P2. Why Do We Watch Reality? (a proposal)

The uses and gratifications theory (UGT) perceives media audiences as active, assuming there is a clear intent for their way of media consumption. With the development of technology in recent years and the audiences active presence on media, it is relevant to proceed with this research, based on UGT guidelines.

“Individuals selectively use mass media in order to satisfy their human needs” ( Lull, 1980, p. 198)

This ethnography research seeks to collect the participants’ habits and thoughts in relation to their reality TV consumption to discover how reality TV satisfies its audience to answer the question: ‘Why do we watch reality TV?’. Therefore, interviews are the chosen method to collect this qualitative data.

I will go about this research by doing one on one interviews with the students enrolled in the BCM241 subject who have watched or actively watch one or more reality television shows. In order to conduct ethnographic research and avoid any distress, the questions will be open-ended. This way, sensitive issues can be avoided by the participants themselves. Moreover, open-ended questions will encourage the participants to elaborate on their answers which will result in a better understanding of their experiences, mindsets, and observations. I will record the data by only recording the interview sessions on my smartphone and will avoid taking notes in order to create a more casual and comfortable environment.

The interview questions will be divided into 4 general sections. The first section will explore the interviewees’ experience with the reality TV genre. The second section will try to explore the emotional motives behind watching reality TV and its experience. Then, the participant will be encouraged to describe the setting and the environment in which they watch the shows. Lastly, the interviewees will be asked to share their opinion about reality TV in general.

 Sample questionnaire:

p1. Identification: What do you watch?

p2. Motives: Why do you watch it? (Boredome? Curiosity? Passion?)

p3. Setting: How do you watch it? (alone? with family/ friends?) Why?

p4. Opinion: What do you think about the content of it?

The data collected from the interviews will be identified anonymously and the participants will be mentioned as Participant.1, Participant.2,… . As the interviewer, I will explain the aim of the research to each participant clearly at the beginning of their session and ask whether they are comfortable with having their voice recorded. At the end of the interview, I will ask whether they agree to have the information provided shared anonymously on this blog address.


  • Corrie-Metcalf, Gina Danica, “The appeal of reality television: a uses and gratifications perspective” (2005). Master’s Theses. 2804.
  • Lull, J., 2006. The Social Uses of Television. Human Communication Research, 17 March, pp. 197- 209.

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