Learning about Research and Research Methods through Podcasts

Research methods: There is so much to love about them, for example that they can guide you in a systematic way to find an answer to your research question. Being a lecturer in Web Science and Media Informatics, I know that for students encountering research methods for the first time, it can be quite overwhelming. Research approaches and methods are often presented in a quite abstract or brief way, especially when you read articles published in conference proceedings where the authors have to adhere to the page limitations. There are many excellent books on research methods, e.g., Successful Qualitative Research: A Practical Guide for Beginners by Braun & Clarke. In addition to reading books, I think a quite fun way to learn about research studies, their design, the used methods, and the findings is to listen to researchers talking about it in podcasts. So here are some of my favourites:

Podcast: You Are Not So Smart by David McRaney

One of my favorite Podcasts is You Are Not So Smart (YANSS) by David McRaney. In his blog and podcast, he explores “self delusion” and the central theme of his podcast is “that you are unaware of how unaware you are”. In the very first episode, he talks about “attention” and interviews Daniel Simons, who is one of the researchers behind the Monkey Business Illusion. I just love to listen to the researchers explaining what happened behind the scenes, what motivated them, how they set up their experiments or studies, their rationales behind it, and eventually what they found.

The podcast is really great and I personally learned a lot about many phenomena. Take for example the backfire effect (episode 93-95; and the recently released episode 120), which is highly relevant in relation to “fake news” and other issues we are facing in our society. I listened to all episodes of YANSS by now and highly recommend to start with the first episode. By listening to YANSS, you not only learn about specific aspects of certain phenomena, but also increase your general knowledge about research, research methods, the language researchers use to explain what they do (i.e., the specific terms used), how a research design might be set up, things to consider and so on.

Podcast: Research in Action by Katie Linder

The Research in Action (RIA) podcast (also on Twitter) from Oregon State University is hosted by Dr. Katie Linder. In the first RIA episode, Katie interviewed Dr. Wendy Belcher, who is probably most famous for her book “Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success”. The tips in the podcast on productive writing are very useful and inspiring. In another episode, she interviewed Dr. John W. Creswell, who wrote several books on research methods, such as Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design: Choosing Among Five Approaches as well as Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches. Katie Linder also hosts another podcast on “higher education professionals looking to increase their confidence & capacity for juggling day-to-day demands” (check it out here).

Podcast: Everything Hertz by Dan Quintana and James Heathers

I recently came across the Everything Hertz podcast which is described as “A podcast by scientists, for scientists. Methodology, scientific life, and bad language. Co-hosted by Dr. Dan Quintana and Dr. James Heathers”. I listened to episode 46, because here they interview Andy Field. Andy is the author of the “Discovering Statistics” textbook series and – no kidding – a science fiction novel on statistics. The latter is on my pile of books I want to read for far too long:

As Andy Field says in the podcast, everyone has to find the resources that speaks to them. So his books may not be for you; I personally like his writing style and used his books when preparing my lecture on research methods. So whatever you choose, as soon as you start reading research papers, books on research methods, or listening to podcasts talking about research, you might realize that there is a lot to think about before carrying out a study. In line with David McRaney’s theme: You don’t know, what you don’t know. So why not give it a try and start making use of those podcasts?


Featured Image by Neil Godding on Unsplash

This post originally appeared in a slightly different form on the Web Science Blog.

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