chapter
32 Pages

Methodology

We conducted eleven focus groups with a total of fifty-five young female viewers in

BiH-twenty-one Bosniaks, nineteen Bosnian Serbs, and fifteen Bosnian Croats. Each focus group was composed of five students, aged from nineteen to twenty-four years old, and coming from diverse backgrounds. We focused on this demographic group because students are regarded as the most critical and active audience and because young female viewers were the most avid viewers of The Palace (Nicholas S. R. Walliman 2011, 79). The research was conducted in 2011 and 2012 at the main university cities in the Federation of BiH (Sarajevo, Zenica, Tuzla, Mostar, and Bihac´) and Republika Srpska (Banja Luka). We recruited respondents by posting posters on university campuses inviting students to participate in research about the reality show. Specifically, informants were asked questions that fit into four main themes: (1) self-identity (how do they see themselves, how do they see their role in society, and what do they want to become and why?); (2) general perceptions of gender issues (how are women positioned in a society and how are they represented in the media?); (3) the way they watched The Palace (where, when, and how did they watch the show?); and (4) their interpretations of Ursˇka’s popularity in the region. All interviews were conducted in the respondents’ native languages, transcribed verbatim, and analysed in terms of recurring themes. Each group meeting was approximately 2.5 hours in length. Focus group data analysis was based on the recordings of the groups, and the transcriptions of those tapes.