Topic 4 Methods of collecting data

What methods will you use for your evaluation?
When you have formulated answers to the previous questions, it is useful to think about how you want to evaluate. How do you collect and analyse the information you need? There are many different evaluation methods that you could use. Some examples are surveys, interviews, and focus group discussions. What is unique about podcasting is that you can also use podcast analytics and listener comments. We will come back to this later. Which evaluation methods are most suitable depends largely on the answers you have given to the previous questions.

Quantitative or qualitative methods?
As a general rule, if you need numerical information about what people think or do or want to make statements about concrete effects or larger groups, you will need a quantitative method. A well-known example of a quantitative method is a survey. For example, you could use a survey to investigate listeners’ satisfaction with your podcast or to determine whether the podcast has the intended effect. Online you can find several tools that let you create a simple survey for free, including Microsoft Forms, Google Forms, SurveyMonkey, and Qualtrics. Sometimes they also have a paid version with more functionality.

If you are interested in why people think or do something, qualitative methods such as interviews or focus group discussions are often more suitable. This involves conducting intensive (group) interviews with a limited number of respondents. Among other things, conducting interviews or group discussions can help you gain a deeper understanding of why listeners are (not) satisfied with your podcast or why they feel it is useful or beneficial to them. Another example of a qualitative method, is a literature study. Which can help to uncover existing knowledge about a topic. Quantitative and qualitative methods are not mutually exclusive. On the contrary, they can complement each other in important ways. That is why a combination is often recommended.

Podcast analytics
Unique to podcasting is that you can use podcast analytics to collect information. Hosting platforms and podcast directories offer podcast creators the opportunity to view various listener metrics. These statistics can give you a general idea of how your podcast is being received and who your listeners are.

For example, most hosting platforms provide insight into how often your podcast is downloaded and where your listeners are located. Often, they also show through which directories and channels your podcast is downloaded. Directories such as Spotify, Apple Podcast or Google Podcast typically offer more information, but only do this for their own service. For example, they can give information on how often your podcast is played, how many unique listeners and followers you have, what the average listening time of your audience is and how they rate your podcast. Sometimes they also provide more insight into your listeners. For instance, on Spotify you can analyse listeners by age and gender.

What types of metrics will be interesting for you in evaluating your podcast? Please write your answer at the end of this Topic, Activity 2

It is important to understand that listener statistics also have various shortcomings. Among other things, the metrics offered by different platforms are not always comparable. They do not always measure the same aspects or may use different measurement methods. It may also not be clear how they measure in the first place. In addition, listening statistics ultimately tell you little about how your podcast affects the audience. For example, a ‘like’ does not necessarily mean that your podcast also had an impact on what a listener thinks or believes about a topic.

Analysing listener comments
Listener comments may also provide interesting insights. As mentioned before, many platforms offer the opportunity to post written reactions to podcasts and to share their experiences. It can give you a sense of how your podcast is being received by the audience. You may also learn something about the impact it is having on people. It is good to keep in mind that the reactions most likely only represent a small and specific part of the audience.

If you want to go deeper into evaluation methods and techniques, this is a good place to start: Better Evaluation

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