The Second Survey: Television
Quiz Shows and Coronation Street
first attempt to operationalise the project thesis, The
Dales study had
been successful. A useful technique of eliciting evidence about
audience gratifications had been devised and tried in the field.
Cluster analysis of the resulting data had produced a meaningful
pattern of gratification types. Cluster scoring had facilitated an
examination of relationships between the degree to which people seek
particular satisfactions from broadcast fare and the social
positions they occupy. In addition, within inevitable limitations of
sample size and composition, the Dales
survey had provided a portrait of the outlook of one body of media
fans, the relative completeness of which is rare in the literature
of mass communication studies.
planning a second survey, it was decided, therefore, to follow
essentially the same approach, although it was also appreciated that
the 18-month life of the first stage of the project
would necessitate a concentration of effort on those tasks that were
most germane to its central objectives. In the time available, for
example, analyses of data from future programme studies could not be
so comprehensive as the
report had been. Moreover, the investigators wished to overcome
certain limitations of the Dales
study and to effect improvements in their array of instruments and
techniques. In fact four particular developments influenced the
design of the second survey.
Since the ultimate objective of the project is to relate social
background to the gratifications derived from television viewing in
general, it was recognised that some movement from a single
programme study towards the investigation of an entire medium should
be initiated. As a first step in this direction the second survey
had two programme foci.
2. Despite its relative success, the format of the Dales
inventory of gratification items had imposed certain limitations on
the range of available statistical manipulations. In the second
survey the format of the inventory was itself a focus of study, and
two new (and different) types of check-lists were administered to
the fans of the two chosen bodies of TV content.
3. More considered attention was paid to the range and types of
social indicator variables to be deployed in the second survey.
4. The Dales study
had relied upon rather primitive methods of tabulation and analysis,
which were both time-consuming and unsuited to any large-scale
investigation that might eventually be undertaken. Consequently,
certain more sophisticated techniques of data processing were
canvassed, and in the end, helped by the facilities of university
computers at both Leeds and Southampton, and advised by a specialist
methodologist, the project’s procedures of analysis were radically
revised. Although the application of complex techniques to data from
a small sample seemed incongruous at times, this helped to introduce
the research team to some of the processing problems they would have
to face in carrying out the more definitive investigation proposed
for the project’s second stage.
programmes for investigation in the second survey, it was decided
that one should parallel the first study and that the other should
open up a new range of gratifications. As a long-running television
serial with a large family audience,
satisfied the first criterion. In selecting a second focus, it was
decided to see whether the original approach could be applied to a
of programmes, and television quizzes, a distinctive and popular
category of content, was thought suitable for this purpose. Being
non-fictional, such a programme type might direct attention to some
gratifications not yet explored by the project; moreover, the
findings of an exceptionally interesting early uses and
gratifications study, which had centred on a small sample of
listeners to an American radio quiz programme, were available for
series of tape-recorded group discussions with male and female fans
Coronation Street and TV quiz
programme, respectively, was held in the summer of 1969, and a
questionnaire was compiled in the light of analysis of the material
2. In the first half of November, 1969, this questionnaire was
administered by interview to a quota sample (controlling for sex,
age, housing type and social grade) of 100 Leeds residents, who had
nominated as their favourite programmes (responding to a proferred
list of designated programmes) either Coronation Street,
TV Brain of Britain,
or Ask The Family.
The sample members were initially distributed as follows:
both as favourite
only as favourite
the respondents were eligible to answer questions about either or
both the chosen foci of investigation.
