Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Media and Communication


Professor David Morrison

Emeritus Professor of Communications Research

Clothworkers' Building North, 2.12

B.A., Hull, M.A., Ph.D., Leicester

For more information on me, my work and publications see my website

David E. Morrison


David graduated with a BA from the University of Hull, an MA from the University of Leicester, and awarded his doctorate for his biographical study of Paul Lazarsfeld. This was later published in amended form and added to with a treatise on focus group research. (The Search for a Method 1998,) Robert  Merton, wrote: ‘A remarkable achievement ‒ this is the most deeply informed volume on its twin subjects that I know of’ (Merton 23/6/2002) Merton, the originator of focus groups at the Bureau of Applied Social Research in 1941, wrote of David’s (and McGregor) methodological work developing focus groups, ‘your concept of editing groups and the research procedures you have begun to develop strike me as a distinct advance well beyond  the point  reached  by the ‘Bureau’. (Merton 18/4/95)

David’s empirical work has covered an extremely wide range of social issues. His work on social movements had the social geographer Jacquelin Burgess consider that the ‘the seminal work in the field was done by Lowe and Morrison 1984’ and  anticipated  much of  the subsequent debate about the role of pressure groups and the ‘primary definers of claim makers’ (Burgess 1993).

David’s last major book, Media & Values (2007) based on his work over the years, led Paddy Scammel to correctly identify It as ‘clearly a cumulative critical assessment of the implications of research going back to the sixties’ and judged ‘it’s intellectual scope astonishing. A major piece of work’

David was made Professor in 1999 by the University of Leeds and retired in 2010 as Professor Emeritus.

Research Interests

  • History of social research.
  • Methodological development.
  • Audience research on social issues.
  • The Media and construction of values.
  • Communications and technology.
  • Public service broadcasting and media regulation.
  • History of social research, especially understanding the audience and the idea of the individual.



  • Coleman S, Anthony S, Morrison DE (2009). Public trust in the news: a constructivist study of the social life of the news. Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, University of Oxford.

  • Morrison DE, Kieran ML, Svennevig M, Ventress SA (2007). Media and Values: Intimate Transgressions in a Changing Moral and Cultural Landscape. Intellect.

  • Morrison D (2000). In Search of an Understanding: Administrative Communications Research and Focus Groups in Practice. John Libby Media/ULP.

  • Morrison DE, Macgregor BD, Svennevig M, Firmstone J (1999). Defining Violence: The Search for Understanding. University of Luton Press.

  • Morrison DE (1998). The Search for a Method: Focus Groups and the Development of Mass Communication Research. University of Luton Press.

  • Morrison DE, Taylor PM, Ramachandaran S (1996). Media, Guerre e Pace. Edizioni Gruppo Abele.

  • Morrison DE (1992). Television and the Gulf War. Academia Research Monograph 7. John Libbey.

  • Barnett S, Morrison DE (1989). The Listener Speaks: The Radio Audience and the Future of Radio. London HMSO.

  • Morrison DE, Tumber H (1988). Journalists at War: The Dynamics of News Reporting during the Falklands Conflict. .

  • Docherty D, Morrison DE, Tracey M (1988). Keeping Faith? Channel Four and its Audience. John Libbey.

  • Docherty D, Morrison DE, Tracey M (1987). The Last Picture Show? Britain's Changing Film Audiences. London BFI Publishing.

  • Morrison DE (1986). Invisible Citizens: British Public Opinion and the Futrue of Broadcasting. John Libby, London.

  • Tracey M, Morrison DE (1979). Whitehouse. Macmillan Press.

Journal articles

  • Coleman S, Morrison DE, Anthony S (2012). A CONSTRUCTIVIST STUDY OF TRUST IN THE NEWS. Journalism Studies. 13(1), 37-53.
    DOI: 10.1080/1461670X.2011.592353

  • Morrison DE (2010). Manuel Alvarado: The missing person. Television and New Media. 11(6), 471-473.
    DOI: 10.1177/1527476410383700

  • Morrison DE (2009). Cultural and Moral Authority: The Presumption of Television. ANN AM ACAD POLIT SS. 625, 116-127.
    DOI: 10.1177/0002716209338351

  • Coleman S, Morrison DE, Svennevig M (2008). New media and political efficacy. International Journal of Communication. 2, 21-21.

