In this post, Nadege Atkins, member of the Usher Network for COVID-19 Evidence Reviews and project leader of its podcast initiative, discusses the production of UNCOVER’s first-ever podcast series, funded by the Student Partnership Agreement. The podcast aims to introduce listeners to UNCOVER, and to serve as a learning resource for student researchers. This post is part of the Student Partnership Agreement 2022 Hot Topic.
On the 24th of January 2022, Nadege Atkins, Eldad Agyei-Manu, and Udani de Silva, all members of the Usher Network for COVID-19 Evidence Reviews (UNCOVER), were awarded a Student Partnership Agreement funding award by the Institute for Academic Development. Our project, titled ‘UNCOVER Podcast’, aimed to provide an insight into UNCOVER’s work, and novice researchers with guidelines on how to successfully conduct evidence reviews.
We initially scoped available literature on creating a podcast. The findings from our literature scoping showed that there were ten major steps involved in creating an effective podcast, which included: developing a podcast concept (e.g., goals and themes), choosing a podcast format (e.g., interview, scripted fiction), and choosing podcast software (e.g., Zoom, Audacity). For further assistance on how a podcast should be created, we consulted with members of the Teaching Matters podcast, Jenny Scoles and Eric Berger. The members of Teaching Matters were delightful, and agreed to collaborate with us in creating our UNCOVER podcast series. This collaboration facilitated learning because, with Eric’s assistance, Nadege (our team leader) was able to learn the full process involved in creating a podcast using the free editing software, Audacity.
Thulani Ashcroft, Madhurima Nundy, and Udani de Silva, all alumni of The University of Edinburgh and student members of UNCOVER, along with Ruth McQuillan, Neneh Rowa-Dewar, and Marshall Dozier, members of UNCOVER’s core team, agreed to be featured guests of the podcast. The podcast sessions were held via Zoom on Tuesday May 3rd and Wednesday May 4th, 2022. Nadege also participated in a solo podcast session on May 10th, 2022. Eric, the interviewer, asked all the featured guests questions related to their experiences of working with UNCOVER.
Some of the key takeaways from the podcast sessions included:
- Working with UNCOVER is a truly rewarding experience;
- Benefits of working with UNCOVER include networking with researchers from various parts of the world and backgrounds, and enhancing skill sets;
- Some of the skills enhanced through UNCOVER work included decision making, team-working, leadership, and research skills;
- Challenges encountered whilst working with UNCOVER include working with individuals from different time zones, and having to complete reviews in a brief period of time;
- Good reviews are reviews that answer questions that have not already been answered and therefore reduce duplication, and they also contain a methodology that is transparent;
- Tips for conducting good reviews include scoping literature before developing research questions, and ensuring eligibility criteria are well developed.
In order to evaluate the project’s success, we conducted an online survey that was completed by listeners, and a focus group discussion with featured guests of the podcast.
Findings from the evaluation included:
- Listeners found the podcast easily accessible, and content covered valuable;
- Featured guests found the podcast was well organised, and that the interviewer, Eric, was very hospitable;
- Both listeners and featured guests made suggestions that the lengths of episodes 2 and 3 could have been reduced.
Although the UNCOVER Podcast project has come to completion, we have decided to continue creating podcast episodes in an effort to continue bringing exposure to UNCOVER’s work.
We would like to thank the Institute for Academic Development at The University of Edinburgh for awarding us with funding for our project, and in particular Dr Catherine Bovill. We would also like to thank Eric Berger and Jenny Scoles from the Teaching Matters podcast for assisting us in creating our podcast. Lastly, we would like to thank our supervisors Emilie McSwiggan, Ruth McQuillan, and Neneh Rowa-Dewar, all featured guests who willingly partook in the podcast sessions, and all listeners of the podcast.
Nadege Atkins is a 2021 Master’s in Public Health (Distinction) graduate of The University of Edinburgh. She currently serves as the youth representative on the National COVID-19 Management Board of her home country, St. Lucia, where she provides recommendations to the government on ways of managing the current COVID-19 pandemic. She is also a member of UNCOVER, where she works as a public health researcher on projects including that commissioned by the World Health Organization on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on influenza and RSV activity.