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Brains On! Research: Secondary Data Analysis Report

April 1, 2018 | Media and Technology

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 findings from the Phase 1 analysis were used in two ways: 1) To begin to inform the development of a model for the Brains On! podcast that will illustrate potential associations between podcast features and impacts for listeners. The model will be reviewed and built upon in each phase of the research. 2) To provide insight into the development of the instruments, the coding framework, and how we might interpret our findings in subsequent phases of the research, thus helping to increase the validity of our findings.

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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    Co-Principal Investigator
    Science Museum of Minnesota
  • REVISE logo
    Science Museum of Minnesota
  • Juan Dominguez
    Science Museum of Minnesota
  • Reba Isaak
    Science Museum of Minnesota
  • Citation


    Funding Program: AISL
    Award Number: 1713479
    Resource Type: Reference Materials
    Discipline: General STEM
    Audience: Elementary School Children (6-10) | Middle School Children (11-13) | Families | Museum/ISE Professionals | Evaluators | Learning Researchers
    Environment Type: Media and Technology | Broadcast Media | Websites, Mobile Apps, and Online Media

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