The questionnaire included the following items:
Questions about quiz and
viewing habits, including data about the social context of
Questions about the realism of
self-completion inventory of 43 ‘statements which people have made
to be rated by respondents on a five-point scale of
Three self-completion inventories (totally 42 items in all) about
quiz programmes, distinguishing between anticipated
and image descriptions.
composite item, trying out a technique of requiring respondents 1)
to rank individual quiz programmes for their provision of several
different designated satisfactions, and 2) to rank the
satisfactions themselves in their order of importance to the
Questions about general media use.
number of social indicator variables, which were planned to cover
the following areas of experience:
demographic particulars – e.g., sex, age, occupation, housing type,
and school-leaving age.
occupational mobility (derived from an item about father’s
reactions to work (in terms of strain experienced at work and
fatigue experienced after work).
experience – e.g. size of present household, size of and position in
family of origin, and accessibility of extended family members.
mobility (including items about place of birth, length of stay at
current address and frequency of changes of address in the past ten
Attachment to the
interaction – e.g. number of close friends, range of acquaintances
in the vicinity, and an index of acts of sociability.
Scores on a general
measure of social and political conservatism.
Results of the Coronation Street Study
1. Despite a large overlapping population of 39 respondents who
participated in both studies, the Coronation Street
sub-sample (N = 58) included more manual workers than did the quiz
sub-sample – as Table III.1 shows.
TABLE III.1: Social Composition of the Coronation Street and
Coronation Street fans
N = 58
probably accounts for the fact that more ‘heavy’ viewers were found
in the Coronation Street
sub-sample (72%) than in the quiz sub-sample (63%) and that
Coronation Street fans read
fewer newspapers than did the quiz fans.
2. Most members of the Coronation Street
sub-sample seemed to be fairly attached to the programme. A large
majority watched each episode regularly, and as many as 52 (90%) had
followed the serial for five years or more. But unlike much
(typically a solitary activity), Coronation Street
was commonly viewed in the company of other members of the
household, only 16 respondents (22%) saying that they ‘usually’
watched it alone. Nevertheless, when asked, ‘Would you rather watch
on your own, with someone, or does it make no difference?’, as many
as 36 (62%) opted for the last response, suggesting that the social
context of viewing was irrelevant to their enjoyment of the
programme. It may be that audience relations with broadcast fiction
are formed more often on a solitary than on a shared
basis. (Evidence from the quiz study suggests, however, that any
such tendency cannot be generalised to all categories of broadcast
output. Probably some programme materials lend themselves more
readily than others to an intensified appreciation in social
3. The readiness of the fans of a fictional serial staunchly to
defend it as ‘true-to-life’, which was highly characteristic of the
Dales sample, was
encountered again in the answers of the Coronation Street
viewers to a series of questions about the programme’s realism
(requiring ratings on five different dimensions). The results are
set out for the sample as a whole and by occupational grade in Table
TABLE III.2: Fans’ Perceptions of the Realism of Coronation
many episodes usually seem really true-to-life?
of the characters seem really true-to-life?
episodes give a true picture of working class life?
episodes give an accurate idea of what life in the North is
characters do you think are a bit old-fashioned?
One respondent did not answer these questions.
It can be seen that
Coronation Street was regarded as realistic by large
majorities on four of the five dimensions of assessment. The only
exception was due to the inability of non-manual viewers to accept
the programme’s picture of ‘what life in the North is like’,
probably because its working-class setting does not reflect their
mode of Northern life. Since most critics regard Coronation
Street as an exercise in nostalgia, portraying an order and now
disappearing style of working-class existence, it is interesting to
find that such a small proportion of these fans (only 16%) was
prepared to admit that ‘all or most’ of the characters were even ‘a
bit old-fashioned’. This result is especially noteworthy since the
manual respondents to the survey had been drawn in equal numbers
from suburban estates and central city areas. In these
circumstances, the fact that 74% of respondents thought that all or
most of the episodes gave ‘a true picture of working-class life’ is
equally impressive. Except for the dimension of fidelity to life in
the North, the occupational differences displayed in the table are
not great. The working-class fans were more likely to rate
Coronation Street as realistic in general story line and
character portrayal; the different occupational groups were equally
convinced of the authenticity of the programme’s picture of
working-class life; but there was somewhat more sensitivity among
the manual fans to the appearance of old-fashioned characters in the
In a different
approach to the study of viewers’ impressions of a programme’s
realism, the respondents were asked whether they agreed ‘that
Coronation Street would be more like everyday life, if the pace
was a little slower and not so much was happening all the time’.
