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Research Guides

Digital Storytelling

A guide that gets you started in the art of Digital Storytelling

How do I analyze or evaluate a podcast?

Here are some components to consider when you are analyzing podcasts. 

1. What type of podcast is this?

This is important to consider because:

  • News and documentary podcasts (just like news stories and documentaries) must follow certain codes and conventions so that accuracy and ethics are maintained
  • This would not necessarily be the case with theatrical or dramatic podcasts – which can be considered fiction. These types of podcasts have more freedom to play around with the truth for dramatic effect
  • News and documentary podcasts do not function in this way: they should be balanced, insightful, and objective on the subject that they are reporting on

2. Balance

A podcast, like a news story, should balance both sides of an argument in order to minimize bias. You can assess this by considering:

  • The length of time spent on each side of an issue
  • How multifaceted is the information that is being presented (various theories about an object being considered, versus just one theory only)

3. Bias

A podcast should be neutral. In order to assess bias:

  • Listen to the language of the narration as it is often chosen carefully
  • Can you learn anything about the narrator or the organization that they might be representing?

4. Subjectivity

Good podcasts should let the audience know and comprehend the personal feelings, tastes, and opinions of the podcaster(s) on an issue or subject.

  • Can you detect the podcaster’s feelings on the issue? How is this expressed? What effect does it have?

5. Opinion

In podcasts, opinions that the podcaster expresses should be balanced with facts. To see if your chosen podcast is doing this, focus on whether:

  • The podcaster is citing specific reasons that are based on verifiable facts
  • Use your critical thinking skills to assess whether the rationale behind opinions expressed (as well as opinions expressed by those they might interview)

6. Representation, Ethics, and Credibility

In order for a story to be ethical, the subject must be represented fairly. Ethical podcasts usually rely on interviews, facts, and information that is already available. Additionally, a credible podcast will use information from credible sources.

  • Is there any trace of this in the podcast you are analyzing? How do you know?
  • Can you verifying the facts that the podcaster is presenting
  • What sources of information is the podcaster using?
  • Remember: the tricky part about credibility with a personal interview is that human sources may not recall exact details or possibly even lie. A good podcast presents these interviews impartially and closely analyzes their content to present an objective story.

Adapted from Lumen's Writing 102 - How to Analyze a Podcast - Authored by Marc Watkins; Provided by DWR: CC BY-SA


Analyzing Podcasts - Additional Components

Additional components to consider when evaluating (or creating) a podcast

  1. Central Idea and content
  1. Are the main ideas defined and clearly understood?
  2. Is it easy to understand the information that the podcaster is trying to convey?
  3. Does the podcaster explore the key ideas promised in the outset?


  1. Audience

Good podcasters know who their audience is, know what they are looking for, and how content can unify their audience.

  1. Is there a clear indication of who the audience of your particularly chosen podcast is?
  2. How do you know this?


  1. Podcast Structure

A well designed podcast is usually very intentional about structure.

  1. Is there an inherent structure to the podcast you are analyzing, and if so, can you describe it?
  2. How does create meaning for the audience?


  1. Authenticity

This is an element that is difficult to quantify but is often a key character in how effective a podcast can be.

  1. Does the podcaster seem engaged with the material in an authentic way? How is this expressed?
  2. What impact does the tone have of the effectiveness of the podcast?

        5. Regularity

Good podcasts tend to come out on a regular basis.

  1. Does this podcast adhere to a specific, regular schedule?
  2. How does this contribute to engagement

Adapted from "5 Elements of a Good Podcast," by Peter Thomson for Learn G2