15. Quantitative Audience Research: Embracing the Poor Relation

  1. Virginia Nightingale
  1. David Deacon and
  2. Emily Keightley

Published Online: 27 APR 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9781444340525.ch15

The Handbook of Media Audiences

The Handbook of Media Audiences

How to Cite

Deacon, D. and Keightley, E. (2011) Quantitative Audience Research: Embracing the Poor Relation, in The Handbook of Media Audiences (ed V. Nightingale), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444340525.ch15

Editor Information

  1. University of Western Sydney, Australia

Author Information

  1. Loughborough University, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 27 APR 2011
  2. Published Print: 15 APR 2011

Book Series:

  1. Global Handbooks in Media and Communication Research

Book Series Editors:

  1. Annabelle Sreberny

Series Editor Information

  1. School of Oriental and African Studies, London, UK

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405184182

Online ISBN: 9781444340525



  • quantitative audience research - embracing the poor relation;
  • claim that quantitative research, a “poor relation” in audience studies - sustainable from disciplinary and historical vantage points;
  • critical approaches to communication and media studies - culturalist orientation, quantitative audience research, viewed with suspicion;
  • The Twin Pillars, from its inception - experimental methods, twin pillars of quantitative audience research;
  • history of audience research - pioneers of quantitative methods, cast as abstracted empiricists;
  • new orthodoxy about audience power - media influence, summarized by Joseph Klapper in his book the Effects of Mass Communication;
  • partial death of dominant paradigm - new phase of media and audience analysis;
  • three points of relevance - of quantitative audience research;
  • controversies about methodological preferences - and pretences of paradigm;
  • compatibility thesis, quantitative audience research - interrelationship with more radical, interpretative trajectories


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Introduction

  • The Twin Pillars

  • The Early Years of Quantitative Audience Research

  • The Partial Death of the Dominant Paradigm

  • A Strange Twist …

  • Conclusion: The Compatibility Thesis

  • References