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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

Tolkien Fan Fiction Survey

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

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"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

Tolkien Fan Fiction Survey

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In January 2015, I will be presenting a paper about the Tolkien fan fiction community at the Mythmoot III conference in Baltimore. While other fandoms have been studied in depth, particularly television fandoms, very little study has been done on the Tolkien fandom, and my ten years of experience in this community have caused me to conclude that, while we share some similarities with other fandoms, we also differ in some important regards. I hope, through my Mythmoot presentation, to provide not only background on our community, its history, and its practices for an audience that may not be familiar with the fan fiction community, but also to begin to identify and examine some of the ways that our community differs from how fandom has been understood and presented by scholars.

As part of this, I have put together a survey for participants in the Tolkien fan fiction community. The purpose of the survey is to collect data on the habits, beliefs, and preferences of Tolkien fans who participate in reading and/or writing fan fiction. No identifying information, including IP address, is collected as part of the survey. You may skip any questions you do not want to answer or quit the survey at any time. I estimate that it will take about 15-20 minutes to complete.

If you have ever read or written Tolkien-based fan fiction, you are eligible to participate.

Click here to begin the Tolkien Fan Fiction Survey.

Please feel free to direct any questions, comments, or concerns to me via email (DawnFelagund@gmail.com) or private message. And do feel free to share the link to the survey or a link to this post; I would like to get as many perspectives as possible from as many corners of our community as possible.

This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!

  • Done :)
  • Happy to do this :)
  • Well, Dawn, that was awesome. It did make me feel a little guilty about not reading as much fan fiction as I'd like, so I'm off now to do just that! :)
    • Thanks for taking it, Jenni! I don't read much either, so no feeling guilty! :) Someday, hopefully, life will settle down enough for both of us that we can return to this.
  • Done.

    Had a hard time, though, with some questions, because I can't make a blanket statement about, say, whether I enjoy [insert genre here] or what not. I don't envy survey-makers - it seems to be an art as much as a science!

    Hope you get the data you need for your paper.
    • Thank you, Dwim!

      The survey was really hard to make, which probably isn't a surprise! I went with keeping things simple and open-ended to allow for the various definitions different corners of the fandom might assign to, for example, a term like "het." I feared alienating writers and readers whose definitions didn't closely match mine if I succumbed to my urge to define everything. (Which is always an urge! My writing is so long-winded for a reason ... :D) I expect I would have found answering some of the questions challenging too.
  • Done! :)
  • Done!
  • If we used to read fanfiction but no longer do, is there a specific way you'd like us to indicate that in the text boxes, or should we answer as if we were filling the survey out back when we were still in the fandom? (Or as far as the questions about other fandoms go, do you want us to indicate all fandoms we've invested a lot of fanfiction reading time into, or to limit answers to fandoms we were into at or around the same time we were into Tolkien?) If that makes sense?
    • When asking for the amount of time spent reading/writing, you can treat that as present.

      When asking for views/opinions on genre, reviews, etc etc, you can go with your opinions when you still participated.

      I absolutely do want participants who used to be involved in fandom but are not anymore. Seeing a zero in "hours reading each week" will let me know that that is where your perspective is coming from. :)

      Any fandoms that you have invested a lot of time into is fine. If it's zillions and you want to limit it to those you feel is most important, that is fine.

      And thank you!
  • I have a similar query to sinneahtes above -- I used to read (and wrote a little), but it's been years since I touched a Tolkien fic. Some of the questions are written in present tense though, so I'm not sure if I should be answering the survey after all.
    • I absolutely want the perspectives of people who used to be involved but are not anymore. :) For number hours reading each week, that would be a zero for you presently. For the multiple choice questions that ask your opinion on different aspects of fandom, just go with what your opinions/practices were when you were still involved.

      Thank you. :)
  • Done! And I posted the link to this post over in a journal on my deviantArt, so hopefully some more people will take it.

    I'm really interested in seeing the results of this! I've seen some studies done on fandom (from an anthropological perspective), but it'll be interesting to see about a fandom I'm in!

    Edited at 2014-12-25 03:15 am (UTC)
    • Thank you so much for cross-posting, Brooke! I really appreciate that, especially since I have zero connection to Tolkien fans on DeviantArt (which I just realized I left off the monstrously long list of sites/archives ... well, there is the Other box, and I hope they won't be too insulted! I always forget that dA does fanfic too. :^\)

      I am willing to share the results with anyone who wants them. I'm going to set a cut-off point, probably in the first week of January, to collect data for the Mythmoot paper but will leave the survey up for the full year that my IRB approval is valid for. And that will be the data I use for any papers I write afterward. But if you want a download of the data at any time, please just ask! :) Otherwise, I'll make it known at the end of the year when the final set of results is available.
  • Done!
  • Done!

  • Also done!

    There were a couple questions broadly worded enough that my answer was both "Agree" and "Disagree", so I selected "No Opinion", which isn't really the same.

    Looking forward to reading the finished product!
    • Yes, I've gotten a few comments about people feeling that the statements were too broad and having difficulty answering (particularly the genre questions), which I will definitely address in any use of the results. (So thank you for bringing it up. :) It was challenging to write the statements so that they were relevant to participants from various corners of the fandom.

      Thank you for taking it! :)
  • I did it, too. As best I could, that is. I seem to be the type who always wants to answer to any multiple-choice question: "Yes, but..."
    • Thank you, Himring--and thank you too for the signal boost on your LJ! :) I very much appreciate both.

      The number-one piece of feedback I've heard is that people wish they were able to expand on their answers. Part of me, when I was designing the survey, thought to put in an open-response box at the end for any sort of elaboration that people wanted to give. I decided against it because I'd be unlikely to have the time to analyze that kind of data (and this when I thought I might get 100ish respondents! not 678, which is the current number of responses!); also, I worried that, knowing fandom folk (being one myself), such a box would actually be a barrier to submitting the survey. I could see many people wiling away hours on beautifully crafted essays and losing data or never hitting send or second-guessing their answers ad nauseum or ...

      Long story short, I decided to keep it simple and able to be completed in a relatively short timeframe! :D Although if you want to share any reactions, I certainly welcome them over email/PM/whatnot (and have gotten quite a few).
  • Hey Dawn, I'm late (as always), but just wanted to drop by to tell you I took the survey. I feel a bit inadequate now because there were so many (interesting and valid!) questions I had actually never consciously thought about, so I probably hit "no opinion" waaay to much, but I hope it's helpful for you anyway. :)

    Gods, you're so prolific, I always feel like such a lazy little thing compared to you. ;)
    • Since I just read some of your other posts and saw that you did the first evaluation of the survey on January 1st, I just wanted to drop by once more to tell you I did the survey before that (because otherwise my post above would have been pretty random and pointless, I guess).

      Note to self: Try to answer posts right away, not two weeks after if you don't feel like confusing people. ;)
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