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WeAreSTS: preparing for an interview

WeAreSTS is an interview-based podcast. This page provides information for interviewees about the process and outlines our production.

“We Are STS” is a podcast created for UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies. It is hosted and produced by Professor Joe Cain, UCL Professor in History and Philosophy of Biology. Interviewers include staff and students in STS.

About “We Are STS”

This podcast aims to answer some simple questions:

  • what is STS?
  • how is STS relevant to me?
  • what are recent research findings in the field?
  • what good is STS for my career plans?
  • what do I study when I choose STS at UCL?

Individual episodes will be one of several types:

  1. regular episodes are primarily one-to-one interviews with members of the STS community about a research subject or a topic of recent interest. The format is conversational
  2. bonus episodes document STS activities, such as research seminars, special lectures, special events, admissions tutors, and process sessions supporting our recruitment. Bonus episodes also will include student-produced projects
  3. careers episodes are interviews with STS alumni about their life after university and about the value of their degree for that life

Our overall aim is to produce a high-quality podcasting programme to:

  1. support recruitment into our degree programmes by demonstrating the depth and breadth of STS as a subject for hungry minds and people who want to make a difference
  2. amplify dissemination for projects undertaken by STS staff and students
  3. support student work experience and portfolio development

“We Are STS” targets two core audiences:

  1. primary audience:
    secondary school teachers in supporting subjects
  2. secondary audience:
    prospective UGT applicants (16-17 year olds in UK and overseas),
    prospective study abroad applicants,
    prospective PGT applicants (mid 20-year-olds and post-career; UK and overseas)

Participating in an interview

Thank you for agreeing to an interview for the podcast. This section provides some explanation and guidance to help.

preparation

The interviewer will make arrangements for speaking with you. You can expect them to:

  1. agree a time for the interview
  2. agree a subject for the interview
  3. offer to send you indicative questions or themes for the interview
  4. describe how the interview will be recorded
    -if in person - the location for the recording
    -if online - the contact details and anything you need to do on your end of the line

Interviewers will want to use up-to-date biographical information about you, so it will be helpful to direct them towards good sources and away from inaccurate or out-of-date sources. You also might wish to draw their attention towards any new material you’d like to highlight, such as a new publication or project.

All interviews are voluntary. No payments or honoraria are offered. Where travel is approved prior to the interview, expenses will be reimbursed in line with UCL policies.

during the interview

The interviewer will be your guide through the recorded interview.

Please feel free to:

  • ask for a break
  • ask for the opportunity to rephrase a comment
  • ask to have a comment disregarded
  • ask for a copy of the full recorded interview for your own purposes

You can expect the interviewer to be explicit as to when they are recording and when they are not recording. If you want to stop a recording, simply ask the interview to “STOP”. You do not need to give an explanation, and this is not something an interviewer will challenge.

The views of our academic experts and other guests in WeAreSTS are their own. “We Are STS” follows the UCL Code of Practice on Free Speech. UCL regards the right to debate and challenge ideas as fundamental to the nature of a university and is committed to ensuring that free and open discussion can take place in an atmosphere of tolerance as part of that Code of Practice.

You can expect the interviewer to identity any potential concerns arising during your interview. If you have any questions, please ask. The UCL Code of Practice for External Speakers also applies to our podcasts.

Consent

WeAreSTS respects your rights as an interviewee. For instance, we won’t use recorded material without your consent. You consent to an interview when you participate in that interview. You consent to participation in a recording when you continue an interview after explicit notice it is being recorded.

You may withdraw your consent at any time during the recording process. Simply ask for the recording to “STOP”. You do not need to give an explanation.

You also may withdraw your consent for us to broadcast your interview. This is possible at any time after the interview is complete until the time it is sent for distribution. You simply need to communicate this to the interviewer, or to the show’s producer.

If you would like to hear the edited episode prior to broadcast, please make this known to the interviewer explicitly. This is to avoid any doubt.

After an episode is distributed, it is not possible to ensure it is removed from online services. Should you have a concern after the episode has been distributed, please discuss this with the producer.

after the interview

Material for “programme notes”

Shortly after your interview, the interviewer will make contact asking for material that might be included in programme notes for the episode. These written notes are distributed as part of the podcast and typically include references made in the discussion or offer supplemental material. Our programme notes also include biographical material for the interviewees. These notes are a single, simple text file without attachments but can include links.

Editing

Recorded interviews never reach broadcast without editing of some kind. Editing normally considers:

  • sound quality: noise reduction, removal of extraneous sounds, adjusting levels
  • pace and density: removal of gaps in voices, removal of false starts and miscues
  • content: selection of relevant content within the time constraints of the episode

In exceptional cases, editing may involve re-ordering the sequence of topics or re-recording interviewer questions. To ensure veracity, the interviewer will need to justify decisions of this kind to the producer.

The final version of the interview will be packaged into an episode of “We Are STS” at the discretion of the producer.

Transcription

We transcribe each episode. Your interviewer may contact you to clarify specific terminology. Transcripts are distributed with each episode.

Storage

STS stores files from interviews for “We Are STS”. We archive complete interview recordings (unedited) as well as broadcast versions. We also archive materials collected for preparation, including publicly available biographical materials and any materials you provide to the interviewer for their work. Materials are stored indefinitely for the purposes of auditing and any later review that may be required. These are treated as confidential. Interviews will not be re-used in programmes later without explicit consent of the interviewee.

Feedback and Complaints

We collect listener feedback and analytics for each episode. When listener feedback is germane and constructive, we will share it with our interviewees.

The producer welcomes feedback about your experience with interviewers and about the show. “WeAreSTS” is discussed by an advisory board, which is listed on the site.

We should be able to provide episode-relevant analytics with interviewees on request.

Should you have a complaint related to your interview or the episode in which it appears, you should raise this with the show’s producer in the first instance. If you remain unsatisfied, you should raise the matter with the Heads of Department for UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies, Professor Jon Agar and Professor Emma Tobin.