Audience ethnography

Audience ethnography

For this assignment you are required to develop a log (worth 20%) and research report (worth 30%) on the television viewing behaviours of a group of people (3-4 people) with whom you are in contact covering weeks 8-11. The participants may be members of your family (siblings, parents, grandparents, cousins), a selection of friends, people at work (e.g. if TV is shown in the workplace), or others who you are able to access watching TV. Not all your participants need to be viewing at the same time but there should be something that unites them as a group. The participants you follow may consume television in any of its myriad forms e.g. broadcast, online, on laptops or on mobile phones.

As an ethnographer your role is to temporarily step out of your participants’ world and imagine you are from a different country or culture looking back at them with new eyes. What would you notice about their TV viewing habits that is interesting or unusual? Your main approach for this assignment is not to interview participants, but to observe them. However, if you are a participant ethnographer you may comment on conversations around shows that you have with your participants or that they have with others.

For ethical reasons, ensure you get verbal permission from your participants to observe them. You may use pseudonyms to protect the identity of your participants in your report.

Log  20%

Use the log sheet that will be available on ilearn and fill out details from your observations over the 4 weeks. Use Marie Gillespie’s observations on the use of television among South Asian families in Southall as a guide (Gillespie 1995, Week 9 readings). These log sheets and all working notes on observations must be included in an appendix at the end of your report.

Your log must provide details on the following:

  • Day, time, channel, type (e.g. free-to-air, pay TV)
  • How TV is viewed (e.g. on TV screen, laptop, tablet, mobile phone)
  • The nature of the content (programs watched, genre, language, advertisements etc.)
  • Duration of viewing
  • Other uses of television (e.g. to watch DVDs, use of games consoles etc.)
  • The people who shared or participated in the viewing events (describe them)
  • Activities that took place during the viewing events (e.g. Were participants doing something else at the same time as watching TV? What else was going on around them? If participants were having talking at the same time or tweeting, include salient quotes in your notes)

 Research Report   30%

In your report explain:

  • the aim of your research (including research questions)
  • your method (who you observed, why, when, where, and how; whether you were a participant as well as an observer; explain how readings on audience ethnography informed your approach)
  • a key theory (or couple of theories) that underpins your study e.g. globalization, glocalisation, cultural proximity, old and new technology etc.
  • your key observations (findings) over the 4 weeks (include detailed observations and specific quotes from your log)
  • a discussion that links your findings back to the key theories
  • your ideas for further research that may be interesting to follow up on

Link your discussion as much as possible to key ‘international’ concepts. For instance, when describing your participants you may consider their cultural, ethnic, and national backgrounds. You may explain the programs they watch in international terms e.g. what countries they come from, whether they are global formats, hybridisations, or local etc. You may consider what might be driving your participants’ TV choices culturally as well as any intersections with other factors like gender, class and generational differences as appropriate.

Length: 1500 words

Submit your report and log as one document to Turnitin.

You will be assessed on your ability to:

  • Clearly articulate the aim and method of their research.
  • Use robust and varied data from ethnographic observations.
  • Make connections using different forms of evidence.
  • Keep a comprehensive log with relevant and substantial observational data over a four-week period.
  • Refer to at least 4 relevant sources from the unit reader and at least 3 thoughtfully chosen academic sources beyond the reader.
  • Structure the report in a clear, logical and engaging way.
  • Discuss ideas with relevant frameworks, linking concepts to insights based on the findings.
  • Effectively integrate cited material, with complete and appropriate referencing.
  • Write clearly, concisely and directly, without spelling or grammatical errors.

NB: Detailed marking rubrics for all assessment tasks can be found on ilearn.
This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:

  • Demonstrate understanding of key theories and concepts in the study of international television.
  • Acquire research skills by employing quantitative and qualitative media research methods.
  • Critically analyse and interpret research data using appropriate framework.
  • Present written arguments in a coherent form and demonstrate skills in oral presentation.