Despite the affirmative basis of the wording of the question, a
majority (32 of the 56 respondents who answered it) denied that
greater realism would be achieved by slowing down the pace of the
programme. And of the 24 individuals who agreed that Coronation
Street was larger than life in this sense, only a minority (9)
said they would like it better if it was slowed down. Thus, although
some fans of such a programme recognise that it does depart from
reality, at least in the sense of abstracting for attention some of
its more interesting and exciting elements, most of these viewers
prefer it to be constructed in this way, while (more remarkably) the
majority is unwilling to admit even that such a minimal sacrifice of
realism has been perpetrated.
4. An opportunity to
tap certain other attitudes to Coronation Street arose
fortuitously from the fact that, in an episode just screened before
the survey was launched, most of the residents of Coronation
Street had been involved in a serious coach accident, as a
consequence of which some had been hospitalised and seemed at the
time even to be in danger of losing their lives. After briefly
reminding the sample members of this situation, the interviewers
simply asked, ‘How do you feel about this?’
main themes emerged prominently from the responses to this
invitation to comment on such a dramatic incident. One was the theme
of ‘such things do happen’. The spirit of many remarks in this vein
was that, since such a startling and upsetting event could happen in
real life, its occurrence in Coronation Street was
acceptable. It was as if a prior perception of the programme as one
that aimed for realism had helped to cushion what might otherwise
have been received as a blow. Here are some examples of these
Well, I mean it can
happen to anyone. I’ve just lost my father and it doesn’t seem
possible, but it happens just like that, and it makes it more true
doesn’t it? I think it’s more or less something that could happen.
People collect together in a neighbourhood and go on a bus trip and
not all come out alive.
Well, it does happen
in real life and I don’t think you should gloss over it.
Well, it’s just one
of those things. It could happen any time on any bus outing. It
happened to me like that, a bus crash.
As a matter of fact
quite interested. It is most human. I was involved in an accident
and found this quite real. It takes away the veil from people; you
see them as they really are.
In fact a similar
theme had emerged from Dales group discussions when the fans
were asked to talk about various shocking events that had happened
in certain past episodes of that serial.
A second distinctive
response centred on speculation about the intentions of the
programme’s producers. Perhaps in thus asserting his supposed
knowledge-ability about how TV stories are presented and developed,
the viewer is helped to feel that he is not merely an object of
entertainment but a self-conscious observer as well. Here are some
examples of such comments:
My reaction when I
heard there was going to be an accident was they were going to get
rid of some of the characters by killing them off I thought
somebody’s going to be written out of it.
I think it is a
loophole for getting someone out of the programme.
I feel, who are they
trying to get rid of in the programme? I will miss certain
characters if they go.
And a third theme
seemed to dichotomise those fans in whom a shocking episode provoked
an assertion of ‘adult discount’,
a stress on the story’s ‘make-believe’ qualities, from those who
unhesitatingly expressed sorrow at the prospect of being cut off
from characters who had become valued members of their own circles
of social intimates. These opposed reactions are illustrated by the
following two sets of extracts:
it’s only entertainment, I’m not bothered particularly
it’s fiction, so it doesn’t trouble me.
doesn’t go to my heart because I know it’s fiction, but it’s a
good idea if they want to drop someone.
Para-social companion-ship threat
sorry. I like all of them. Minnie’s just like Auntie; you feel
you know them. You know you feel as if they had been in a real
accident and you’d like to do something for them.
Shattered. I’m very upset. I hope they’ll be all right.
was very upset. So was I. You feel you know the characters
it’s shocking. They didn’t expect to have an accident, going on
a trip. You know it’s a shock. You feel sorry for them, and
that’s all you can say, love.
