Audience Dialogue

Know Your Audience:
A Practical Guide to Media Research

Audience Research / Audience Research Methods / Audience Survey / Survey Reports / Audience Analysis / Audience Evaluation / Radio Audience Research / Television Audience Research / Qualitative Research Software/ Content Analysis / Survey Data Analysis / Desk Research Methods

The book Know your Audience - A Practical Guide to Media Research was written by the late Dennis List, founder of Audience Dialogue.  The book provides a comprehensive and usable guide on the topics noted above and many others.

To help readers whose first language is not English, the book is written in a clear, simple style, avoiding slang and industry jargon.

All chapters of the book are available on this web site.  Most chapters are late drafts of the 2002 edition of the book, plus a few corrections and updates. 

The latest version is the 2007 revised edition: similar, but it has a more detailed coverage of some topics, and includes some corrections.  It is only available in electronic form as a PDF (384 pages) and can be purchased by email request.  You will find it easier to use the PDF version rather than scroll (or print) many web pages, and for just US $20 (or 15 Euros) it represents great value for such a comprehensive usable resource.

You can buy the book more easily and securely using PayPal if you have a credit card or PayPal account, just click the button below.  If this form of payment does not suit you then please contact us

But if you cannot afford to buy it then please read the book on this website.  If you find the information useful then we would appreciate if you could contribute say by visiting page sponsors or referring us to friends.  And if you are thinking of doing more than reading and printing these chapters for your own use, please see our copyright conditions.

You may be wondering why you need to know your audience, especially if you have access to numbers of listeners, subscribers or circulation data such as for a magazine?  Dennis List was interviewed on this subject in 2005 by the Arab Press Network in the context of newspapers, and his responses are here for your reference, as relevant today as it was then.


Chapter 1: Planning (2 web pages)
Types of audience research. How research is done: an overview. Planning a research project. Some findings about audiences.

Chapter 2: Sampling (3 web pages)
Populations. Sampling frames. Samples. Principles of random sampling. Choosing a sample size. Selecting starting points for surveys. Cluster samples in door-to-door surveys. Selecting respondents within households.

Chapter 3: Questionnaires (3 web pages)
Planning the questionnaire. Types of question. Question wording. How to write a questionnaire. Program testing. Questionnaire layout. Testing questionnaires.

Chapter 4: Fieldwork (3 web pages)
Choosing the place of interview. Finding interviewers. Training interviewers. Finding people at home. Identifying the right respondent. Introductions. Interviewing techniques. Finishing an interview. Verifying interviews. Paperwork for interviewers.

Chapter 5: Analysis (3 web pages)
Initial processing. Coding. Manual processing. Computer processing. Preliminary analysis. Interpretation of results.

Chapter 6: Reporting the findings (2 web pages)
The report's audience. What form a report should take (written, spoken, etc). Suggested layout. Using graphs. Including recommendations.

Chapter 7: Telephone surveys
Sampling. From directories. Random digit dialling. Introductions. Refusal conversion. Call logs.

Chapter 8: Mail surveys
Making it easy. Questionnaire design. Followups. Receiving completed questionnaires. Fax surveys.

Chapter 9: Visitor surveys
Performance events. Continuing events.

Chapter 10: In-depth interviewing
Also known as semi-structured interviewing, or informal interviewing.

Chapter 11: Group discussions (2 web pages)
Mainly about how to organize and run consensus groups.

Chapter 12: Monitoring and response cultivation
If you can't afford a survey, a partial substitute is to encourage more audience feedback.

Chapter 13: Observation
How to do a survey without talking.

Chapter 14: Co-discovery conferences
A new method we've developed: a hybrid between research and planning.

Chapter 15: Internet audience research (3 web pages)
Using existing data. Quantitative methods. Qualitative methods.

Chapter 16: Content analysis (4 web pages)
How to analyse both media content and audience content, in the form of recordings and text.

Chapter 17: Using research well
Barriers to using research, and ways of overcoming them.

The book also includes several appendixes of useful reference information:

  • Common findings from audience research studies.
  • Further reading: both on paper and on the internet.
  • Glossary of audience research terms.

The appendixes are not on the Web - partly because it would be time-consuming to convert them into web pages, partly because similar information is available elsewhere on this website, but also to encourage people to buy the book!

We point out that, though you're welcome to print the chapters from this web site,
(a) This is a draft of the first (2002) edition, while the electronic version (PDF) is the newest (2007) edition.
(b) The book has a detailed contents and index, making it easier to find a particular topic.
(c) A book is much more compact to read than a heap of printed pages (or on the screen). If you print all these chapters, in 12 point type, they fill about 700 pages. (The book has 384 pages.)
(d) When you add up the costs of internet access, paper, printer cartridges, and binding, it will be cheaper to buy the book than to print out the files.  The book is just $20 and there are no postage fees.  The fastest and easiest way is to click the button below.



An Indonesian translation of Know Your Audience has been published, under the title of Memahami Khalayak Anda. The publisher is UNESCO, and the book is available through UNESCO's Jakarta office. Details in Bahasa Indonesia.

Translations of a previous version of this book are available in Vietnamese, Khmer, and Lao; please contact us for details. Because this website has many visitors from Latin America, a Spanish translation would be useful too, so any potential publishers or translators are invited to contact us.

Feedback is welcome!

If you'd like to make any comments, criticisms, or suggestions, or if there's something you don't understand in the book, please email us. We welcome your comments, and will actively consider them for the next edition.