Not creeping continued: may we have this data?
By on October 21, 2020 in Between a Graph and a Hard Place
Welcome back! Last time we talked about how to protect the privacy of evaluation participants. Today we’re going to continue our discussion of research ethics with informed consent and how to work with vulnerable populations. Informed Consent In order to be a researcher and not a “creeper,” you need to: 1) ask for participants’ permission, 2) be clear with them about what is going to happen, 3) explain the purpose of your study, and 4) give them the option to stop participating at any time. Let’s take a look at one of those examples from the Urban Dictionary definition of creeper again:...

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Colorado Public Libraries and COVID-19: Despite unprecedented circumstances, libraries quickly adapted services to safely meet community needs
By on October 8, 2020 in Public
This blog post was co-authored by Crystal Schimpf and Linda Hofschire, and is also published on the Colorado Virtual Library blog. In late May 2020, the Colorado State Library surveyed Colorado public library directors about their responses to the pandemic. We received responses from 76 library jurisdictions (67% of Colorado’s 113 public libraries), as well as two of eight member libraries (25%).* Here is what we learned about public library services in Colorado during the statewide Stay at Home order (March 26-April 26) and first 35 days of the Safer at Home order (April 27-June 1). Building Closures Most public libraries closed their buildings...

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Research Ethics: How to collect data without being a creeper
By on October 7, 2020 in Between a Graph and a Hard Place
When you read the word “creeper,” you might think of something like this: “A person who does weird things, like stares at you while you sleep, or looks at you for hours through a window.” That definition of “creeper” was written by the user Danya at Urban Dictionary.  Both the examples mentioned in the definition of creeper are things that evaluators and researchers actually do. And they could be very creepy! Sadly, some unethical, unsavory, and racist things have been done in the name of research and collecting data in the past. Not even the distant past. The Tuskegee Study is...

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42: The answer to every bad evaluation question
By on September 23, 2020 in Between a Graph and a Hard Place
In the novel Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, a group of hyper-intelligent pan-dimensional beings build a supercomputer to ask the “ultimate question…the answer to life, the universe, and everything.” After waiting millions of years, the supercomputer tells them the answer to life, the universe, and everything is…42! Some might disagree, but the lesson here is simple—if you want a useful finding, you have to ask the right evaluation question! And you don’t have to be hyper-intelligent, pan-dimensional beings to learn how to do it. Evaluation questions are developed to guide your evaluation. They allow you to focus your study, clarify your...

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The Logic Model: Take it one step at a time
By on September 9, 2020 in Between a Graph and a Hard Place
When your organization designs a program, service or experience, it’s helpful to think intentionally. What do you hope happens? How would you know if it did? We wrote about determining the outcomes for your efforts last time. Identifying outcomes is an important first step in planning and evaluating a program, service or experience. What do you need to do after you’ve identified outcomes? It’s helpful to have a model to guide you through your questions, what you hope will happen, how to best collect data, and how it all connects. There are different types of guides for this process in the...

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What’s your goal here?
Every day we assess the world around us. We ask ourselves whether that decision we made was a good idea, what makes that person trustworthy, why we should or should not change something. We form a question in our head, collect data, analyze the information, and come to a conclusion. In short, we are all experienced evaluators!   However, that doesn’t mean setting up an outcome-based evaluation is a cake walk. It’s important to apply structure to the subconscious process occurring in our head. So where should you start? At the end. That might sound counterintuitive, but the first step in an...

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