Interpretive research

In reading (most) of the Kline article, I was reminded of my undergrad that I did in theatre and film studies. Audience research was often referenced, but I remember profs complaining that there was never enough audience research and it was never conclusive.
Then I was reminded of my research proposal that I had just completed. It is essentially a bastardized (can I say that?) version of an audience research study. I'm looking to see how internet usage affects the identities of 36 women, comparing digital natives with non-digital natives.

I know that internet usage is exponentially more interactive than passively taking in a film or tv show, but there is still individual meaning-making going on. My aim, to look at the diversity of reponses of two particular groups to one cultural artifact...the internet, is similar to that of audience analysis. And I'm using a survey, focus groups and interviews with participants to inform my research, which are all methods of audience analysis.
Some of the complaints against these methods are that they are overly 'interpretive', and...well...they are. But how else can you measure feelings and responses? Some things just aren't easily quantifiable, that's why the 'media effects' debate that Kline investigates is still raging, it's impossible to directly link personal meaning-making with generalized causal effects.

So how can I make my study seem more substantial than me just asking 36 women about their feelings? Luker comes to the rescue, as she often does, with the suggestion that we can choose a sample "in such a way that logically, if not statistically we can generalize to some larger population" (pg. 125). While my particular study will not yield results applicable to the world as a whole, it would not be unsubstantiated to say that it may be generalizable to technologically active women in Toronto, Canada, maybe even North America. There is no reason not to believe that the 36 women chosen at random from around Toronto are not typical of the rest of the country. This puts the onus on the critic to disprove that logic...which comforts me.

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