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Audience survey methods

To achieve Phase Three of the project three methodologies will be implemented:

  1. Museum audience surveys and street surveys using anonymous qualitative questionnaires form the central focus of this phase of the project. The questionnaires are designed to both elicit basic information about the respondent and, through a number of open-ended questions, information about the respondent's responses to the 1807 bicentenary and/or the exhibition they have visited. Each interview is conducted face-to-face, and answers to the open-ended questions are recorded for later transcription.

    The demographic data collected about visitors are analysed with Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) and preliminary reports detailing visitor profiles will be posted on the web as and when available. All open-ended questions are coded according to identified themes and descriptive statistics will be derived using SPSS. This, together with more qualitative analyses of the interviews, will be used to develop an idea of the messages and meanings visitors construct around the exhibition and the processes they engage in to construct and negotiate those meanings.

    The open-ended questions delve into such things as visitors' views about the significance of 1807 and the issue of apology. They explore what, if any, messages, impressions or cultural or social meanings visitors obtain from coming to the museum/exhibition, and the feelings that are engendered. You can view a sample questionnaire [rtf file, 25KB] used in surveys.

  2. Unobtrusive observation is also being used to anonymously record visitors' responses to exhibitions and particular displays within museums. These observations are being undertaken to gather data that cannot be revealed during face-to-face interviews and to examine the validity of conclusions dawn from visitor surveys.

  3. Semi-structured interviews are also being undertaken with a number of community representatives. Community groups targeted by the project are those who were part of the consultation/outreach process associated with the development of the exhibitions designed and mounted by the project's partner museums. These interviews are designed to obtain feedback from communities about the success or otherwise of consultation processes, and to obtain feedback about the exhibitions themselves. Although primarily concerned to obtain feedback from those community groups consulted by museums, the project is also interested in receiving feedback from other community groups with a stake in the way 1807 is being marked. If you or your group would like to talk to members of the project team please contact us.

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