Summative Evaluation of Earth & Sky NASA-Sponsored Radio Shows

September 1st, 2008 | EVALUATION

In the previous three years, 144 90-second Earth & Sky radio shows have been produced under sponsorship of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The impact of these shows was explored with a posttest-only experimental design comparing a treatment group that listened to nine daily NASA shows focused on the topic of Antarctica and a control group that listened to nine daily non-NASA shows about whales. Participants were randomly assigned to groups, which did not differ on the variables of gender, age, ethnicity, education, frequency of hearing Earth & Sky, and interest in hearing about current science news generally. Two-thirds of both groups ā€˜never hearā€™ Earth & Sky, so our study results generalize to adults who are interested in current science news but who are mostly not familiar with E&S programming. The study reveals that the NASA Earth & Sky shows are very appealing and understandable and significantly increase listenersā€™ knowledge of Antarctica and the impact of climate change. Listening to the Antarctica shows significantly increased listenersā€™ knowledge of the topic when compared to the control group, who did not listen to these shows. Additionally, listeners were significantly more likely than the control group to report that it is most important for people to know that what happens in Antarctica impacts the whole planet. Listeners also recalled the scientific methods used, including satellite data (44%) and observations of changes in animal life (24%). One-third of listeners reported sharing show information with others after listening, and one-quarter searched out more information about a topic that they heard in the E&S shows. For a 90-second daily radio show exposure, this is a strong impact on post-listening behavior.



Team Members

Barbara Flagg, Evaluator, Multimedia Research


Funding Source: NASA


Audience: Evaluators | General Public | Museum | ISE Professionals | Scientists
Discipline: Climate | Geoscience and geography | Life science | Nature of science
Resource Type: Evaluation Reports | Summative
Environment Type: Broadcast Media | Media and Technology | Websites | Mobile Apps | Online Media