Using iTunes as a Research Tool

The first thing most people think of when iTunes is mentioned is music. After thinking about it, many people will associate podcasts with iTunes but will they think of using iTunes as an information source or as an educational tool? Probably not.

So what’s in the  iTunes store?

  • One of the first demonstrations I saw of iTunes resources was a vodcast (podcast with video) to demonstrate how colored lights can combine to create white light. (Dr. Carlson’s Science Theater episode) Searching the iTunes store for anatomy turns up a variety of podcasts – including those related to the TV show, Gray’s Anatomy. iTunes U has several anatomy courses available for free. For the serious anatomy student, there are several down-loadable apps (varying prices) to assist with learning human anatomy.
  • In the area of math, searching the term ‘geometry’ turns up a variety of podcasts including several video podcasts. iTunes U turns up several courses including one on Sketchup.
  • The obvious resource in the iTunes store for literature is audio books, including some free ones. A search for the term ‘scarlet letter’ turns up several books for purchase, a down-loadable free version and a couple of iTunes U courses. The apps section includes several tutorials including a down-loadable version of Cliff’s Notes (at a low price).
  • For the social scientists, there are a variety of resources available on iTunes including primary sources. Many historical speeches can be downloaded from iTunes – some for free and some for a small cost. There’s also an abundance of podcasts and courses (iTunes U) on American history. The vintage commercials posted by Duke on iTunes U are a unique resource.
  • For the foreign language student, there are podcasts, free courses and several apps to help in learning a new language.
  • Several TV chefs have podcasts for beginner cooks to gourmet cooks.
  • For the auto buff, I searched the term ‘carburetor’ and found a couple of podcasts. Under TV, there’s a program called ‘Carburetors, Air Conditioners, Sugar’.
  • For the woodworker, a search of the term ‘lathes’ turns up a video podcast on woodworking.
  • For the artist, there is probably an abundance of resources on iTunes. Searching the term ‘painting’ turns up a variety of iTunes U, podcasts – many of them video casts, and a couple of apps. For the graphic artist, there are plenty of resources on iTunes about photoshop, illustrator and inDesign.
  • For the fitness buff, a search of the term ‘weightlifting’ turned up podcasts and apps.

Besides using the iTunes store, there are websites that index video podcasts including (

No matter your area of interest, there is probably something to assist you in the iTunes store. Add it to your list of resources and remember to check it when looking for information.


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