Audience research by means of surveys has a long tradition, certainly withinarts and humanities oriented research. Yet, due to selective sampling and unitnonresponse it frequently lacks the methodological rigour to make scientificallyvalid statements based on sample estimates. This is one of the first attempts toexplore unit nonresponse in audience research. More specifically, it focuses onthe explanation of nonresponse by the socio-demographic and more topic relatedcharacteristics of a theatre audience. Using a two-step procedure for the on-sitecollection of data, the characteristics of respondents are compared with those ofnonrespondents. In step 1 the composition of the theatre audience is comparedto a proxy of a theatre population benchmark based on a weighted sample of theFlemish population (APS-2000). The validity of this best available method isdiscussed. Step 2 compares respondents with nonrespondents on a micro-level:ignoring unit nonresponse in step 1, we use logistic regression to map selectionin step 2. The chance of cooperating with the survey has been found to increasewith educational attainment and vary according to occupational category. Moreover,involvement with survey topic is confirmed as a strong predictor of survey participation.Gender, age and experience with theatre remain insignificant in predicting responsebehaviour. These findings are compared with the socio-demographic correlates ofresponse behaviour in general populations. Implications for statistically controllingfor nonresponse bias in audience research are discussed. Suggestions for furtherresearch are presented.
Quality & Quantity – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 17, 2004
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