Audience Dialogue

Know Your Audience:
A Practical Guide to Media Research

This book by Dennis List, founder of Audience Dialogue, is published by Original Books, in New Zealand. It's written mainly for media people in developing countries, and small communications-related organizations in the developed world. It will also be useful for scholars in communications and media research. To help readers whose first language is not English, the book is written in a clear, simple style, avoiding slang and industry jargon.

All chapters of the book are available on this web site. Most chapters are late drafts of the 2002 edition of the book, plus a few corrections and updates. The printed version is the 2005 edition: similar, but it has a more detailed coverage of some topics, and includes some corrections. If you are thinking of doing more than reading and printing these chapters for your own use, please see our copyright conditions.


Chapter 1: Planning (2 web pages)
Types of audience research. How research is done: an overview. Planning a research project. Some findings about audiences.

Chapter 2: Sampling (3 web pages)
Populations. Sampling frames. Samples. Principles of random sampling. Choosing a sample size. Selecting starting points for surveys. Cluster samples in door-to-door surveys. Selecting respondents within households.

Chapter 3: Questionnaires (3 web pages)
Planning the questionnaire. Types of question. Question wording. How to write a questionnaire. Program testing. Questionnaire layout. Testing questionnaires.

Chapter 4: Fieldwork (3 web pages)
Choosing the place of interview. Finding interviewers. Training interviewers. Finding people at home. Identifying the right respondent. Introductions. Interviewing techniques. Finishing an interview. Verifying interviews. Paperwork for interviewers.

Chapter 5: Analysis (3 web pages)
Initial processing. Coding. Manual processing. Computer processing. Preliminary analysis. Interpretation of results.

Chapter 6: Reporting the findings (2 web pages)
The report's audience. What form a report should take (written, spoken, etc). Suggested layout. Using graphs. Including recommendations.

Chapter 7: Telephone surveys
Sampling. From directories. Random digit dialling. Introductions. Refusal conversion. Call logs.

Chapter 8: Mail surveys
Making it easy. Questionnaire design. Followups. Receiving completed questionnaires. Fax surveys.

Chapter 9: Visitor surveys
Performance events. Continuing events.

Chapter 10: In-depth interviewing
Also known as semi-structured interviewing, or informal interviewing.

Chapter 11: Group discussions (2 web pages)
Mainly about how to organize and run consensus groups.

Chapter 12: Monitoring and response cultivation
If you can't afford a survey, a partial substitute is to encourage more audience feedback.

Chapter 13: Observation
How to do a survey without talking.

Chapter 14: Co-discovery conferences
A new method we've developed: a hybrid between research and planning.

Chapter 15: Internet audience research (3 web pages)
Using existing data. Quantitative methods. Qualitative methods.

Chapter 16: Content analysis (4 web pages)
How to analyse both media content and audience content, in the form of recordings and text.

Chapter 17: Using research well
Barriers to using research, and ways of overcoming them.

The book also includes several appendixes of useful reference information:

The appendixes are not on the Web - partly because it would be time-consuming to convert them into web pages, partly because similar information is available elsewhere on this website, but also to encourage people to buy the book!

The publisher asks us to point out that, though you're welcome to print the chapters from this web site,
(a) this is a draft of the first (2002) edition, while the printed book is a new (2005) edition.
(b) The book has a detailed contents and index, making it easier to find a particular topic.
(c) A book is much more compact to read than a heap of printed pages. If you print all these chapters, in 12 point type, they fill about 700 pages. (The book has 312 pages.)
(d) When you add up the costs of internet access, paper, printer cartridges, and binding, it will be cheaper to buy the book than to print out the files.


An Indonesian translation of Know Your Audience has been published, under the title of Memahami Khalayak Anda. The publisher is UNESCO, and the book is available through UNESCO's Jakarta office. Details in Bahasa Indonesia.

Translations of a previous version of this book are available in Vietnamese, Khmer, and Lao; please contact us for details. Because this website has many visitors from Latin America, a Spanish translation would be useful too, so any potential publishers or translators are invited to contact us.

Feedback is welcome!

If you'd like to make any comments, criticisms, or suggestions, or if there's something you don't understand in the book, please email us. We welcome your comments, and will actively consider them for the next edition.