>> overview research
What are children
This is a cooperative project
about the understanding of children's humour, explicitly taking
television into account.
Children enjoy laughing and they do
it a lot, and presumably laughing while watching television
is widespread. However, in international research the question
what children are laughing about and, in particular, what
aspects of a television programme they find funny, has not
yet been sufficiently investigated. This is where the IZI
starts and co-operates with different media researchers and
A. What are elementary
school children laughing about and can one use this humour
to enhance educational impacts ?
Blickwechsel e.V., an association for
media and cultural education, awarded with the Dieter Baacke
Preis in 2000, is conducting investigations, under supervision
of Norbert Neuss Ph.D. (PH Heidelberg), about the humour of
elementary schoolchildren. The association are aiming to bring
out certain types of children's humour, their meaning for
everyday life and to find opportunities to connect this to
educational oriented programmes. This study employs a multi-sited
research methodology: in 30 group discussions consisting of
6-8 elementary schoolchildren, their understanding of humour
is differentiated. Parents' diaries, noting down scenarios
of humour for 6 months, enable an approach to humour in everyday
life situations (400 humour episodes in everyday life). In
school essays children write about their experiences with
TV and humour.
B. Pre-teens' (10-
to 13-year-olds) understanding of humour in contrast to adult
understanding of humour
Attractive comedy programmes for children
have been investigated at the Hochschule für Film und
Fernsehen 'Konrad Wolf' in Potsdam/Babelsberg under the supervision
of Professor Lothar Mikos and Elisabeth Prommer Ph.D.. Referring
to the Gfk-quota outstandingly successful formats have been
identified: 'Die Camper' and 'Rita's Welt' as well as 'Die
Simpsons' and 'Der rosarote Panther' (The Pink Panther)".
These series are being analysed according to their humour.
Taking this as a starting point, 8 group discussions and 20
individual interviews bring out what is funny in these programmes
for children and adults respectively.
C. Overt humour in
Children's TV programmes
Under the supervision of Professor
Ben Bachmair, "Kassler Media Education" at the University
of Kassel is conducting qualitative media analysis, carrying
out an annual review of broadcast products scheduled for children
2002 and investigating the typical forms of humour in children's
D. Presumptions of
producers about when a programme is funny for children
The IZI is conducting a partial study
in relation to programmes that have been successful with children
and which the editors presume have been experienced as funny
by children. Firstly, those responsible for children's programmes
comment on their programmes and consider scenes that they
presume might be funny. In a second step, children watch the
same material and give an evaluation what is funny for them.
This qualitative study, based on video recordings, participant
observation and interviews with participants ('loud thinking'
afterwards) finally confronts these two different evaluations.
The results of this on-going project
were introduced at the IZI
conference on December 10th 2002, and are summarised in
the specialist review TelevIZIon
16/2003/2 (only available in German) and will be published
in a book.