Audience Dialogue

Training from Audience Dialogue:
a guide to our short courses

All these courses are as interactive as possible. The courses use the principles of action learning: that people learn by trying out new things, not by listening to lectures. The ideal number of participants in one of our courses is about 15. With much larger or smaller numbers, the structure and pacing of the course usually need to change a litle. Courses with 20 or more participants either take longer, or can't cover as much, because different participants tend to begin at different levels.

These courses mostly use a one-hour cycle. In each hour a concept is explained, and some examples are given. Participants, mostly working in small groups of 3 or 4, try out the new concept, and are given instant feedback on their performance.

Our courses are practically oriented: the assumption is that the organization/s sponsoring the course are about to do some research, evaluation, marketing, or planning. Audience Dialogue trains the staff involved, and can stay on to help with the more complex aspects.

So the output from these courses is not only trained staff: it's trained staff plus a communication tool - which can be a survey, a qualitative study, a web site, a marketing plan, or a scenario plan.

When a course is finished, we keep in contact with participants, answering their questions, usually by email, fax, or telephone. This website serves as a reference resource for past participants. Though everybody can read this website, it makes more sense if you've done one of our courses.

You may also like to use a Learning Journal in your study, to assist in gaining as much as possible from your experience.

We can do these courses anywhere in the world. We are highly experienced at running courses through interpreters. Our training materials are currently available in Vietnamese, Indonesian, Lao, Khmer, and Arabic, as well as English.

Late 2011: We are preparing to run courses online, to cater for people who want to study audience research, but are not near an institution that offers these courses. General information about our online courses.

Update, November 2012:  We are presently reviewing our capacity to deliver the training courses described below. There is a definite capacity to provide all courses except course 8, where we recommend other options, and customised versions of all these courses can be developed to suit different audiences and needs.  Please advise what you think you might need and we'll try to develop a solution for you.  I envisage that courses/materials will primarily be offered online as was the intention in 2006 when we first assembled our ideas.

Courses we offer

Course 1 Basic audience surveys 1 week (in person), 10 weeks (online)
Course 2 Analysing survey data 1 week
Course 3 Qualitative audience research 1 week
Course 4 Comprehensive audience research 2 weeks
Course 5 Website design and management 1 week
Course 6 Internet marketing 1 week
Course 7 Participative marketing for radio 1 week
Course 8 Futures research and scenario planning 1 week

We can also run introductory courses on any of these topics (anything from half a day to 3 days) - but with these shorter courses there's no time to produce research data, marketing plans, etc.

Course 1. Basic audience surveys

A one-week course: 10 sessions, each 3-4 hours

Session Topic
1 Introductions
Purpose of audience research
Types of research
Strategy and uses of research
2 Questionnaire design principles
Using program theory to select questions
Questionnaire structure
Question sequence
3 Question wording
Answer types
The design process
Questionnaire design: practice session
Questionnaire layout
4 Basics of fieldwork and interviewing
Finding respondents
Making the interview
Recording the interview
Interview practice (recorded and played back)
Survey control paperwork
--- questionnaires printed overnight ---
5 First fieldwork trial (half-day)
6 Review of fieldwork trial
Checking and editing completed questionnaires
Coding open-ended questions
Data cleaning and logic checks
Getting things done; time management
Interviewer payment methods
Economics and costing of surveys
7 Introduction to sample design
Principles of sampling. Who to include
Random selection
Choosing a sample size
Unit of selection< BR>Importance of response rate
Examples of good and bad samples
Practical sample design exercise
Block sampling
Clustering and skip intervals
Avoiding biased samples
8 Create finalquestionnaire and sample design
--- questionnaires and logs printed overnight ---
9 2nd fieldwork trial (half day)
10 Review 2nd fieldwork trial
Summary of tasks required for a survey.

Course 2. Analysing survey data

Course duration = 1 week: 10 sessions, each 3-4 hours

Session Topic
1 Basic principles of survey analysis
2 Software choices and manual analysis: which to use, when
3 Introduction to the software
(generally Epi Info, Epidata, Excel, and/or SPSS)
4 Frequency analysis and data cleaning
5 Cross-tabulation and significance testing
6 Correlation, association, and regression analysis
7 Presenting data clearly; graphical options
8 Reporting
9 Analysing qualitative data and open-ended questions
10 Applying research data to practical use

The best time to do this course is when you've just finished a survey or research study, and need to make sense of the data, We often run our Basic Audience Research course to train people in how to do a survey. They then organize the survey, and we return a month or two later for this follow-up course. When you have real data, and a real need to use it, a course like this (which might otherwise seem rather dry and theoretical) becomes very interesting and relevant. Session 6 (on correlation, etc.) is sometimes not needed - in which case sessions 4 and 5 are normally extended.

