Introduction to the investigation report : Image formation research into the importance of attractiveness in the media and youth assistance.  

It is crystal-clear that looks have a large influence on our day-today lives, from cradle to the grave. This has already been fully pointed out earlier in this work. Until today, not many inquiries have been made into this theme in Flanders and the Netherlands. It is not easy to find out just how strong the influence of looks or unattractiveness is, and to discover how the man in the street really feels about it.
We have set up a private survey, together with six final-year "remedial education" students of the Limburg Catholic University of Professional Education (KHLim). The survey consisted of three parts:

- A written survey among 3,387 Flemish people (including a small delegation from the Netherlands) of various ages and professions.
- A survey among 79 social/welfare workers, who are active in 13 youth assistance institutions (special youth support and child psychiatry).
- A survey among 92 youngsters residing in these youth assistance institutions.

The students active in this survey were: Nancy Broers, Lisbeth Cartenstadt, Sarah Ombelets, Leen Smets, Bjorn Wertelaers and Geraldine Wijnen. The survey was the main assignment of their final project. They were counselled by Gerard Gielen. It was financed by the budget for services/research of the KHLim-department of social studies.
The research has been prepared with the students from January 2003 to February 2003. During this period the issue was explored through library search, questionnaires were drawn up and were held to test groups. The survey of the population took place in March 2003. The survey of the social workers and young persons took place in April 2003. In May, the data were processed with computers. The six students presented their project in front of a jury, who, deservedly, rewarded their project with distinction.
The accompanying CD-ROM contains the original questionnaires, the Access files which were used to process the data, the complete Excel tables with rough data and the derived tables with the processed results. You can also find an elaborate report with all tables, charts and interpretations for every survey. In the reports of the three surveys on the CD-ROM, all questions are displayed and commented in the same order as on the questionnaires, and this for research comfort. In this summary, we have decided to group the data per theme and we only mention the most striking results. If you want to explore the figures more in depth, please consult the CD-ROM
During the Easter holidays, the students made a study trip to London as a part of their project and they have submitted 58 Londoners to the translated survey. We won't elaborate on that particular survey, because the number of respondents was too small, but you can find a report of this limited survey in England and a comparison with the Flemish situation on the CD-ROM.
Below, we will be discussing the three surveys. Next, we will draw a conclusion for each survey. Together with the students, we thought up a practical name for the entire research,. It became BOBA, which is the abbreviation for BeeldvormingsOnderzoek naar het Belang van Aantrekkelijkheid (Image formation research to the importance of attractiveness). We were the BOBA-team for the entire duration of the survey. You will see this name pop up several times in questionnaires and reports.

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