Unfortunately, it transpired that the inventory of gratification
statements about Coronation Street
had been ill-designed. Its closely positioned sequence of 43
statements about the programme, with five reply columns on the
right-hand side of the page, had obviously encouraged an unthinking
response, the consequences of which were fully evident once a
cluster analysis was carried out. The main determinant of the
allocation of items to a large first cluster proved to be their
physical proximity to each other – including, for example, items 11,
12, 16, 17, 20, 21, 22, 26, 27, 28, 30, 31, 32, 37 and 38. Since
this was undoubtedly evidence of the workings of a response set, it
was a) decided to abandon the Coronation Street
analysis at this point, and b) resolved to avoid the use of such
a format in subsequent investigations.
Results of the Quiz Study
shifting the object of investigation from a single programme to a
programme type, it was
important to delineate the boundaries of the chosen content category
and in terms that would make sense to the viewers
themselves. Consequently, the participants in the group discussions
were invited to say at the outset what they thought quiz programmes
were and to give examples. At this point a distinction was
invariably drawn between two kinds of programmes, one that was more
like a parlour game, the other relying on more genuine tests of
knowledge. In the former there were easy questions, big prizes,
gimmicks and a prominent element of chance (e.g. Double
Your Money, Take
Your Pick and The
Wheel of Fortune). In the
latter more emphasis was put on the ability of contestants to answer
really difficult questions, and it was decided that this category
should be the basis of the gratification study. At the time of the
survey only three such ‘quizzes’ were on the air – Ask The
Family, TV Brain
of Britain and
University Challenge and the
sample included 81 people who had mentioned one or more of them as
their ‘favourites’ when presented with a list of ten TV programmes.
But to be eligible for the quiz inventory a person had to have seen
at least two editions of one or more of the three quiz programmes
during the four weeks preceding the interview. This filter reduced
the size of the quiz sub-sample to 73 respondents.
interviewers’ approach to this sub-sample was confined almost
exclusively to the gratifications front. Unlike the more
wide-ranging approach to the Dales
and Coronation Street
fans, no evaluative or open-ended questions, eliciting other
expressions of attitude to quizzes, were asked. With a large battery
of social indicator items to get through, plus the possibility of
having to complete the Coronation Street
inventory, the interview was bound to be a long one for many
respondents. It has already been said that the 42 quiz items were
split into three inventories, one set of statements referring to the
gratifications anticipated from quizzes, one referring to the
satisfactions experienced while actually watching quiz programmes,
and a third containing a set of image-type descriptions of quiz
programmes (each item requiring a response to a four-point
scale). It was hoped that these distinctions would indicate clearly
what was expected of the respondent and help to maintain his
motivation by offsetting boredom and fatigue. Copies of the forms
are provided in the Appendix, where the distributions of response to
each scale are also set out. In general these format arrangements
seemed to work successfully. It is true that some difficulty had
been experienced in systematically preserving the three-fold
distinction between item types when drafting the statements for
inclusion in the inventories. But this part of the interview went
smoothly; there were no signs of response set in the results; and
the inter-correlations of item endorsements ranged meaningfully
across the inventory boundaries.
main results of the quiz study fall into two parts, corresponding to
the two-stage computer analysis of viewers’ responses to the
checklists that was conducted. First, the respondents’ endorsements
of the 42 scales were punched onto paper tape, and a 42 x 42 matrix
of product moment correlations was computed, after which the items
were rearranged into subsets by the same technique of cluster
analysis that had been followed in the Dales
survey. Second, scores were assigned to respondents to express
their orientations to each of the clusters that had emerged from the
previous analysis, and relationships between such scores and 21
social indicator variables were examined by means of the AID
(automatic interaction detector) program.
The gratifications associated
with television quiz programmes
Three decades ago Herta Herzog pointed out that, like many other
popular broadcast forms, quiz programmes ‘have a multiple appeal:
different aspects of them appeal to different people’. She also
noted that ‘mere armchair speculation cannot possibly surmise the
multiplicity of such appeals’. But in order to transcend armchair
speculation she had to rely on interpretation of qualitative data
gathered through intensive interviews with only 11 listeners to one
ratio quiz programme – although she also admitted that before one
could speak of the ‘results’ of such a study a) more cases would be
needed and b) questions suited to a systematic statistical analysis
would have to be devised.
