How to conduct a secondary research evaluation in four steps
  In our last post, we assured you that it was possible to complete an evaluation without ever leaving your desk! So as promised, here’s how to conduct a secondary research evaluation in four simple steps. Remember, in the scenario in our last post, you are a youth services librarian at a rural public library that serves a population of 4,000. You want to know if your summer learning program is effective at engaging youth with developmentally enriching content (our evaluation question). You don’t have the time or resources to go out and collect your own data, so you decide to conduct...

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Conduct an Evaluation Without Ever Leaving Your Desk
Are you ready to get your hands dirty and start evaluating? After covering outcomes, the logic model, evaluation questions, and research ethics, our next step is to start collecting data. I know many of you might be thinking, “But we’re still in a pandemic. How could we possibly do an evaluation now?” Well that’s one of the many advantages of secondary research. What is secondary research and why should I do it?  Secondary research involves data that has been previously collected by someone else. As opposed to primary research, where you collect the data yourself, secondary research uses “available data” and various...

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Research Ethics: It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt
We’ve all heard the old adage “it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt.” Although most people direct this phrase at children, it can just as well be applied to conducting research. It’s all ethical—until the risks outweigh the potential benefits. It’s all fair—until your participant compensation becomes coercion. It might seem like common sense delineates these areas clearly, but sometimes our good intentions can obfuscate ethical from unethical. That’s why it’s necessary to thoroughly think through these considerations prior to conducting research or an evaluation.  Do the potential benefits outweigh the potential risks to participants?  You may not be conducting...

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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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