New research: first year college students need support assessing authority
By on January 7, 2022 in Uncategorized
Intro Can I trust this information? We use information constantly to learn, make decisions, and form opinions. Every day library staff in every setting strive to teach people how to find the information they need and how to identify trustworthy sources. But what is trustworthy? How can you tell? What about when sources contradict each other? What characteristics distinguish sources from each other? Who As a former information literacy librarian at a university, these questions haunted me when I was teaching. I was lucky to meet two librarians at the University of Denver (DU) who shared a passion for this topic: Carrie Forbes,...

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How to observe without being totally awkward
By on October 27, 2021 in Between a Graph and a Hard Place
Happy fall to all you data nerds out there! We appreciate you being here with us. Last time we discussed how to get permission from your participants when you want to do an observation. You might be wondering how you can actually do the observation without it being completely awkward and perhaps even cringey. Today we are going to discuss just that! First let’s review our goal for this project: We want to evaluate if caregivers are learning skills during storytime and using those skills with their children outside of storytime  Based on this goal, we decided to do observations of caregivers...

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How to observe: Ask first!
By on September 29, 2021 in Between a Graph and a Hard Place
Welcome back! We left off talking about why you would use observations to collect data. Observation can be a great data collection tool when you want to see how different people interact with each other, a space, or a passive program. Observation is also helpful when it is difficult for someone to answer a question accurately, like when you ask them to remember something they did or—particularly with children—if you ask them to give critical or written feedback, both of which can be developmentally inappropriate. To review, our big research question is: “Does attending storytime help caregivers use new literacy skills...

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Nothing About Us, Without Us: Equitable evaluation through community engagement
This is a “guest post” from the Colorado Virtual Library Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion blog. When you wake up, one of the first things you might do is open your weather app to see what the temperature is and if it’s supposed to rain that day. You then use that information—or data—to make important decisions, like what to wear and whether you should bring an umbrella when you go out. The fact is, we are all collecting data every day—and we use that data to inform what we do next. It’s no different in libraries. We collect data about circulation, program attendance,...

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Why Observe? Watch and Learn
When I was a kid, one of my favorite summer activities was staring at hummingbirds. I would sit for hours, moving as little as possible, while I took notes about everything I saw. (Yes, I was a pretty weird eight year old.) I wanted to ask the hummingbirds so many questions, but I don’t speak hummingbird! Observing them was my only option for trying to understand their behavior.  While it is literally impossible to ask a hummingbird to take a survey, there are many times with humans when a survey won’t work to collect the data you need either. Observation can...

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Surveys: Don’t just set it and forget it!
Surveys are the rotisserie oven of the data collection methods. You simply “set it, and forget it!” That’s why it’s important to be strategic about how you’re reaching your target population. Otherwise, you may be leaving out key subsets of your audience—which are often voices that are already historically underrepresented.   Is your survey equitable?  Let’s say you want to send out a survey to library users, so you print off a stack of copies and leave them on the lending desk for patrons to take. While everyone in your target audience may have equal access to the survey (or in other words,...

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