Perhaps the findings reported here more nearly merit the designation
of ‘results’, since they stem from a cluster analysis of the
responses of 73 quiz fans to 42 statements about such
programmes. Table III.3 provides an overview of the outcome of that
TABLE III.3: Results of Cluster Analysis, Television Quiz
I can compare myself with the experts.
I like to imagine that I am on the programme and doing well.
I feel pleased that the side I favour has actually won.
I imagine that I was on the programme and doing well.
I am reminded of when I was in school.
I laugh at the contestants’ mistakes.
Hard to follow.
Basis for Social Interaction
I look forward to talking about it with others.
I like competing with other people watching with me
I like working together with the family on the answers.
I hope the children will get a lot out of it.
The children get a lot out of it.
It brings the family together sharing the same interest.
It is a topic of conversation afterwards.
Not really for people like myself.
I like the excitement of a close finish.
I like to forget my worries for a while.
I like trying to guess the winner.
Having got the answer right I feel really good.
I completely forget my worries.
I get involved in the competition.
I find I know more than I thought.
I feel I have improved myself.
I feel respect for the people on the programme.
I think over some of the questions afterwards.
It is nice to see the experts taken down a peg.
It is amusing to see the mistakes some of the contestants make.
I like to learn something as well as to be entertained.
I like finding out new things.
I like trying to guess the answers.
I hope to find that I know some of the answers.
I find out the gaps in what I know.
I learn something new.
A waste of time.
Something for all the family.
I like the sound of voices in the home.
I like seeing really intelligent contestants showing how much they
fact the material in the table forms a strikingly clear pattern.
Four relatively large clusters emerged first from the analysis and
were followed by a string of six, small, mainly two-item clusters.
Each of the former seems to represent a distinct appeal of
television quizzes, reaching in most cases quite adequate levels of
homogeneity and reliability. The
six later clusters add little to the results, however, partly
because most of their meanings have been covered already by the
larger clusters, and partly because two-item groupings are
necessarily low in reliability.
According to this
analysis, then, four main kinds of gratifications are involved in
the viewing of quiz programmes. One stems from a
whereby watching a quiz enables the viewer to find out something
about himself. Inspection of the individual items in Cluster 1
suggests that it embraces several related elements. There is the
possibility of assessing one’s ability by comparing one’s own
responses to the questions with the performance of other
contestants. There is the possibility of testing one’s judgement by
guessing which group of competitors will turn out to be the
winners. There is the theme of projection, whereby the viewer can
imagine how he would fare if he were on the programme itself. And
there is the possibility of being reminded of what one was like as a
school-child. In the last context it is interesting to note that
Herta Herzog also detected a self-rating appeal of quiz programmes
and speculated that one of its ingredients was the attraction of
‘being taken back to one’s own school days’.
meaning of Cluster 2 seems equally definite. A second major appeal
of quiz programmes (in contrast perhaps to The
Coronation Street serials)
is their provision of a basis for social interaction
with other people. Each item in the cluster (with only one
exception) bears this interpretation. A quiz programme offers shared
family interest; there is the possibility of observing ‘what
children get out of it’; the whole family can work together on the
answers; alternatively, viewers can compete with each other in
trying to answer the questions; and the occasion can form a topic of
conversation afterwards. Clearly quiz programmes are well-adapted to
serving a ‘coin of exchange’ function.
A third main
appeal of TV quizzes arises from the
excitement they can
engender. Many of the items in Cluster 3 convey this emphasis. Quiz
programmes apparently offer the excitement of competition itself,
guessing who might win and seeing how one’s forecast turns out, and
the prospect of a close finish. Herta Herzog seemed to have this
gratification in mind when referring to the so-called ‘sporting
appeal’ of Professor Quiz. Perhaps
what is distinctive about the composition of Cluster 3 in this study
is its injection of an ‘escapist’ note in the associated group of
items (‘I like to forget my worries for a while’ and ‘I completely
forget my worries’). It is as if the various tensions of a quiz
programme facilitate its ‘escapist’ function and help the viewer to
shed his everyday cares for a while.
