From Madison Avenue to the Field:
Cross-Cultural Uses of
Media Research Technology
Jonathan P. Baggaley
Athabasca University, Alberta
This chapter includes three audience research studies representing successive stages in the implementation of educational media campaigns, from the initial needs assessment stage to the product's development and its eventual delivery. Each study indicates the particular problems that arise when the developers and the intended consumers of educational material come from different cultures, and the obstacles this presents for the pilot-testing process. To deal with these problems, the studies used a computer-based data collection methodology of a type more commonly associated with North American advertising research. The chapter outlines uses of this methodology, known as Time-Scaling™, by community educators working with Somali refugees living in Canada, farmers in the fields of Mount Kenya, and townspeople and villagers of Ukraine.
Conventional media evaluation methods commonly fail to overcome problems associated with cross-cultural testing. The need arises for a rapid, reliable, inexpensive, and culture-free method of surmounting linguistic and literacy barriers, and the wide geographic dispersion of test audiences, in order to ensure that social marketing and development communications programs achieve the goals they intend.
Commercial advertisers have long since streamlined the process of media evaluation through the use of automated research methods that collect