Brains On teamed up with the Science Museum of Minnesota, with funding from the National Science Foundation, to launch a groundbreaking study looking at how families use podcasts.

The goal was to explore who is listening to Brains On, why they were listening and what impacts listening had on their lives? We looked at things like how families choose which episode to listen to, where the listening happens, how families engage with the content while listening and what kids do with the information they learn.

Although this study focused on listeners of Brains On, we feel that a lot of the findings would be helpful for others looking to use podcasts as a fun, informal way to educate kids and families. There are plenty of insights here that could help creators design engaging and effective kids’ audio content.

The research was carried out in three phases.

PHASE 1: Analysis of Secondary Data (Click Here)

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. This analysis provided initial insight for other phases of the research in relation to who is listening to Brains On, why they listen, how they engage with the podcast, and potential impacts of listening.

PHASE 2: Listener Survey (Click Here)

Phase 2 was an online survey of Brains On! listeners, with a focus on understanding Brains On!’s core audience of kids ages 5 - 12. It explores demographics, motivations for listening and listening habits.

PHASE 3: Family Interviews (Click Here)

Phase 3 was group interviews with listener family groups that include members of the core audience. This is focused on understanding the breadth of impacts Brains On might have on listeners, from an increased awareness of science-related jobs to more instances of thinking in scientific ways. The interviews also helped to uncover what features of the podcast may play a role in leading to various science-related impacts.