Does the (Data Collection Method) Shoe Fit?
You wouldn’t go hiking in a pair of dress shoes, right? Like the variety of shoes in your closet, there are a variety of data collection methods in all different shapes and sizes. The trick is finding which data collection method fits! Today’s post will help you determine which method is best for your evaluation. What are Data Collection Methods? Data collection is the process of gathering information from different sources with the goal of answering a specific question (your evaluation question). The method, or procedure, that you use to collect your data is your data collection method. Four common ones are:...

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The Dynamic Data Duo: Quantitative and qualitative data, part 2
In our last post we introduced you to the dynamic data duo—quantitative (number) and qualitative (story) data. Like any good superhero squad, each have their own strengths and weaknesses. Quantitative data can usually be collected and analyzed quickly, but can’t really yield nuanced answers. Qualitative data is great at that! However, it often takes a lot of time and resources to collect qualitative data. So just like Batman and Robin, who balance out each other’s strengths and weaknesses when they’re together, both can also have successful solo careers. This post will walk you through a simple process to determine which...

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Ready to meet your (data) match? Introducing number data and story data
By on January 20, 2021 in Between a Graph and a Hard Place
Hey, there! Welcome to 2021! We’re glad to see you here. It’s a new year and we’re ready to dive into research methods. Not what you expected to rejuvenate you in 2021? Well, hold on—research methods are actually pretty rad. First, though, what are they?  Research Methods Research methods are the different ways we can do the research or evaluation. If you’ve already tried out our tips on doing desk research, you may have found that the data you need is just not out there. You’re going to have to collect some data yourself!  What kind of data should you collect? Two very...

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RIPL Data Boot Camp Webinar Series
By on January 13, 2021 in Public
Is one of your new year’s resolutions to get your library’s data in shape? Then, spend the winter with the Research Institute for Public Libraries (RIPL) and participate in our Data Boot Camp Series! This free webinar series features curriculum from the RIPL 2020 national event. These will NOT be webinars where you listen to a talking head the whole time; instead, please come ready to participate in a variety of interactive learning activities, some of which will occur in small groups in breakout rooms. Here is the schedule – go to https://ripl.lrs.org/ripl-data-boot-camp/ to learn more about each webinar and register: January...

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Happy Holidays!
By on December 11, 2020 in Between a Graph and a Hard Place
We have loved having you all with us on our data journey! We are putting our blog series “Between a Graph and a Hard Place” on hold in December. We’ll be back in January with more exciting information about doing your own evaluation, including specific ways of collecting data like surveys, focus groups, and observations. In the meantime, we wish you all happy and safe holidays! Special thanks to Mary Bills for the beautiful artwork.…...

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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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