Surveying fandom

The Ethics, Design, and Use of Surveys in Fan Studies

Authored by: Lucy Bennett

The Routledge Companion to Media Fandom

Print publication date:  November  2017
Online publication date:  November  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138638921
eBook ISBN: 9781315637518
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315637518.ch4

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Abstract

The use of surveys within fan studies is an important methodological tool, which fosters the ability of a multitude of voices and articulations from fans to be gathered and analyzed. The development of the Internet and online survey software has also heightened the use of surveys by researchers, with specific groups, networks and communities being seemingly more easily accessed and studied through utilizing this method. However, as this chapter will argue, although surveys offer many advantages for the study of fans, they raise new, and magnify old, critical issues surrounding ethics, and can pose challenging questions and limitations surrounding how to design and distribute for rich engagement, response, and representation of the fan community under study. Thus, this chapter will reflect on the use of this method within fan studies, outlining my own experiences and offering suggestions on the design and use of surveys within this field. As there is no other comprehensive or specific work on survey use as a method in fan research, this chapter will provide an analytic and useful guide for fan studies scholars intending to use surveys in their scholarship.

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