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Research

Each year, the Office of Film and Literature Classification conducts research into a topic of particular interest to its work. Included below are abstracts and links to the pdf versions of the research reports carried out by the Office from 2001 to 2009. Some of the research is also avaliable in hard copy. Contact the Office about getting a hard copy of this research.

Research Reports

Report of a Public Consultation about The Last House on the Left (October 2009)

Under Section 21 of the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993, the Classification Office may show a publication to any person whom the Office considers may be able to assist it in forming an opinion on which to base a classification decision in respect of that publication. This report details the findings of a public consultation on the 2009 film The Last House on the Left.

To go to the pdf version of the report (PDF V 7.0, 316kb) click here.

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A Review of Research on Sexual Violence in Audio-Visual Media (August 2009)

The Classification Office commissioned researchers from Victoria University to conduct this literature review which focuses on research conducted in the 1990s or later and groups together studies that used similar methods, commenting on methodological strengths and weaknesses as well as reporting on the findings. The aim of this review was to draw out common themes and to highlight trends and gaps in the literature.

To go to the pdf version of the research (PDF V 7.0, 703kb) click here.

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Public Perceptions of a Violent Video Game X-Men Origins: Wolverine (August 2009)

The Classification Office commissioned market research company UMR to recruit 24 members of the public aged 18 and over to participate in two focus groups to explore game-player and non-game-player levels of comfort with violence in video games, and perceptions of the classification system in relation to video games. The research probed participants' feelings about young people having access to violent games. Participants viewed two short clips of pre-recorded game play, and used the Perception Analyser to record their levels of comfort with what they were seeing and hearing. This exercise was followed by a focus group discussion led by the Chief Censor. The findings of the discussions are summarised in a written report and complemented by a separate report from UMR setting out the results of the Perception Analyser exercise.

To go to a pdf of the focus group findings (PDF V 7.0, 487KB) click here.

To go to a PDF of the UMR Perception Analyser results (PDF v7.0, 3.11MB) click here.

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Viewing Violence: Audience Perceptions of Violent Content in Audio-Visual Entertainment (November 2008)

This is a joint research project by the Broadcasting Standards Authority and the Office of Film and Literature Classification. Both these media regulatory organisations share an interest in public attitudes toward violent content in audio-visual entertainment. In this research, carried out by Colmar Brunton, focus groups, individual interviews and online bulletin boards were used with New Zealand adults and teenagers to explore their tolerance for and levels of comfort/discomfort with depictions of violence in audio-visual entertainment. Participants viewed short clips which depicted different types of violence in a variety of contexts. This research adds to the knowledge gained over the years, updating the Authority and the Office with a range of New Zealander’s viewpoints about their choices and expectations of violent content in audio-visual entertainment.

To go to the pdf version of the research (PDF V 7.0, 1.79MB) click here.

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Public Perceptions of Highly Offensive Language (November 2007)

In 2005 the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993 was amended to empower the Office of Film and Literature Classification to restrict, but not ban, material containing “highly offensive language”. Highly offensive language is defined in the Act as language that is “highly offensive to the public in general”. The Office and UMR Research conducted this research to better understand public views of what constitutes highly offensive language, the factors that influence those views and the possible harm done by offensive language. Eight discussion groups were held in Auckland in April 2007, where participants were shown eight short film clips, selected by the Office, and asked for their views on the offensive language in each clip.

To go to the pdf version of the research (PDF V 7.0, 3.75MB) click here.

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Public Understanding of Censorship (June 2007)

The New Zealand censorship system’s primary objective is to prevent injury to the “public good”. Therefore it is important to ascertain the degree to which the public understand the classification system and have confidence in it. This was the objective of research undertaken by the Office of Film and Literature Classification and UMR Research. An internet survey of 2611 New Zealanders aged 18 years or older was conducted in May 2006. Participants were asked what they knew about the Office and its functions, the classification labels and what they mean and the extent to which they used these classifications when making entertainment choices for themselves and their children. They were also asked whether they thought the classification system was too strict, too liberal, or just right.

To go to the pdf version of the research (PDF V 7.0, 1.33MB) click here.

