Following Fandom: A Brief Online Survey

By Professor Daryl G. Frazetti - May 27, 2011

Thank you to all 12,334 fans who participated in my brief survey. What follows is an overview of the basic quantitative data for each of the 10 questions I asked. This survey was created to better understand fans and some of the responses which generated data on the original fandom survey. All of the data gathered will be analyzed in depth and a report will be generated once I can take the time to sit with this material. Many comments came in and to do the qualitative data justice, it will take some time to create a report. I will again post the report on my website and will also provide a copy to the folks here at StarTrek.com for them to share. The data from this survey will be utilized for the work I am now beginning for the in depth study of fandom culture, for book two, which will be a project well into 2012, The Ethnography of Star Trek Fandom.

When I blog later in June about the Anthropology of Star Trek, I will include additional information about the ethnography text. For now, enjoy the results of this brief survey and again, thanks to all who participated. All comments will be analyzed for the full report and will be made available within the next few weeks. 

Question 1: In what ways do you participate in fandom? (Check all that apply)

99% attend conventions, 17% follow Trek online in some way, 76% play online games, 

16% belong to local clubs, 2 % stated they participated in the masquerades or cosplay, 

3% utilize Star Trek in some form in their personal or professional lives, 

28% purchase merchandise, 8% read the novels or comics, 37% watch fan films, 

12 % read fan fiction, 1% responded as participating in other ways. 

One note of interest: those who later identified themselves as “armchair” fans indicated that they were actively involved in viewing Trek, following Trek online in some way, purchased merchandise, read the novels or comics, or applied Trek to their lives in some way. These fans are indeed just as participatory and just as much a part of fandom as the more visible fans

Question 2: What message boards do you participate in? (Check all that apply) 

3% Star Trek Logs, 3% Star Trek Fan Forums, 2% Trek United Forum, 46 % StarTrek.com 

3% TrekGuide.com, 79 % other. 

This question will be elaborated on once all the “other” listings have been sorted. There are indeed an array of sites that fans are regularly going to and regularly participating in outside of the ones mentioned directly in the survey as choices. 

Question 3: What websites do you visit for your Trek news? (Check all that apply)

77% StarTrek.com, 20% Trekmovie.com, 58% Facebook, 34% Memory Alpha,  2% Trekweb,

2% Trektoday, 1% Trek BBS,  5% answered “other”. 

This question will be elaborated on once all the “other” listings have been sorted. Though, the top “other” site unofficially is Trekland. 

Question 4: Which Trek brought you into fandom? 

A big question since the 2009 J.J. Abrams film has been how many new fans have come into Trek. I plan to expand this question and repeat it in different arenas in order to gather additional and perhaps more well-rounded data on this one.  

54%  The Original Series,  35% Next Generation,  2% Deep Space Nine,  5% Voyager,  

3% One of the Original Series films, 1% 2009 Abrams reboot.   

What was interesting was the higher number of TOS responses. However, given the responses to gender and age, it made sense in context. It had come to my attention that StarTrek.com may have been redesigned for a younger fan base and that more fans utilizing it came in either via Next Generation or the 2009 reboot. Again, this data will be expanded upon in the full report. 

Question 5: How long have you been a fan of Star Trek?

15% 1-10 years ,  25% 11-20 years, 28% 21-30 years, 13% 31-40 years,  19 % 40 + years 

When placed into context with the other data, it was not surprising to see the majority of fans fall where they did.  

Question 6: Were you a “closet” fan prior to the 2009 film? 

This was a question I was asked by several folks to include since many were curious about the number of fans who may have come in via the 2009 film, but also were just as curious to find out if perhaps fans were more comfortable identifying as fans following the reboot film. The response was an overwhelming 91% NO, and 9% YES.  This is a question I would also like to further investigate. 

Question 7: Which term best defines you as a fan? 

37 % Trekkie, 13% Trekker,  29% Star Trek fan,  10% Science Fiction fan,  11 % armchair fan

As was the case with many other questions that allowed for written comments or explanations, this question asked respondents to define the terms they selected for themselves. This data will be provided when the full report has been completed, following the analysis of this written data. 

Question 8: Select Sex and Age:

71% female, 29% male. 

The majority of females fell between 41-50 at 66%.  The males in that same age range came in at 34%. 

The next highest category were fans between 21-30.  52% female, 48% male. 

The full report will include a detailed breakdown and analysis of each category by sex and age. For those who are familiar with the history of Star Trek fandom, this is not surprising data. It also made sense when placed within the context of the other questions and the resulting data. 

Question 9: Current level of education: 

13% high school, 33% some college / certification, 9% Associates degree,  

31% Bachelor’s degree, 11% Master’s degree,  1% Doctoral degree, 

1% other professional degree

Question 10: Why Star Trek?  (Check all that apply)

49% holds meaning in personal life, 5% holds meaning in professional life, 

2% responsible for my career, 11% enjoy fandom community, 

18% just enjoy following the actors, 91%  just enjoy it for entertainment, 

70% Trek’s philosophy / ideology, 6% call to community service, 4% other 

No real surprises here, I don’t think. Once the comments are sorted, the detailed data analysis of this question will be provided in the full report. 

 

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Daryl G. Frazetti : www.academia.edu/darylfrazetti 

 

Bio: Professor of Anthropology and Sociology at CSU Channel Islands, Camarillo, CA. Research areas include science fiction in higher education, the subculture of fandom, fan films, science fiction as mythos, using science fiction to explore fieldwork and human existence, and exploring various science fiction literature and pop media as both cultural mirrors and cultural teachers.  Primary area of interest: Star Trek. Forthcoming text, Anthropology of Star Trek, is based on the course of the same name, created by Professor Frazetti. Professor Frazetti also speaks at various conventions and schools on the cultural and curricular significance of science fiction, fantasy, and comics. 

 

 

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