Gosh, it’s hard when you have a research question about which you have big opinions, isn’t it? You sit there looking at it wondering how you can possibly remove your current biases, and try to sift through things you can prove and things you can test. I mean, I have an answer for this. I get asked about this, by American friends, by people interested in Australian media.
So how would I address the question Why don’t Australians go to see Australian films?
It depends on who’s asking, of course. Without getting super cute about it, here are the people I expect to ask this question:
- The government, as an investor in cinema
- A movie creator, looking to maximise their opportunity
- A movie distributor, wanting to decide whether to base out of Australia
Fortunately, for most of these people, there’s a lot of common information that benefits both. I’m not going to go do that research at this moment, just outline what information I’d want. The questions I know I need to answer:
- Just how do we define successful films in Australia?
- How many Australians have disposable income?
- How are Australians partaking in film?
- What form does film consumption take in Australia?
And, most crucially:
- What competes with Australian media?
This isn’t a vacuum. With any research project, what you want is to come up with the context, you want to inform the decision your stakeholder makes. Oh, sure, you may have ideas and opinions on this – and hey, I’m keeping a lid on that right now – but what we’re looking for is something that research methods can help.
Okay, so what about these questions? Fortunately, a few of them are reasonably easy to look at. There’s statistical information that you can shake out, already obtained, about the first few questions. Particularly, that last question – about competition – is one we can dig into with qualitive questions.
Fact is, you can talk to anyone who watches films and talk to them about the films they like. And that’s where I’d want to go with this research once I’ve got sufficient data. When I know how much we spent on cinema, when I can do things like juxtapose our consumption on Australian films versus consumption of non-Australian film. Things like the commonality of film visits. Things like the how many people just watch youtube instead?
I’m honestly not sure I want this to be my research question. It’s an interesting question to talk about, but I’m not sure if this is the sort of space my interests lie. Still, the question was to draft a proposal around this specific question, so there we go.