Finally, Cluster 4 picks out an educational appeal
of quiz programmes. Here too several ingredients are involved. It
is not just that quizzes can help to stimulate thought (‘I think
over some of the questions afterwards’). In addition, two of the
items sound a note of ‘self-improvement’ (‘I feel I have improved
myself’ and ‘I find I know more than I thought’), in terms which
suggest that people who feel insecure in their educational status
may use quizzes to reassure themselves about their own
knowledgeability. And this suggests yet another way of interpreting
Cluster 4 – as expressive of the function of quiz programmes in
projecting and reinforcing educational values.
Compared with these coherent and distinct groupings the rest of the
cluster analysis has yielded a long tail of fragmented results. At
best this could be said to point to only two additional appeals of
quiz programmes: the prospect of viewer self-aggrandisement at the
expense of the mistakes that the contestants occasionally make
(Cluster 5) and the hint of a companionship theme (Cluster 10).
patterns and social background
Having confirmed the multiplicity of the gratifications sought from
quiz viewing, the next question to be tackled concerned their
differential social origins. What kinds of people are most attracted
to each of the main appeals of quiz programmes? In addition to
trying to answer this question it was thought advisable to look for
a technique of data processing that could be adapted to the
project’s long-term needs. It was decided in the end to try out the
AID (automatic interaction detector) computer program for these
essence the AID program searches among a group of independent
variables for a best set of predictors of a criterion variable. It
does so by effecting a series of dichotomous splits on the
independent variables. That is, the program first selects that
independent variable which, when dichotomised, becomes the best
predictor of the criterion variable. Each half of that predictor
then separately receives the same treatment in turn, which, when
divided, accounts for most of the remaining variance in the
dependent variable. The procedure is iterative, terminating when it
has either exhausted the supply of independent variables or produced
a grouping with an N which is too small for further division.
Altogether AID produces several different forms of tabulation. They
include a) a correlation matrix, showing the interrelationships of
all the variables in the analysis, b) mean dependent variable scores
for each dichotomised independent variable, and c) correlation
ratios which express the relationship of each of the remaining
independent variables to the dependent variable after the influence
of the best predictor has been taken into account. But the
program’s central feature is its search for best predictors, the
outcome of which can be visualised most appropriately as a branching
tree. This is the form in which the AID analysis of the quiz data
has been presented below.
choice of AID as a technique of data processing had some
implications for the preparation of both the dependent and the
independent variables in the analysis. The former were to consist of
a series of scores, to be assigned to each respondent to reflect his
endorsement of the various items in each of the quiz clusters. Raw
cluster scores were initially calculated by applying four
multipliers to each gratification scale – e.g. very often 3x, quite
often 2x, now and then 1x, and never 0x. To conform to an AID
requirement, however, the distributions of these scores had to be
converted onto ten-point scales, chiefly by collapsing adjacent
scale points through inspection. Although the AID analysis was
actually run on all the ten quiz cluster scores, only the results
for those clusters that have been interpreted substantively (1-4)
are presented below. In addition, each respondent was assigned a
total gratification score by summating individual cluster scores and
converting the resulting distribution into a ten-point scale. The
AID analysis of those total gratifications scores also appears
Finally, since there was a maximum number of independent variables
with which the AID program could cope, it was necessary to choose a
limited set of background particulars for inclusion in the
analysis. The 21 that were selected are listed in Table III.4. In
each case the data were converted into short ordinal scales (ranging
from two to five classes) in order to meet another AID requirement.