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Young People’s Use of Entertainment Mediums (November 2006)

The Classification Office and UMR Research investigated the use of entertainment mediums by persons aged 16-18 years. The 460 respondents to the survey had attended the Office's Censor for a Day 2006 events in Wellington, Christchurch, Nelson and Invercargill. They were asked about the most recent film, computer game and DVD or video they had viewed and whether it had influenced their thoughts or behaviour. The survey also asked what factors influenced their choice of film, computer game, DVD or video. It also looked at how young people use their mobile phones.

To go to the pdf version of the research (PDF V 7.0 2.1MB) click here.

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The Viewing Habits of Users of Sexually Explicit Movies: a Hawke’s Bay sample (December 2005)

In this study, the Office of Film and Literature Classification and the Crime and Justice Research Centre of Victoria University of Wellington examined the viewing habits of users of sexually explicit material in Hawke’s Bay. This built upon the findings of the previous Wellington based study Viewing Habits of Users of Sexually Explicit Movies July 2004.  However, the Hawke’s Bay respondents provided a different rural and urban demographic than the 2004 Wellington study. Respondents were asked how, why and when they viewed sexually explicit movies and what effect they thought that they had on them. They were also asked questions about the stigma attached to viewing these movies. The findings were based on interviews with 65 people.

To go to the pdf version of the research (PDF V 7.0 1.9MB) click here.

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Underage Gaming Research (September 2005)

The Office of Film and Literature Classification and the Censorship Compliance Unit of the Department of Internal Affairs asked UMR Research to survey the game playing habits of 15-17 year olds. The respondents were 331 students attending the Office's 2005 Censor for a Day events in Wellington, Napier and New Plymouth. Students were asked whether or not they had played any of the R18 or banned games, how they accessed them and whether their parents or guardians were aware of the games they played. They were also asked about their understanding of the labelling system, in particular the labelling of games that are not legally allowed to be supplied to them.

To go to the pdf version of the research (PDF V 7.0, 321kb) click here.

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The Viewing Habits of Users of Sexually Explicit Movies (July 2004)

This research examined the viewing habits of users of sexually explicit material in response to an absence of research on the effects of sexually explicit movies on users identified in A Guide to the Research into the Effects of Sexually Explicit Films and Videos (June 2003). The research was undertaken by the Office of Film and Literature Classification and the Crime and Justice Research Centre of Victoria University of Wellington. Forty-five participants answered questions about how they use sexually explicit movies and how they thought they were affected by them. They were also asked about the stigma attached to viewing this material.

To go to the pdf version of the research (PDF V 7.0, 320kb) click here.

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A Guide to the Research into the Effects of Sexually Explicit Films and Videos (June 2003)

The Office of Film and Literature Classification and Helena Barwick looked at existing research on the effects of non-violent sexually explicit material. The research guide examines different perspectives to sexually explicit material. It also looks at methodological issues raised by research design, meta-analyses of experimental research and non-laboratory research designs. The guide then surveys findings from research on:

  • what is know about the effects of using sexually explicit videos
  • the users of sexually explicit material
  • how sexually explicit material is used.

To go to the pdf version of the research (PDF V 7.0, 355kb) click here.

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Public consultation on sexually explicit videos (June 2002)

The Office of Film and Literature Classification with Helena Barwick again consulted with members of the public on their attitudes to sexually explicit material. The members of the public were asked to interpret the phrase degrading, dehumanising and demeaning as found in the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993 and how this applied to sexually explicit material.

While this research revisited ground covered in earlier research, in this research, each consultation group was shown the same clips of sexually explicit material. The research findings compare different responses to particular clips and, for example, look at which clips the audience had a more positive response to.

To got to the pdf version of the research (PDF V7.0, 1.6mb) click here.

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Public consultation on sexually explicit videos (June 2001)

The Office of Film and Literature Classification and researcher Helena Barwick consulted with a cross-section of members of the public on their attitudes to sexually explicit material. In particular, the research looked at:

  • how people interpreted the phrase degrading, dehumanising and demeaning as found in the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993 and how it applied to sexually epxlicit material
  • whether people considered that sexually explicit material treated men or women as 'inherently inferior'
  • whether the manner of depicting sexual activity in videos or the sexual activity itself was degrading or treated men or women as 'inherently inferior'.

152 people attended one of the six gender segregated screenings. A seperate male and female group viewed one of the three clips of sexually explicit material. The research findings are based on the results of the written questionnaire and the following discussion between the Office representatives and attendees.

To go to the pdf version of the 2001 research (PDF V 7.0 855kb) click here.

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