LOOP Formative Evaluation Report
CEG (formerly Veridian inSight, LLC) performed a formative study, including six focus groups, in October 2009 on behalf of WGBH. The focus groups took place in Boston, MA, Nashville, TN, and Phoenix, AZ. In each city, we conducted two focus groups. We divided the groups with respect to age (e.g., 6-7 year olds were recruited for one group in each city, 8-9 year olds were recruited for the second focus group in each city). A total of 41 children participated in the study. The goal of the formative study was to gather kids' feedback on the animated LOOP Six-Minute Sample. The focus group discussions covered key topics such as: Overall understanding and enthusiasm for the segment. Specific ways in which different characters resonate with different kids and why. How the segment reminds kids of other shows or television-show characters. Other feedback about the segment including, but not limited to, how the animation looks and the level of humor. The formative study findings provide strong evidence that the LOOP is likely to be a hit among 6 to 9 year olds. Kids easily understood the concepts underlying the show they quickly grasped the premise that the characters were stuck in a video game. This idea sparked their imaginations and seemed to satisfy their self-reported appetite for shows with adventures and challenges. While viewing the show, kids were visibly interested and engaged by it. With the exception of the Sphinx, the kids enjoyed the characters especially Brad and Ben. Kids liked that the characters were funny, and especially appreciated the antics of Brad with his collection of amusing and unpredictable tools. The kids in our sample were very interested in what would happen next in the show. They had lots of theories about how the kids would escape their dilemma and offered lots of suggestions for other worlds they would like to see the characters explore next. LOOP appears to be unique for its target audience. While kids in our sample thought the theme was similar to other shows with adventure as their themes, most kids did not feel that the LOOP reminded them strongly of any other TV shows that they watched. The show also appears to fill a void in environmental media for elementary-aged kids. While a handful of kids in our sample could recall viewing movies about the environment, none could name a single children's TV show that was related to the environment. Thus, it appears that the LOOP may not only fill an important gap in teaching kids about the environment, but it will likely be a show that kids will want to watch. A copy of a the focus group interview script used in the study is included in this report.