Podcasting as research method? Safely connecting presumed vulnerable groups through the co-creation of an intergenerational podcast exploring the pandemic experiences of children, teens and older adults
Objectives: This project aims to develop podcast-making as a research method that both facilitates intergenerational connections and yields rigorous research, and to create a methodology for building a partnership leveraging the expertise of both academics and media professionals. This project is part of a larger mixed methods study investigating how children, teens and older adults experience the COVID‑19 pandemic in Canada and the USA.
Approach: Creating an intergenerational podcast is one of several pandemic-appropriate research methods used in the larger study. These methods, including journaling, interviews and surveys, are designed to foreground and connect children, teens and older adults, and to communicate their voices to key institutions whose interventions affect their lives. These data collection activities will inform the development of an intergenerational podcast. Like radio, the podcast is an intimate bridging medium that enables the boundaries of knowledge and context to be crossed, can be created by individuals sited at different locations, and has been used successfully to disseminate social science research findings to Canadian audiences (eg Crackdown). In a bridging activity, participants will work together to co-create a podcast; brainstorming questions, interviewing each other about their COVID‑19 experiences, reading journal excerpts, deciding which exchanges to include. Media professionals will contribute expertise in facilitating all stages of production – from identifying and answering production questions to coaching podcast participants to weaving together conversations into compelling narratives. Transcripts of the process will be used for research analyses. The ‘produced’ podcasts will be a research output disseminated widely to no-academic audiences.
Novelty & expected significance: Podcast creation as research method is innovative; it responds to calls to critically use methods that centre participants and facilite meaningful conversations. It brings people together in the production and distribution phases while safely maintaining physical distance – key considerations for research with potentially vulnerable populations in a pandemic. If proof of concept works, then the strategy of partnering with media professionals on a research project to create podcasts could be used to answer other questions in other parts of the world under conditions where research must be done without physical co-presence.