or 5 out of 5) however the remaining third (33%) don’t care that much (2 or 3 out of 5). This suggests that appearance is generally regarded as important by our target audience, however not by everyone and therefore not entirely overwhelmingly. This is perhaps reflected in the previous graph, in which 48% claimed that attractive members of the opposite sex are important in a music video compared to 76% said that relevant visuals are important. This shows that, while the appearance and level of attractiveness may be seen as important, it is not seen as the most important thing.
This pie chart tells us that most of our target audience believe that the influence of the music they listen to on their appearance/ fashion sense is 3 out of 5, while almost an equal amount believed the influence was just 1 out of 5. Overall, from this pie chart we can conclude that more of our target audience believe the music they listen to has little influence on their appearance than those who believe it to have a large influence. This supports our assumption that our target audience generally take pride in a sense of identity, hence they’re ‘indie’ preferences in both music and clothes (Topshop/ Topman and H&M were by far the most popular shops – 69% and 83% compared to 38% (ZARA) as next most popular). The original aim of ‘indie’ was to stand apart from the mainstream – to be independent and individual. However, among young people especially, this is perhaps beginning to become a self-contradictory term, as indie was joint favourite genre with R&B among young people in general (based on all 52 responses) and Topshop/ Topman and H&M were likewise the most popular shops. Furthermore, I have shown in my analysis of The Rumble Strip’s music video for ‘Not The Only Person’ that indie bands tend to wear clothes of a similar style to those sold in Topshop/ Topman and H&M – yet our participants argue not to be influenced by the music they listen to.
This pie chart shows that our target audience do not entirely agree with the claim that women are represented negatively in music videos, with only 24% strongly agreeing. Compare this to the 76% who don’t agree strongly and the 26% who don’t agree at all and it is clear that our target audience don’t believe negative female representations to be a major issue. Despite of this, over a third believe that negative representations ‘probably’ adversely affect audiences:
Although ‘probably’ is the most popular response, the responses are split fairly evenly between ‘probably’, ‘maybe’ and ‘definitely’. It therefore seems, judging by the responses to these last two questions, that our target audience believes that negative representations can have negative effects on audiences; however they are not entirely agreed upon the claim that there are currently negative representations of women in music videos.
Evaluation Although I have drawn several conclusions about both the consumption of popular culture and about our specific target audience from the above results, I must also consider the flaws and weaknesses of my research. First, however, I will consider some of the strengths and argue for the significance of these findings. One of the biggest strengths of the research is the relatively large sample size (52) which strengthens the generalisability of our findings. Another strength is that the questions generated quantitative data, which has enabled be to gain focused responses which have been easy to draw conclusions from. However, both of these factors also have downsides. Regarding the sample, for instance, there is a heavy gender bias towards females as we received 38 female responses compared to 14 male responses. This difference is even greater in our target audience, as I identified 23 female participants compared to just 6 males in our target audience. This has the potential to seriously confound our results as we believe our target audience to be equally male and female, however our sample does not represent an even spread. Our results arguably only represent that of our female target audience. This gender bias has most likely been a result of a flaw in the volunteer sampling method, as initially the questionnaire was sent out to an equal amount of males and females, however much more females responded. This suggests that the volunteer sampling method is an ineffective method for producing an unbiased sample as only certain types of people choose to participate, as shown by the overwhelming dominance of female participants. Although I can still apply my conclusions to our female target audience – in which sense the findings are significant and helpful to us – I must be cautious about applying them to our male target audience as a sample of 6 is clearly not large enough. The same problems apply for the conclusions I have drawn about young people’s consumption of popular culture. As for the high level of quantitative data, while this makes certain things easier, it also limits the validity of our results. This is because many of the questions can be seen as overly rigid and therefore not allowing participants to truly express their answer(s) how they intended to. Again, this has the potential to considerably damage the validity of our results, as several answers may not represent the true opinions of our participants as a result of the rigid nature of the question. helpful to my aim.
Question 6, for example, from which I have drawn a number of conclusions, is particularly at risk of this weakened validity because it is a multiple-choice question that offers very specific choices which are perhaps unsuitable and would have maybe benefited from a qualitative approach. Furthermore, although our questions were designed to help us find out specific information about our target audience, however in order to limit the number of questions we have arguably missed out some questions which may have generated crucial data. For example, we didn’t ask how they watch music videos, why or how often. We didn’t include questions such as this because we felt they didn’t reveal much about the ideologies held by our target audience, but rather just general information about consumption of popular culture, which although would have been useful, wasn’t part of our initial aim. However, upon reflection, it may have been advantageous to include such questions after all. In conclusion, it is clear that there are two significant flaws in our design which have lead to a weakened validity of our results, as well as a potential miss-selection of certain questions. However, I don’t believe that these factors totally discount my conclusions, as in questions where the responses are clearly overwhelming there will always be some truth and validity in the responses. Therefore, the weaknesses of our research are significant and do mean that I have to be cautious when applying my conclusions on a wider scale, however they do not render the research useless and many of the conclusions that I have drawn from the results have been helpful to my aim.