Delphi study findings: the resources fans use

This post focuses on the information sources and resources that the 31 members of my Delphi panel mentioned in their responses.

The main finding in this section of the study found that overwhelmingly, the primary or source text is the key source of information for cult media fans. Whilst online sources take up the largest percentage of sources used by panel members, offline sources, or those that are neither specific to digital or analogue forms, were also widely used, thus supporting the view that fans are comfortable using a wide range of resources to gather news, seek out trivia, research projects, and share information about their fandom.

The first round of this study also seems to show that fans use a wide variety of resources, from ‘official’ sources to fan-made resources.  In the case of official sources, this is not merely restricted to the source text or canon, but also includes such things as interviews, tweets and Tumblr postings from actors/writers/creators/producers, printed art books, promotional materials and other merchandise.  As for fanon and fan-made resources, there are obviously other fanworks, but also fan talk, wikis, rec lists, social media, and so on.

The following table gives a run-down of all the information sources and resources cited by the Delphi panel’s 31 participants. The list is broken down into three sections – online, offline, and specific to neither of these media.

 

Online Offline Non-specific
Fanfiction.net Art books Primary/original source/text
Message boards Comics News and press releases
Fan sites DVD extras/commentaries Interviews
Fanart sites (e.g. deviantART) Magazines Articles
YouTube TV shows/documentaries Promotional materials
Tumblr Library Other fans
Twitter (official and fan accounts) (auto)biographies Friends/family/colleagues
Facebook (official and fan accounts) Radio shows Actors/agents/producers/creators
AO3 Stores and shops Newspapers
Google Drive/Docs Books Scientific/academic papers
Podcasts Movies Fanworks
Social networking sites CD’s/records/soundtracks Reviews (print, AV, digital etc.)
Gossip sites (e.g. Celebrity Dirty Laundry) Overhearing fan conversations
Screenshots (of games, movies etc.) Teachers/professors
Soundtracks Reading groups
Wikis (e.g. Wikipedia, Marvel & DC Comic Databases) Theatre/stage/performance
Databases Imagination!
Spoiler pics/lists etc.
Mailing lists
Archives
Livejournal
Rec lists/link lists
Google search
Mediafire/Dropbox
Dreamwidth
WordPress
Live tweeting
Blog posts
ComicBookResource
Marvel.com
Ebay
Adultfanfic.org
Yahoo
Live-plays/walkthroughs/guides
Kickstarter/Patreon/Twitch
Instagram
Google Translate
Memrise
Comicology/My Comic Shop/Midtown Comics
Rage comics
Memes
Gamespot/IGN etc.
Fic-find communities
Cosplay.com
Game trailers

If you want to read more about the findings of the Delphi study, you can read my paper, “Being in a knowledge space”: information behaviour of cult media fan communities.  The paper is also available through my Publications tab above.

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