Course 3. Qualitative audience research:
consensus groups, depth interviews, and co-discovery conferences

Duration 1 week: 10 half-day sessions, each 3-4 hours, plus one evening group.
Alternative: main focus on consensus groups, with a completed set of 3 groups.

Session Topic
1 Introduction to qualitative research
2 Depth interviewing
Designing an interview guide
3 Planning a sample
Recording the interviews
4 Trial interviews (fieldwork)
Discussion of findings
5 Consensus groups
Drawing a maximum-diversity sample
Getting participants
Organizing venues
--- find participants for tonight ---
6 Making an agenda
Managing the group
Recording the findings
An actual consensus group (evening)
7 Review consensus group findings
Introduction to the co-discovery conference
Principles of co-discovery
-- find participants for tomorrow ---
8 How to run a co-discovery conference
Trial session with participants
Review of trial session
Managing the paperwork and results
9 Co-discovery conference (half-day)
10 Putting it all together
Which method is best, in which circumstances
Analysing and using the findings

Course 4. Comprehensive audience research

2 weeks: 20 sessions, each 3-4 hours
Output: a complete set of consensus groups, a final questionnaire, sample design, and fieldwork plan, ready for a full survey.
This is a combination of the 3 above courses, eliminating some more specialized topics, to fit the course into 20 sessions:

Session Topic
1-6 Basic audience research
7-12 Qualitative research - focusing on consensus groups
13-20 Analysing and using research data

Output: usually a small survey and some qualitative research.

Course 5. Website design and management

Course duration = 1 week: 10 sessions, each 3-4 hours

Session Topic
1 How websites work
2 Review of existing websites and their problems
3 Usability issues
4 Information architecture and navigation design
5 Introduction to HTML
6 Using a word-processor-style HTML editor
7 Introduction to other web software: graphics, scripting, etc.
8 Web site hosting, uploading, and naming
9 Marketing the website: search engines, links, email promotion
10 Evaluating the site - feedback, site logs, and online surveys

Output: a working website

Course 6. Internet marketing

Course duration = 1 week: 10 sessions, each 3-4 hours

Session Topic
1 How the internet works: the Web, email, and e-commerce
2 How people use the internet, and the relevance of this knowledge for marketing
3 Using search engines, directories, and portals
4 Gathering data about your visitors: online market research
5 Response-based marketing: relationships, networks, one-to-one
6 Usability and effectiveness in websites
7 Cross-promotion of websites using other media
8 Email marketing - techniques and constraints
9 Balancing privacy, security, and user trust
10 Building an internet marketing plan

Output: a detailed internet marketing plan - much of which can be accomplished during the course.


Course 7. Radio marketing

Course duration = 1 week: 10 sessions, each 3-4 hours

Session Topic
1 Principles of modern marketing, and how they can be applied to radio; the three-legged model
2 Understanding and using audience research data
3 Marketing through programming
4 Program theory and external funding
5 Publicity for stations and programs
6 Helping both advertisers and listeners achieve their objectives
7 Planning and scheduling radio advertising
8 Funding from listeners
9 How radio can best use the Internet
10 Developing a radio marketing plan

This course is largely based on the book Participative Marketing for Local Radio, by Dennis List (founder of Audience Dialogue). Participants in this course all get a copy of the book, and work through a series of exercises to gain an understanding of all the possibilities in radio marketing. If the course is being done for a station that does not have some possibilities open to it (e.g. a non-commercial station) those sections of the course can be replaced by others that are more relevant.

Output: detailed radio marketing plans, both for the station (and/or network) as a whole, and for the people and departments involved in the course.

Course 8. Futures research and scenario planning

Course duration = 1 week: 10 sessions, each 3-4 hours

Session Topic
1 Introduction to futures research thinking
2 Strategic planning and futures studies
3 Environmental scanning: monitoring emerging trends
4 Enhancing creativity; freedom from unconscious assumptions
5 Idea generation and visualization
6 Principles of scenario building
7 Drivers of the future: events, motives, values, and worldview
8 Impinging systems and stakeholder scenarios
9 Systems thinking and its use in planning
10 How to use scenarios

Output from this course:
(a) A detailed set of medium-term scenarios for the organization and its environment.
(b) Greater awareness and knowledge of the future, and the ability of the organization to deal with it successfully.

For organizations with a more technological orientation, some of the above sessions can be replaced with sessions on technology diffusion, cross-impact analysis, and the Delphi method.

For further details of these (and similar) courses, please email us.  You may also like to visit our page on Learning Journals, also called Reflective Journals.