The Romance Genre on the Web

Researching online romance genre communities and their perspectives

Survey ended

Filed under: News,Research updates — Bron at 7:55 pm on Thursday, November 1, 2007

I’ve just deactivated the online survey. I actually feel kind of sad about it, as it’s been running for some months now and backing it up at least once a day (and watching the participant numbers climb!) has become a part of my routine.

I’d like to sincerely thank everybody who has contributed their time to participate in the survey. There has been a great response rate, with a fantastic 802 participants.

My task now is to start analysing the data, and then writing up the results. I’ll report some of the results here on my research blog, as well as in conference and journal articles, and, of course, in my thesis!

Thank you again to all the participants – the romance genre community is a wonderful and supportive one, and your generosity in time in participating in this study, and in spreading word about it within your groups, lists and blogs, are examples of that.

I hope sometime in the next week or so to look at some of the general comments and provide an initial summary here on the blog of some of the issues mentioned. Plus, I’ll have some of the preliminary basic data fairly soon; the more complex cross analysis may take a little longer!

Survey closing October 31

Filed under: Research updates — Bron at 1:03 pm on Saturday, September 22, 2007

I’m coming to the end of my main data collection period. The online survey has been running since late March, and I’ve decided that I’ll close it off at the end of October. That’s still a bit over 5 weeks away.

If you haven’t taken the survey already, please do! Also, please feel free to post a reminder on your own blog, emailing lists, websites etc so that as many people as possible can participate. There are already 580+ responses, and this data will provide important contextual information for understanding the nature and scope of participation in online romance genre communities.

I’d like to thank everyone who has contributed, both to the survey and this research blog. Once I start analyzing data, I’ll post some more info to the blog, and probably some draft writing and ideas for discussion. In the meantime, things might stay a little quiet for a few weeks – I have some reorganizing and re-prioritizing to do in my life at the moment, due to some developments, so that’s taking my attention just now. However, I’m looking forward to starting to pull together the masses of data and information from various sources I’ve gathered over the past year and getting it into meaningful shape.

Interim survey data

Filed under: Research updates — Bron at 8:30 am on Saturday, March 3, 2007

The online survey has been available for just over a week, and there’s been an amazing 339 responses in that time. I’d like to thank everyone who has done the survey, and encourage you all to spread the word about it through the various romance genre online groups you’re involved with. The more people who complete the survey, the clearer ‘snapshot’ we can get of participation and activity.

I’m not going to report on every question here, because hey, it’s still early days, word hasn’t spread evenly throughout all sectors of the romance genre community, and at this point I’ve only got raw stats and no analysis, anyway! The survey will be able for several months, so at the end of that time I’ll do the full analysis and cross-tabulation etc. But here’s a few raw stats for interest:

Are you female or male?
Answer – Count – Percentage
No answer – 3 – 0.88%
Female – 331 – 97.64%
Male – 5 – 1.47%

What is the main language that you speak?
Answer – Count – Percentage
English – 328 – 96.76%
Spanish – 3 – 0.88%
German – 1 – 0.29%
French – 1 – 0.29%
Other – 6 – 1.77% (Finish, Norwegian, Dutch(2), Swedish, Australian)

What country do you live in?
Answer – Count – Percentage
Anguilla (AI) – 1 – 0.29%
Australia (AU) – 24 – 7.08%
Belgium (BE) – 1 – 0.29%
Canada (CA) – 22 – 6.49%
Finland (FI) – 1 – 0.29%
Germany (DE) – 2 – 0.59%
Ireland (IE) – 1 – 0.29%
Mexico (MX) – 1 – 0.29%
Netherlands (NL) – 2 – 0.59%
New Zealand (NZ) – 1 – 0.29%
Norway (NO) – 1 – 0.29%
Singapore (SG) – 1 – 0.29%
South Africa (ZA) – 1 – 0.29%
Spain (ES) – 1 – 0.29%
Sweden (SE) – 1 – 0.29%
Trinidad and Tobago (TT) – 1 – 0.29%
United Kingdom (GB) – 23 – 6.78%
United States of America (US) – 251 – 74.04%
Uruguay (UY) – 1 – 0.29%

Highest level of educational qualifications achieved
Answer- Count – Percentage
No answer – 3 – 0.88%
No formal diplomas/qualifications – 2 – 0.59%
High School Diploma or equiv – 42 – 12.39%
Trade Certificate or equivalent – 15 – 4.42%
College Diploma or equivalent – 35 – 10.32%
Bachelors Degree or equivalent – 137 – 40.41%
Master’s Degree or equivalent – 84 – 24.78%
PhD, Professional Doctorate or equivalent – 21 – 6.19%

On average, approximately how long do you spend online each week, reading and participating in romance genre related sites and groups?
Answer – Count – Percentage
Less than one hour per week – 4 – 1.18%
1 – 2 hours per week – 52 – 15.34%
3 – 4 hours per week – 82 – 24.19%
5 – 7 hours per week – 76 – 22.42%
8 – 10 hours per week – 43 – 12.68%
11 – 15 hours per week – 28 – 8.26%
16 – 20 hours per week – 28 – 8.26%
more than 20 hours per week – 26 – 7.67%

On average, about how many romance books do you read per month? (Include both category/series books and single title books.)
Answer – Count – Percentage
No answer – 3 – 0.88%
none – 2 – 0.59%
less than 1 book per month – 7 – 2.06%
1 to 2 books per month – 33 – 9.71%
3 to 5 books per month – 97 – 28.53%
6 to 8 books per month – 57 – 16.76%
9 to 12 books per month – 56 – 6.47%
13 to 20 books per month – 52 – 15.29%
more than 20 books per month – 33 – 9.71%
(This last one may add up to 340 – someone else has done the survey since I started copying and pasting!)

Now, I’m deliberately not saying much about these figures, because there’s too many caveats at this stage – it’s incomplete, a small-ish sample given the size of the community, representative of only those aspects of the romance online community where info about it has been posted so far, and so on and so on… but I’ve got to say, I am finding them very, very interesting :-)

First progress report!

Filed under: Research updates — Bron at 9:10 pm on Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Even without publicising this research project much yet, I’ve been thrilled by the response in the past few days. Thank you to everybody who’s stopped by, commented here, done the online survey, sent emails to me, or forwarded information about the research to the groups and email lists they’re involved with. I’ll be sending out emails to various romance genre sites and groups over the next few days, inviting participation, but if there’s a group you’re a member of, please feel very welcome to spread the word.

At the time of writing this, there’s been 112 responses to the survey. We’re still very early days yet, a bit too soon to start drawing any conclusions, but it’s interesting to watch the numbers and percentages developing. Yes, I’m obsessively backing up and exporting data into my spreadsheet :-) I will, however, resist temptation and wait at least a few days before posting some interim figures, to get a broader sampling across the various romance genre communities. The survey will be available for several months, so final figures, cross-tabulation and analysis will be a way off, but I’ll share some basic stats along the way.

Some of the comments in the survey have highlighted some areas I hope to explore further on the blog – for example, author’s online communities and forums; and the range of other genres that romance readers read. I’ll pose some questions about those on the blog in the not-too-distant future.

There’s some very interesting discussion going in the post before this one, around the question ‘Why romance?’ The question is still open, so please feel welcome to contribute!

Once again, thanks to all of you who have contributed to getting this research project off to a flying start. Romance readers and writers are wonderful people!