Welcome to Audience Dialogue.
The underlying goal of Audience Dialogue is to improve people's lives through informed participation and successful experience. We try to achieve this through a blend of research, evaluation, and inquiry methods, including analysis of system performance data (like how people use a website). Our emphasis is on action research, interactivity, and user involvement - because we've found that unless a wide range of stakeholders can reach consensus, a problem is seldom solved. Our preference is for formative evaluation ("how can this be improved?") rather than summative ("did that project work?"). We like to work with our clients, rather than for them, helping to build their capacity to solve their own problems.
This web site has useful and we hope accessible information for communicators of all kinds: broadcasters, publishers, NGOs, arts groups, webmasters, educators...anybody who's interested in using research-based methods (evidence) and sound planning of systems and services to make their organizations more effective. Indeed, that applies to any type of organization including commercial ones.
We especially welcome visitors from developing countries, so we have tried to make this web site easily accessible - even if you have a slow internet connection or an old computer. To help people whose first language is not English we try to write in a way that's easily understood, avoiding technical jargon and cultural assumptions.
Please note this website is constantly evolving (yes, a work in process) so do not be alarmed by changes, incomplete areas and errors, they are a sign of work underway and usually fixed promptly. The website may soon move to a different platform that will improve its usability and effectiveness, thanks in part to the wonderful inputs from the 15000 or so visitors we receive each month on average.
If you would you like practical hands-on learning and skills in audience research and marketing then we can construct a training course to help you. Courses can be conducted in a classroom setting or online if you prefer, group and individual. Have a look at an outline of the course we conducted for community radio stations in Nepal. We also run courses in simple evaluation methods: how to collect relevant data, and how to use it well.
Unique books for media development
We offer two very unique and valuable books upon which our courses are based that are used by media and agencies worldwide. You may prefer to buy one or both our books and learn by yourself (self-directed) or share it with others in your organization. Click on the links below to learn more and buy if you choose, just $20 plus delivery for each.
Both books are being updated and revised in 2013, but if you buy the current edition you get the update version free.
General or specific advice on a project or resource (ie reports)
We can maximise the quality of outcomes of your marketing or business project, understand why a strategy or resource is not achieving desired results and minimise project risk. We have substantial (20+ years) commercial experience and unique methodologies to assist your research project, website, marketing strategy and business model. This includes evaluative reports on websites and websites-in-progress, identifying opportunities and issues, and avoiding costly re-work. A project we have assisted below. Just contact us for a no-obligation discussion or email exchange.
Design and implementation Services
We can provide hands-on expert design, development, implementation and maintenance of your research, marketing, evaluation or web project (example below), just ask us to advise or quote.
This includes systems to capture and monitor feedback and customer satisfaction. Why? Because in our experience a one-off survey is not enough to keep an organization in touch with its customers or audience. Setting up a dialogue system is vital. We help with that.
A key area is to help organizations better understand their various and diverse stakeholders. We design, execute and report on what organizational stakeholders know, think and feel about the organization and what it could do or do better to meet their needs and develop a stronger future.
An example, for a womens organisation (below) we undertook the following tasks (most of which had never been done before) then produced a report with insights and recommendations:
*Quick links to popular topics/requests*
You can also freely download a copy of our book Quick Guide to Audience Research to give you a managers (and summary) view of audience research. If you need more detail then come back to this website or check/buy Know Your Audience.
Do you manage a community or local radio station and would like to promote your station more effectively in the community and increase its income? If so visit our resources on participative marketing for local radio.
Are you a new (or even an existing) venture seeking to develop a viable business model a way to scope how your business is to work and make money? Our well-rated page on this subject may help you, click business models.
Have you undertaken qualitative research and/or have lots of content (text, words) to interpret, if so then our tips on content analysis may be useful. We also have information on qualitative research software.
Wanting to anticipate and plan for the future? Our resources on futures inquiry, using scenario planning and related methods may help you.
Trust these links save you time.
If you cannot find an answer to your question, a solution to your problem or the topic that you need to know more about, then please contact us or complete our pop up survey, and we will try to help as soon as we possible. We normally answer requests within 48 hours.
News and Articles - Hot off the press!
Also check our blog usually updated daily
Community radio needs a viable business model
A key conclusion of a published journal report on models/approaches to the management of six African community radio stations is copied below:
"The third issue investigated in the article relates to the question of convergence of ICTs and community radios. The article has argued that the extant lack of coherent and comprehensive financial sustainability mechanisms threaten the survival of community radio stations (especially those that are relatively independent and do not operate under any development organisation) as well as the integration of ICTs (such as computers, Internet and mobile phones).
To discuss the convergence of community
radio and ICTs therefore
We are researching the development of personalised people meters for the measurement of radio listening and for other media consumption. If you are interested in this topic please visit our new page on people meters.