  • Morrison DE, Millwood Hargrave A (2007). The Meaning and Definition of Violence. International Journal of Media and Cultural Politics. 3(3), 289-305.
    DOI: 10.1386/macp.3.3.289_1

  • Morrison DE, Svennevig M (2007). The defence of public interest and the intrusion of privacy: journalists and the public. Journalism: Theory, practice and criticism. 8(1), 44-65.
    DOI: 10.1177/1464884907072420

  • Morrison D (2006). The Influences Influencing Personal Influence: Scholarship and Entrepreneurship. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. 608, 51-76.

  • Morrison DE (2004). War and the media. EUR J COMMUN. 19(1), 116-118.

  • Morrison DE (2000). In Search of an Understanding: Administrative Communications Research and Focus groups in Practice. .

  • Morrison DE, Svennevig M, Kieran ML (2000). Privacy, the public and journalism: Towards an analytic framework. Journalism: Theory, practice and criticism. 1(2), 145-169.

  • Svennevig M, Morrison DE (2000). New Technology, Rationality and Identity. The Impacts of Information and Communication Technologies on Social Reality,. Tripodos(Extra edition), 257-272.

  • Morrison DE, Svennevig M (2000). A Monkey Looking at a Watch: Cultural Practice, Technology and Understanding Social Process. Convergence. 6(1), 72-83.

  • Morrison D (2000). Privacy, the Public and Journalism: towards an analytic framework. Journalism: Theory, Practice adn Criticism. 1(2), 145-171.

  • Morrison DE, Firmstone J (2000). The Social Function of Trust and Implications for E-commerce. International Journal of Advertising. , 599-623.

  • MacGregor B, Morrison DE (1995). From focus groups to editing groups: A new method of reception analysis. Media, Culture & Society. 17(1), 141-150.
    DOI: 10.1177/016344395017001009

  • Morrison D (1994). Journalists and the Social Construction of War. Contemporary Record. 8(2), 305-320.

  • Morrison D (1993). Scholarship of Silence. Journal of Communication. 43(3), 230-238.

  • Hallin DC, Herman ES, Chomsky N, Morrison DE, Tumber H, Justo Villafane EB, Prado E, Wagner-Pacifici RE (1992). Philip Schlesinger. Culture and power: a media, culture & society reader. 6, 293-293.

  • Docherty D, Morrison D (1991). Citizenship, morality and broadcasting. Management Research News. 14, 14-15.

  • Morrison D (1988). The Transference of Experience and the Impact on Ideas: Paul Lazarsfeld and Emigration. Communications. , 185-209.

  • Docherty D, Morrison DE, Tracey M (1986). The British Film Industry and the Declining Audience: Demythologizing the Technological Threat. Journal of Communication. 36(4), 27-39.
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1460-2466.1986.tb01448.x

  • Morrison D (1985). The Challenge of Change: teh British Film Industry in the 1980's. Media Perspekitiven. .

  • Morrison D (1985). Strangers in a Strange Land: The Foreign Correspondent in London. Meida Culture and Society. 7(4), 445-470.

  • Morrison D (1984). Bad News or Good News: Environment Politics and the Mass Media. In Lowe P (Ed.) Sociological Review. (32).

  • Morrison D (1978). Kultur and Culture: T. W. Adorno and P. F. Lazarsfeld. Social Research. 45(2), 331-355.

  • Morrison D (1978). The Begining of Modern Mass Communication Research. The European Journal of Sociology. , 347-359.

  • Morrison D (1976). Paul Lazarsfeld. The Austrian Journal of Sociology. 2(3), 7-9.


