There are many types of evaluations you can conduct to support your podcast project. Each type has its own purpose. Here we discuss three common types of evaluation that can inform your podcasting efforts: formative, process and summative evaluation.
Formative evaluation involves the collection of information to support the development of (a plan for) your podcast. If you followed all the steps, you’ve already carried out a lot activities that can be considered part of a formative evaluation. For instance, by investigating the topics that are of meaningful to your target audience and the ways in which a podcast can support a meaningful discussion about them. You have also asked people for their feedback to support the development of your podcast, for example after drafting a podcast script and recording your first episode.
A process evaluation examines the implementation of your podcast plan. Is it implemented as intended and are you reaching your target audience? This type of evaluation can also be used to explore how your podcast is received by listeners. The information you obtain during a process evaluation can help explain the results of a summative evaluation.
A summative evaluation can be conducted to assess what has been achieved as a result of your podcasting initiative. What changes does your podcast bring about in the audience, and how do these changes relate to the objectives that you have formulated in advance?
In practice, summative evaluations are often carried out when a project or initiative is (almost) completed. In that case, one can only say something about the effects that people perceive. You cannot truly conclude whether those effects can actually be attributed to your podcasting activities. Conducting a pre and post measurement can help you gain insight into actual effects. For instance, you can submit a group of people to the same survey before (pre measurement) and after (post measurement) they have listened to the podcast, and subsequently analyse what has changed.. If you want to be able to state with more certainty that changes have been brought about due to the podcast, you can perform the same measurements with a group that does not listen to the podcast (control group) and compare the results.