TABLE III.4: Independent Variables Included in the AID
Analysis of Quiz Gratification Cluster Scores
Housing type (pre-war terrace, inner city; post-war council, outer
Number of acts of sociability
Number of close friends
of present household
of accessible extended family
Number of acquaintances in the vicinity
Feelings of attachment to the neighbourhood
Length of residence at present address
Place of birth
of family of origin
Position in family of origin
Feelings about childhood
Score on general measure of social conservatism
Subjective social status
Estimated feelings of strain at work
Estimated feelings of fatigue after work
Inter-generational occupational mobility
Cluster 1- Self-Rating
accompanying figure shows how the AID procedures operate. When the
self-rating appeal of quiz programmes was analysed, the mean cluster
score for the entire sample of 73 respondents was 1.7, and that
dichotomised social indicator variable (out of the 21 in the
analysis) which provided the best prediction of the cluster score
was the type of housing occupied by the respondent. This produced
one high-scoring terminal group, consisting of 36 respondents,
living in council houses or urban terraces, who had registered a
mean cluster score of 2.4. On that side of the three the deployment
of other variables did not noticeably improve the
prediction. Meanwhile, a further split among the owner-occupiers, in
terms of the size of their nearby extended families, yielded another
high-scoring terminal group, consisting of viewers with large
extended families who had registered a mean cluster score of
2.1. Again no other variable on this side of the tree managed to
produce a better predictor. Although the relevance of size of
extended family to the self-rating gratification is difficult to
discern, the analysis as a whole clearly suggests that working-class
fans of quizzes were more concerned to use such programmes to ‘learn
about themselves’ than were their middle-class counterparts.
Cluster 2 – Basis for Social Interaction
AID figure for this cluster shows that it has mainly singled out
social contact variables as the best predictors of respondents’
scores. When an initial split was effected by the number of claimed
acquaintances in the area, a terminal group of 17 individuals was
produced, who had registered a mean cluster score of 4.2 (compared
with a sample average of 2.7). On that side of the tree, no other
variable helped to improve the prediction. On the other side, the
remaining respondents were further split by variables at two
different stages, involving size of extended family, age and place
of birth. In the end, this yielded a terminal group of middle-aged
viewers, having access to the members of a large extended family,
with a very high mean cluster score of 4.9. The analysis as a whole
suggests that a use of quiz material to serve a ‘coin of exchange’
function is directly related to the number of opportunities for
interaction that are available in the individual’s social
Cluster 3 – Excitement
Although the patterns shown in the tree for this cluster are rather
elaborate, and some of the splits are difficult to follow, the main
terminal groups do seem to add up to a comprehensible result. The
highest-scoring group (mean cluster score of 5.8 compared with a
sample average of 4.1) consists of working-class viewers who had
measured low on an index of acts of sociability and were late-born
children of large families. Bearing in mind that this cluster could
be expressing an ‘escapist’ fantasy, it may be that low sociability
is a symptom of the presence of some of those problems from which
the working-class viewer was seeking relief. The sex variable
figures prominently in the pattern on the other side of the tree,
certain women having proved exceptionally resistant to the
excitement appeal of quizzes (mean cluster score of 2.7).
Cluster 4 – Educational Appeal
meaningful predictors also seem to emerge from the AID analysis of
the educational qualifications associated with quizzes. The role of
place of birth in the initial split is hard to understand. But it is
interesting to find that school-leaving age helps to form a
high-scoring terminal group among the Leeds-born respondents, the
viewers who had completed full-time education at the age of 14 or 15
having registered a mean cluster score of 4.8 compared with a sample
average of 3.9. This underlines the suggestion made earlier that
people who feel insecure in their own educational standing may be
exceptionally susceptible to the educational appeal of quiz
programmes. On the other side of the tree, age locates another
high-scoring terminal group, 50-59 year-olds (among viewers who were
born outside Leeds) having registered a mean cluster score of 4.9.
