Using Podcasts to create research impact


One of our goals at Charlesworth Author Services is to help you ensure that you get your message across in your papers and that your writing and content is memorable.



One way to do this is to broadcast about your work using podcasts, audio files perhaps released in an episodic series that can be downloaded and listened-on-demand by users.


Recording podcasts provides a great way to synthesise your work into bite-sized chunks for listeners who come from a range of backgrounds, some also academics and some not. Indeed, getting involved in podcasting will help you as a researcher to think about how to communicate your work to different audiences, a very valuable transferable skill and a new line on your resume.


What are the benefits of creating a Podcast? 


Talking about your research in the form of podcasts can help you to be more productive and achieve real world impact from your research. Podcasts from academic and research organisations are becoming increasingly varied, as universities and funding bodies invest more in diverse forms of dissemination in order to react to audience trends and interests.


It’s worth considering podcasting about your research because:


  • Podcasts help you maximise the impact and reach of your research;
  • Others are likely to find your work interesting, however ‘niche’ your topic;
  • You’ll gain valuable outreach and presentation experience;
  • You’ll learn new transferrable skills as part of professional development, and;
  • Podcasts are themselves research outputs and can be reported as such.



Podcasts and social media

Why not talk about your research, create a podcast, and then distribute the link using social media? This means you’ll engage with a wider audience than just your research network, colleagues and other workers who are already plugged into your outputs via the academic literature. Podcasts as a tool are also valuable because others get to hear about your work ‘in your own voice’, much more engaging that media articles or other kinds of writing like blogs. For this reason, podcasts have been likened to ‘fireside chats with researchers’. You, the expert, are able to talk about your work in a much more relaxed manner than possible in other forms of academic dissemination.


Research impact, after all, consists of reaching out to as many people as possible to tell them why your work is important and make a difference to their lives. Make sure you don’t confuse ‘research impact’ with ‘impact factor’, the measure by which journal readership is measured: As academics these days we are expected to do so much more than just write ‘impactful’ papers.


It’s ok to be niche, but think big

Research, by its nature, is often very specialised, very niche. That doesn’t mean you can’t seek out ways to broaden the appeal of your work, and podcasting offers one way to do this. Think about how your work relates to larger questions, the issues that people are about: Likely your research, or some component of it, has been funded by your national government and so the money comes from ordinary taxpayers. Broadcasting about your work therefore offers the chance to both ‘give something back’ but also forces you to think ‘how is my research impacting the lives of ordinary people’.



Podcasts as standalone research outputs

It’s important to remember that both your institution as well as any funding agencies you might be working with will be looking for evidence of diverse ‘research outputs’ derived from your work. As we’ve discussed, this means more than just ‘impactful papers’; any forms of outreach, including public engagement, that derive from your work are therefore extremely valuable and reportable. Funding agencies, for example, will be very interested in your research dissemination activities so make sure you keep records of when you broadcast and how many people listen. Our services can help with pre-recording audio abstracts to associate with research papers, or you can just use the audio-record option in PowerPoint (one useful way to practice your podcasting style!).


Can’t wait to get started?

Convinced that starting an academic podcast is for you? Here’s a few things to think about before you get started:


  • Do you have a theme or topic to talk about? If launching a series, you’ll want to make sure you have enough content, themes, and ideas to produce consistently over, say, a few months as you grow your audience;


  • What sort of schedule are you going for? Once a week? Once a month? How will you format the podcast and how will you release it?


  • Who is the audience going to be? Just like writing an academic paper, you’ll need to decide this in advance, before you get started putting your content together. 


  • Your online presence: will you, for example, need a website or can you link to your existing research page? How will you share your podcast on existing social media accounts?



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