Author popularity: an exploratory study based on Roald Dahl
journal contributionposted on 10.08.2005 by Sally Maynard, Cliff McKnight
Any type of content formally published in an academic journal, usually following a peer-review process.
The study described here is an attempt to identify the elements which make an author popular. Emphasising the views of children themselves, rather than critics, parents and other adults, the research investigates the popularity with young readers of the writer Roald Dahl. The repertory grid technique is used as the means of eliciting children’s views, and reasons for selecting this as the method are presented. Some informative constructs are identified by the participants in the study and it is reported that the participants found some qualities and characteristics in common between works by Dahl, thereby rendering them different from other books. Although constraints on participant numbers mean that the study can only be seen as a “first step” towards a clearer understanding of children's liking for works by Roald Dahl, it is argued that an attempt has been made to discover the opinions of the readers themselves by speaking to children, rather than simply considering the views of adults. Recommendations for future research are made.
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