This is consistent with the tendency for an interest in more serious
media materials to increase with age until the time for retirement
is approached, after which a decline sets in.
outstanding feature of the figure for this analysis is the relevance
of social status to the amount of satisfaction that a fan seems to
get out of quiz viewing. The best first predictor is occupational
grade, manual workers having registered a mean score of 4.6,
compared with sample average of 4.1. Moreover, occupational mobility
serves as the next best predictor when this variable is split again,
the immobile working-class respondents having formed a terminal
group with an average of 5.2. On the other side of the tree the
number of claimed acquaintances seemed to determine how much
satisfaction the non-manual respondents got out of following
quizzes. The mixed composition of the terminal group here,
consisting both of individuals with very few acquaintances and of
respondents with very many acquaintances, may conceivably reflect
the joint operation of a substitute companionship function and a
social interaction function. But the determinant role of class
variables in the analysis suggests that quiz viewing may help
certain manual workers to compensate in various ways for the
deprivations and insecurities that arise from their lower social
An Assessment of the AID Approach
results of the AID analysis of the quiz data were regarded as a
qualified success, encouraging in certain aspects but also
highlighting certain difficulties that must eventually be mastered.
It was most encouraging to find that as different criterion
variables provided a focus of investigation, quite different sets of
independent variables were singled out as best predictors by the
program. This suggests that the discriminatory power of AID could
be quite acute when applied to data derived from a large-scale
survey. The apparent relevance of several of the terminal groups to
the substantive meanings that had previously been assigned to the
individual clusters was also impressive.
the other hand, the meaning of certain splits remained obscure, and
the cutting points of certain dichotomies helped to form some
curiously heterogeneous groups. But the investigators considered
that these problems are soluble for three main reasons. First, it
should be appreciated that since the quiz sample was small, the AID
program was often obliged to work with absurdly tiny
sub-groups. This source of difficulty should certainly be overcome
by the size of the sample that has been proposed for the project’s
second-stage survey. (N = 2300). Second, the incidence of odd
cutting points on the independent variables should be considerably
reduced by ensuring that as far as possible only valid items are
used for collecting social background information. Third (and most
important), it is now clear that success in the use of AID
critically depends on the exercise of care and thought in the
selection of independent variables for inclusion in the analysis. It
could not be claimed that the social indicator variables deployed in
the quiz study had been chosen primarily for their hypothesised or
established relevance to the quiz gratifications under
investigation. In fact the list of these variables had to be
compiled before the results of the cluster analysis were known, and
some were included because of their expected relevance to
gratifications. But before AID is run in any major survey, all the
potential independent variables will be sifted according to the
terms of certain explicit criteria. Thus an attempt will be made to
define the envisaged role of each such variable in the analysis with
some precision in advance.
Later extended to 24 months.
Herzog, Herta, ‘Professor Quiz: A Gratification Study’, in
Lazarsfeld, Paul F., Radio and the Printed Page, Duell,
Sloan and Pearce, New York, 1940.
‘When I think about watching a quiz [the statement]
applies very much, quite a lot, a little, not at all.’
‘When watching quizzes [the experience] has
happened very often, quite often, only now and then, never.’
‘[the description] applies very well, fairly well,
slightly, not at all.’
The index of acts of sociability was adapted from an instrument
described in Belson, William A, The Impact of Television,
Crosby, Lockwood & Son, Ltd., London, 1967.
Adapted from a scale in Trenaman, Joseph, Attitudes to
Opportunities for Further Education, D. Litt Thesis, 1957.
Cf. Dysinger, W. S. and Rucknick, C. A. The Emotional Responses
of Children to the Motion Picture Situation, Macmillan, New
Herzog, Herta, ‘Professor Quiz: A Gratification Study’, op.
cit., pp. 64-5.
Aubrey McKennell proposes a threshold of approximately .30 for
homogeneity and suggests that ‘we ought to be seriously
concerned when the reliability of our measuring instruments sink
below a leel of, say, .6 to .7.’ Coefficients of homogeneity
and reliability have been calculated according to formulae
proposed by him in ‘Attitude measured: Use of Coefficient Alpha
with Cluster or Factor Analysis’, Sociology, Vol. IV,
1970, pp. 227-45.