Brains On! Exploratory Research: Impacts of Listening to a Children’s Science Podcast

Wednesday, July 7, 2021
Resource Type:
Report | Reference Materials | Research and Evaluation Instruments | Interview Protocol
Environment Type: 
Media and Technology, Broadcast Media, Websites, Mobile Apps, and Online Media
Elementary School Children (6-10) | Middle School Children (11-13) | Pre-K Children (0-5) | Families | Museum/ISE Professionals | Scientists | Evaluators | Learning Researchers
Education and learning science | General STEM
Science Museum of Minnesota

The Brains On! exploratory research study was guided by three overarching research questions:

  1. Who is the audience for Brains On! and what are their motivations for listening to children’s science podcasts?
  2. How are Brains On! listeners using the podcast and engaging with its content?
  3. What kinds of impacts does Brains On! have on its audiences?

These questions were answered through a three-phase mixed-methods research design. Each phase informed the next, providing additional insights into answering the research questions. Phase 1 was a review of a sample of secondary data in the form of audience comments and feedback gathered by the Brains On! team and posted by listeners online. Phase 2 was an online survey of Brains On! listeners, with a focus on understanding Brains On!’s core audience of kids ages 5 to 12. Phase 3 was group interviews with listener family groups that included members of the core audience.

The Phase 3 interview findings described in this report provide insight into the breadth of impacts Brains On! might have on child listeners and the features of the podcast that may play a role in leading to those impacts. Since research and evaluation are lacking on the impacts associated with listening to children’s science podcasts, the Phase 3 study provides an important first step in documenting the types of impacts these experiences can have. We hope findings from the project will benefit the fields of ISE and public media by beginning to fill a gap in the current knowledge base around the potential for STEM-focused children’s podcasts to contribute to a wide range of ISE outcomes for children and families.

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Team Members

Amy Grack NelsonPrincipal Investigator
Choua HerChoua HerAuthor

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