  • Morrison DE (2015). Morals and Methods: A Note on the Value of Survey Research. In Can the Media Serve Democracy?: Essays in Honour of Jay G. Blumler(109-118).
    DOI: 10.1057/9781137467928_10

  • Stamper J, Brants K (2011). A changing culture of political television journalism. In Political Communication in Postmodern Democracy: Challenging the Primacy of Politics(111-125).
    DOI: 10.1057/9780230294783

  • Coleman S, Morrison DE, Yates S (2011). The Mediation of Political Disconnection. (215-230).

    Author URL [gateway.webofknowledge.com]

  • Morrison D (2008). Opportunity Structures and the Creation of knowledge: Paul Lazarsfeld. In Media and Communictions Research()New York: Peter Lang.

  • Morrison DE (2008). Opportunity Structures and the Creation of Knowledge. Paul Lazarsfeld, and the Politics of Research. In Media Research and its Histories: New Perspectives on the Contested Memory of the Field()Peter Lang. (Submitted)

  • Morrison DE (2007). The Politics of Research: The Development and Non-Development of a Field. Paul Lazarsfeld, Success and Failure. In Park D & Pooley J (Ed.) Media Research and its Histories: New Perspectives on the Contested Memory of the Field()Peter Lang. (Submitted)

  • Morrison DE, Svennevig M (2003). Cultural and Social Change: Digital Technololgy and the Crisis of Confidence in a Fragmented World. In Ralph S, Manchester H & Lees C (Ed.) Diversity or Anarchy?(10, 246-262) Current Debates in Broadcasting. University of Luton Press.

  • Morrison DE, Svennevig M (2002). From ‘Public Interest’ to ‘Social Importance’: The Public’s View of the Public Interest. In Tambini D & Heyward C (Ed.) Ruled by Recluses? Privacy, Journalism and the Media after the Human Rights Act(65-79)University of Luton Press.

  • Morrison DE (2001). The Historical Development of Empirical Social Research: The Institutionalisation of Knowledge, its Relationship to the Media Industry and Benefits to History. In Roberts G & Taylor PM (Ed.) The Historian, Television and Television History(9-24)University of Luton Press.

  • Morrison D (2001). Technology, Beliefs & Social Change. In ed SL (Ed.) Access Denied(125-139)London Macmillan.

  • Morrison D (2001). The Late Arrival of Television Research: A case Study in the Production of Knowledge. In ed HT (Ed.) Media Power, Professionals & Policies()London, Sage.

  • Svennevig M, Morrison DE (2001). The Process of Change: An Empirical Examination of the Uptake and Impact of New Technology. In Lax S (Ed.) Access Denied in the Information Age(125-139)Palgrave.

  • Morrison DE, Svennevig M, Firmstone J (1999). The Social Consequences of Communications Technologies in the United Kingdom. In Boyce R (Ed.) The Communications Revolution at Work: The Social, Economic and Political Impacts of Technological Change(1, 57-82)McGill-Queen's University Press, Montreal, Canada.

  • Svennevig M, Morrison DE (1998). Values in Broadcasting: research report. In Ralph S, Brown JL & Lees T (Ed.) What Price Creativity?(7, 27-39) Current Debates in Broadcasting. University of Luton Press.

  • Morrison D (1994). Information, Knowledge and Journalisic Prcedure: Reporting the War in the Falklands. In Hamelink C & eds OL (Ed.) Mass Communications Research: On Problems and Policies. The ARt of Asking the Right Questions(211-226)Ablex.

  • Morrison D (1993). Anziety, War and Children: The role of television. In MacHregor B (Ed.) Desert Storm and the Mass Media (eds)(353-363)B.S. Greenberg and W. Gantz Hampton Press.

  • Morrison D (1993). The Idea of Violence. In Violence in Factual Television ed(124-128)A Millwood-Hargrave, London, John Libbey.

  • Morrison D (1993). Detailed Findings from Editing Groups. In MacGregor S2WB (Ed.) Violence in Factual Television(27-87)Annual Review of the BSC. ed. A. Millwood-Hargrave, London, John Libbey.

  • Morrison D (1992). Homosexuals and Television. In ed AM-H (Ed.) Sex and Sexuality in Braodcasting(87-91)London, John Libbey.

