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Podcastlytteren som hverdagskurator: En undersøgelse af podcastlytning som praksisfænomen i hverdagen

Research output: Book/anthology/dissertation/reportPh.D. thesisResearch

Streaming and on demand media usage is becoming increasingly widespread these years as the media gradually have become digitalised. As an on demand medium the podcast entails a particularly large liberty of choice, since the podcast listener (theoretically) is confronted by an almost endless range of programmes to choose from: old and new, from amateurs and professionals, with divergent topics and genres, from home and from abroad, and all for free. This makes the podcast a very illuminating point of departure for studying on demand media usage and the practices of content selection tied to it: the podcast listener actually has this almost unconstrained freedom of choice in which she is both empowered and compelled to make her own decision on the level of specific content - and to select, not just channels, but specific programmes and episodes out of many available.
Furthermore, the podcast is a mobile medium and with its auditory quality it can be employed in many diverse everyday situations and contexts, since it only occupies the sense of hearing while the rest of the body can be engaged in other parallel activities.

A study that enquires into the situations in which podcasts are used by this self-directed and unregulated podcast listener – and, not least, how and why - would then not only enable a unique under- standing of podcast listening as a practice, but it would also provide a sociological insight into the everyday lives of the podcast listeners and how this life is carried out and managed by using the podcast medium as a sort of media instrument for this purpose.
With the research project that this PhD dissertation is based on, I decided to do exactly that: to enquire into the everyday practices with and experiences and functions of the podcast medium in an everyday life setting; podcast listening as a practice phenomenon. The project was guided by the following research questions:

− RQ1 - Practices: What characterises podcast listening as a practice? How is the podcast medium used and in which situations and contexts?
− RQ2 – Motivation, selection and function: How are podcasts selected by the listeners, what motivates their choices, and which functions is the podcast content hereby given in an everyday life setting?
− RQ3 – Contextually embedded experiences: What characterises the listening expe- rience of the podcast listener, the mode of listening, and the relation between content, listener, and the physical surroundings of this experience?

In terms of methodology, the research project is comprised of a comprehensive qualitative empirical study of 25 podcast listeners’ uses and experiences of podcasts in their particular everyday lives: 13 in-depth interviews, 9 listening diaries with weekly assignments, and one workshop with 3 participants, in which the informants were asked to build models out of LEGO bricks as a basis for conversations about podcasts.
I have generally proceeded openly and exploratively in the empirical data collection and I have taken an inductive approach informed by hermeneutic phenomenology and inspired by grounded theory. I have also applied creative methods in my research as the informants have been encouraged to express their experiences in non-traditional manners: e.g. they have been drawing sketches and taking pictures of their listening environments, they have made podcast-inspired recordings, they have built LEGO models, and they have to a great extent accounted for their own perspectives by using metaphors.
The data processing and the process of analysis have also been based on an inductive approach, as I have taken my informants’ accounts as my starting point and used them as a precept for the focus and the execution of the analysis - and only after I had drafted the analysis outline did I start incorporating theoretical perspectives in order to qualify my empirical and analytical findings.

The PhD dissertation is structured in five parts:
Firstly, an introductory chapter in which the relevance of the study, the research questions, and the structure of the dissertation is outlined.
Secondly, a background chapter in which I place the research project in - and relate it to - relevant research fields: mainly research on podcast and podcasting, but the field of communication and media studies is also of great importance to the project.
Subsequently, the third chapter is a methodological one in which I present my scientific theoretical approach based on hermeneutic phenomenology by deducing from this a compi- lation of methodological principles that shaped my applied methods. Following this, I give an account of these applied methods and the ideas and motives behind them.
The fourth chapter presents my empirical and analytical findings which are continually dis- cussed theoretically. The analysis chapter is additionally divided into four parts which com- prise the four main focus points of the analysis: podcast listening as a practice, experiences of listening to podcasts, the main functions of the podcast medium in everyday life, and the podcast perceived as a medium with particular qualities and affordances, that permeates the practices and experiences of its users.
The fifth and final chapter consists of concluding remarks, an outline of the main findings of the research project, and suggestions for future research on podcast listening.
Original languageDanish
Number of pages276
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 29 Apr 2020

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