This edition: Media Audience and Feedback
To remain competitive, media institutions need to assess and accommodate the ways audiences use media content. Academic researchers, meanwhile, have an ongoing curiosity in how audiences incorporate their use of media in their larger social and psychological worlds. An accurate picture of the audience is always elusive, however, because tastes and needs change constantly and are difficult to articulate. Quantitative measurement techniques and qualitative investigations of audience activities and motivations both help track the evolution of audiences. Both approaches to audience research undergo constant revision as new insights and technologies drive new ways of extracting information.
This lesson examines ways media researchers collect, interpret, and use audience feedback. It might be useful here to highlight a principle that applies to the whole course and will be especially important for you to keep in mind as you study audience research: You will learn much more about media audiences and the research that describes them if you approach the course information as material for an exercise in critical thinking, not merely as a set of facts you need to accumulate.