Community Score Cards
A Community Score Card is a community-based participatory tool used for holding local authorities accountable for providing quality services in areas like health, agriculture and education.
Click here to learn more via the video, that describes and discusses the different stages of using the tool with actual examples from Nepal.
The latest edition of the Participative Marketing for Local Radio newsletter is available!
It address how you sell airtime to advertisers, on-air appeals and defining strategic objectives, something that many organizations including media ones do not understand.
You can read it on the web, also access past issues, subscribe and share with colleagues.
You can also connect with us on Facebook to talk about issues covered in the newsletter.
New ways to understand radio listener behaviour
We are keen to track the continuing efforts of UK radio audience measurement body Rajar with its radio listener panel (in London, panel size 350) research that uses Ipsos MediaCell technology to capture radio broadcasts through software downloaded to smart mobile phones.
The technology is a form of passive audience measurement. The mobile phone software listens for codes inserted by a radio station at the point of transmission. These ‘digital fingerprints’ are inaudible to the human ear and identify the station, platform and time a respondent is listening. As we comment on, 'hearing' and 'listening' to the radio is not the same thing, there can be major differences in audience size depending on how you measure this (ie passive or background v active listening).
Rajar wants to learn the technology value in delivering additional listener behaviour and audience diagnostics, in particular, detailed analyses of audience behaviour at a more granular level and over time.
This is a very welcome development - one that we think is very much needed as listening audiences become more dynamic and multi-faceted, and will be relevant also for media in the developing world as smart phone ownership increases rapidly. We will cover the results along with other new methods/technologies on our radio audience measurement page progressively during the year.
Effective qualitative data analysis
The main issue people have had in using qualitative research is that there hasn't been a good and easy way to analyze the data so that it can be summarized properly in reports.
There is now some good software (Nvivo, for example, refer also our page on qualitative research software, which we'll update soon too), that can analyze qualitative data.
An article by Gery Ryan and H. Russell Bernard explains some simple ways to analyze qualitative data by identifying themes, click here to read it on an external website.
It complements our contents on qualitative data analysis. Thanks to Sara
Hill for referring this to me.
Participative Marketing for Local Radio used in Uganda
Our unique resource book Participative Marketing for Local Radio is used by media worldwide including community radios in Uganda. Below is an active user Ojok Moses Ricky who is a proponent for improving radio development and sustainability especially in northern Uganda, a topic we featured in a recent newsletter.
If you would like to browse the contents of the book, read some parts of it or buy a copy then please visit the book webpage.
A revised and updated electronic version of the book will be available by March 2013 for just $20.
Media assistance - insights into what works and could be done better
There is still a lot of money (and
time) invested in so called "media assistance" and
"capacity building" that offers little real and sustainable
value to media in the developing
report by Mary Myers addresses the challenges of supporting
independent media in countries where media freedoms are
restricted, based on country case studies in Bangladesh,
Cambodia, South Sudan, Syria and Uganda, several of which
we'd like to work in, especially to support community media
Report also outlines strategies that have had some success, like foreign and UN broadcasting, training and advocacy from the outside, emphasising neutral and 'public interest' topics when working from inside a country, and supporting local rights organisations and media advocacy groups.
The study concludes, amongst other
factors, that media should be a key area of political
economy analysis, that media assistance should be
incorporated more explicitly within broader development
systems, and that support should concentrate on
media outlets and not just on individual
journalists. I only hope this report (click
here to access it, PDF document) has resonance amongst
donors and aid agencies, as media assistance can be much
more effective than it is currently.
Hmong people in South East Asia
We'll soon be undertaking an audience research training project for media serving the Hmong people who reside mainly in Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. Their story is a harrowing one, especially the so-called secret war in Lao (refer video below) and harsh life in refugee camps persecuted by locals. Providing the Hmong with access to the media is important not simply to convey their story and needs, but more importantly, for them to learn, be inspired and develop new opportunities and put history behind them. I look forward to meeting the Hmong.
Techniques is the largest section of our website. It focuses on practical methods for research and planning.
The Tools section describes the tools available for communications research, evaluation and planning. These are tools for working with words, numbers, and software, and include links to useful websites, glossaries of technical terms, reviews of research software, and notes on writing global English and online translation.
The cases section is in a different style: mostly narrative. Here you can find 30-odd stories about some of our most interesting research projects, Also, amusing tales about projects that didn't turn out as we expected.
For an overview of all the pages on this site, see our site map. Also, you can search this site for a particular word or phrase.
More about us, and our privacy
policy. We always welcome feedback. If anything on this site is
unclear or confusing, please let us know, and we'll fix it. If you have any
questions or comments, we'd be pleased to hear from you. We try to answer
the same day. How to contact