Texas Tech University

Audience Testing Lab

Audience testing, more formally known as “continuous response measurement,” allows you to gauge audience response to any type of video or audio message on a moment-by-moment basis. This type of research has a variety of basic and applied uses: commercial testing, talent evaluations, mock-trial testing, response to television production techniques, political debates, and more. In the lab, viewers use small, hand-held dials to continuously report their evaluation of any type of recorded or live content.

Real-Time Response. In addition to a second-by-second quantitative record of viewers' response data, results can also be visualized as a response curve superimposed over the video message. This visual record synchronizes audience response with precise moments in the program, advertisement, or other type of video to provide an intuitive look at how the audience responded to specific moments in the message. What's more, viewers can be grouped based on pre-determined categories like gender, ethnicity, age group, or more.

Lab Hardware. The CCR's continuous response lab is equipped with state-of-the art Perception Analyzer hardware from DialSmith, the industry-standard system for audience testing. Our lab contains 34 seats, where we can present either pre-recorded or live television content via an overhead projector and speakers.

Sample Study: Audience Response to Presidential Debates. Researchers in the Center for Communication Research examined audience response to all three debates in the 2012 presidential elections. Audience members were grouped based on gender and political affiliation, and responses were remotely viewed in real time in our observation lab. Subsequent analysis examined how viewers responded to specific types of debate strategies, like personal attacks or praise of a candidate's record. The study received television coverage on local media as well as national wire services.