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Audience Research Made Easy: A Guide for Small to Medium Performing Arts Organizations

January 31, 200631 January 2006

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This is a detailed and helpful Australian guide to conducting audience research, including advice on “how to plan an audience research campaign from inception through to analysis and implementation”. Different research techniques are covered, including informal observation, focus groups and questionnaires. The report argues that “the more you know about your audiences, the better you’ll be able to assess their needs and match them to your organization’s mission and vision”.

Module A, the Absolute Beginners’ Guide to Audience Research, outlines “eight practical steps to assist you to understand the importance of audience research”. The step concerning basic quantitative research touches on key questions that organizations should ask before embarking on a survey: who, how, when, where and why. The module highlights four aspects of an effective questionnaire: its appropriateness to the target audience; its clarity; the appropriateness of its length; and the fact that it has been tested.

Module B shows the Basics of Audience Research, while Module C provides a sample audience research questionnaire that can be adapted to suit an organization’s needs.

The report stresses that “research is only worth doing if it is practical and useful and assists the organisation to answer specific questions or make informed marketing and business decisions”. Don’t let research insights sit on a shelf unused.

A drawback of such a guide is that, once it is printed, it cannot integrate important subsequent research findings, such as those in Motivations Matter and The Diversity of Cultural Participation.

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