The World Hobbit Project Database

  • Martin Barker (Creator)



The World Hobbit Project (2013-4) was a major collaborative effort involving researchers in 46 countries, designed to gather audience responses to Peter Jackson’s film trilogy of JRR Tolkien’s book from across the world. Enabled by a small grant from the British Academy (to whom we acknowledge our thanks), the project garnered responses to an online questionnaire which was designed using the same basic ‘qualiquant’ methodology as the earlier Lord of the Rings international project. A total of just over 36, 000 completions were gathered, and stored in a searchable database. We are now making this database available to other researchers who may wish to use it. We ask only that due acknowledgement of the source of any data you gain from using this, to be properly acknowledged in any presentation or publication. Any queries about this, or about other matters relating to the questionnaire/database, should be addressed to the Project’s overall coordinator, Martin Barker, at:

The Project was centred around one key question, from which five subsidiary ones flowed: how do films which originate as an English children’s story acquire meaning and value for different audiences across the world? Within this broad question, we asked: 1) How are responses to The Hobbit related to age, sex, income, nationality and reading experience? 2) How does wider knowledge (eg, of Tolkien’s work, of Jackson’s films) affect people’s engagements? 3) How are vernacular labellings of the film patterned, and how do these relate to interpretive strategies (for example, to recalling and valuing particular elements of the story)? 4) How do different audiences relate their responses to wider (real, virtual or imagined) communities? 5) What criteria undergird different evaluations of the film, and how are these evidenced within responses? It will be seen from these questions that this Project was not hypothesis-driven. Rather, it was designed to elicit a richly structured combination of data and discourses. This of course means that it retains potential for further discoveries and knowledge, beyond what has already been extracted by members of the Project’s network.

A good deal has been published from the Project by a number of its participant researchers. The largest collection of these can be found in a Special Issue of the journal Participations (Volume 13:2, 2016) at A broad summary of the Project’s intentions, methodology, and initial findings can be found there in the Issue’s Introduction.

Available here are:

a) A copy of the Questionnaire, with indications (for all multiple-choice questions) as to the ways in which answers are coded (numerically or alphabetically) within the database.
b) The entire database, in EXCEL and ACCESS formats, of the responses to our Questionnaire.
Date made available18 Oct 2017
PublisherPrifysgol Aberystwyth | Aberystwyth University
Date of data production2013 - 2014

Cite this