  • Morrison D (1990). The Place of Radio in British Life. In Masiques (Ed.) Radio Et Television(114-122)RTBF.

  • Morrison D (1987). The informal Control of Information: The Gathering of War News and the Identification with Sources. In eds WHTITVEA (Ed.) Peace and Communications(216-240)Univ. Par LA PAZ.

  • Morrison D (1985). Identification with Sources. In ed TV (Ed.) Media Contribution to World-wide Security and Peace(208-233)Report to the International Social Science Council, INESCO.

  • Morrison D (1984). The Government and Information in Time of War: The Falklands and the Media. In eds WHTIFBEA (Ed.) Confronting the Crisis: War, Politics and Culture(100-111)University of Essex.

  • Morrison D (1982). Paul Lazarsfeld and Institutional Innovation. In ed KS (Ed.) The Historical Development of Social Science(81-102)Tokyo, Shiya Publishing Co.

  • Morrison D (1980). Beyond Excstasy: Sex and Moral Protests. In Armytage WMT, Chester R & Peal J (Ed.) Changing Patterns of Sexual Behaviour(1-13)Academic Press.

  • Morrison D (1977). The Politics of Moral Prtoest: American Theory and British Practice. In Dhavan MTI & Davies (Ed.) Censorship adn Obscenity()Martin Robertson.

  • Morrison D (1975). Philanthropic Foundations and the Production of Knowledge. In al KE (Ed.) Determinants and Controls of Scientific Knowlege(367-402)Holland, Reidel Publishing Co.

  • Morrison D Britain and the Media in the Gulf War. In ed PC (Ed.) Contemporary Britain: An Annual Review 1992(117-131)Oxford, Blackwell Publishers (with Philip M. Taylor).

  • Morrison D Opportunity Structures and the Creation of Knowledge. In Park DW & Pooley J (Ed.) The History of Media adn Communication Research(179-205)Paul Lazarsfeld.


  • Svennevig M, Morrison DE (2002). The Public Interest, The Media, and Privacy. .

    Joint Commission: BBC. BSC, ICSTIS, ITC, IPPR, Radio Authority

  • Morrison DE, Svennevig M (2002). The Publics Understanding of the Idea of Public Service Broadcasting. .

  • Morrison DE (2002). Children’s Interpretation of Food Advertising. .

  • Morrison DE (1998). Definitions of Violence. .

  • Morrison DE, Kieren M, Svennevig M (1997). Regulating for Changing Values. .

  • Morrison DE (1993). The Viewer's View of Violence: Attitudes to Violence in Relation to Television Guidelines. .

  • Morrison DE, MacGregor B (1993). Viewer's Response to Violence in Non-Fictional Programmes. .

  • Morrison DE, Conor M (1993). Bias in Television: Viewers' Understanding. .

  • Morrison DE (1992). Conversations with Voters (a panel study of 1992 General Elections). .

  • Morrison DE (1992). Attitudes to Sex and Sexuality Among Homosexual Men and Women. .

  • Morrison DE (1992). The Role of Radio 1 in People's Lives. . (Submitted)

  • Morrison DE (1991). Viewers' Attitudes to Television Coverage of the Gulf War: Findings from Group Discussion. .

  • Morrison DE, Lyon A (1991). Perceptions of the Gulf War Among Children. .

  • Morrison DE, Svennevig M (1991). Public Opinion on Coverage of the Gulf War. .

  • Morrison DE, Barnett S (1988). Clearing the Airwaves: The Audience and Radio in Britain. .

  • Morrison DE, Cumberbatch G (1986). Television and the Miners' Strike. .

  • Morrison DE, Docherty D (1985). Community Radio: The People Talk. .

  • Morrison DE (1981). The Audience's Response to Radio: A Panel Study of Reactions to Environmental Broadcasting. .

  • Morrison DE (1978). A comparative study of BBC Radio 1 and Capital Radio. .

Thesis / Dissertations

  • Morrison DE Paul Lazarsfeld: The Biography of an Institutional Innovator: a Thesis Submitted for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

PhD Thesis

Paul Lazarsfeld: The Biography of an Institutional Innovator


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