Social Science Podcast Review: The Measure of Everyday Life

by | Aug 11, 2016 | Fun, Reviews

You may have seen my recent post about my favorite social science related podcasts.  In it I asked readers to tell me about their favorites.  One reader, David Roe, pointed me towards one that I had not yet found – the Measure of Everyday Life.  It is a production of WNCU Public Radio and is hosted by Brian Southwell.

THE MEASURE OF EVERYDAY LIFE Stories from Social Science

Typical Length:  30 minutes New Episodes:  Weekly (Wednesday) Historical Library on iTunes:  71 I love it.  While Brian’s pace can be a bit slow at times, the topics covered span a wide range of academic fields – but his guests are not all academics themselves.   He gets the experts, certainly, but he also approaches  the very practical hands-on side of social science.  In one episode, he talks with two researchers who are involved in implementing global research studies – and the conversation focuses on the practical aspects of how that is done in challenging cultural and political contexts. In the most recent release (titled Resilience), he dives into the topic of adverse childhood experiences – not through simply reporting research done on the topic – but by having a conversation with filmmaker James Redford about his recent documentary called Resilience, on the “biology of stress & the science of hope”. I’m an immediate fan – and am grateful for the suggestion from David that I check this one out.  I didn’t want to wait to share it with the rest of you. Do you have another favorite that you would like to see reviewed in the future?  Submit your favorite in the form below, and look for a future list/compilation of podcasts that are submitted!
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Currently, the FDA only regulates true direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic tests, which have no health care provider involved either before or after testing. Consumer-initiated, physician-mediated genetic tests are considered lab developed tests (LDTs), which currently do not require FDA oversight. 


Our Study Design

Our study was designed to simulate the experience of an everyday person who is considering doing a health-related genetic test. For this reason, we only reviewed website contents presented to a consumer before ordering a test. By limiting our data collection to pre-test content, instead of digging around or contacting the companies to fill in missing data points, gaps in public-facing information that consumers use to make ‘informed’ decisions were revealed.  

Also, while a genetic counselor supervised the project, a research assistant (RA) conducted most of the website investigations. The RA was familiar enough with genetics and genetic testing to understand and identify the information presented on the websites, but has not had the clinical exposure that might create bias from knowing how specific tests work “behind-the-scenes”. 


To Sum Up

We set out to understand the landscape of health-related consumer genomics testing from the public perspective. By limiting our research (by design) to public-facing pre-test website content, we could not complete our data collection as set out in the protocol. However, this uncovered an important observation: consumer genomics websites are highly variable in content, readability and ease of use. 

This begs the question, if we can’t find basic test information on a consumer genomics website, how does a consumer have enough information to make an informed choice about testing? 

Stay tuned for Part 2 in this series, where we will dig into our study findings and reveal our most interesting observations.  



As experts in FDA user comprehension studies for consumer genomics companies seeking 510(k) clearance, we are interested in how everyday people access and understand health content that is meant for them. If you need help optimizing your consumer-directed health communications, we’ve got the in-house expertise and experience to meet your needs. Let’s chat

About the Author

Scott D. Crawford

Scott D. Crawford is the Founder and Chief Vision Officer at SoundRocket. He is also often found practicing being a husband, father, entrepreneur, forever-learner, survey methodologist, science writer & advocate, and podcast lover. While he doesn’t believe in reincarnation, he’s certain he was a Great Dane (of the canine type) in a previous life.