Monday, April 20, 2009

ACRL 2009 - the assessment sessions

Hello. I am back with more about some of the sessions I attended at ACRL. The last post was about some useful technology for researching and creative instruction ideas. This post will cover assessment topics that were presented at ACRL 2009 in Seattle.

I attended the Fishing for Information: Using Focus Group Research to Discover Student Perceptions of Library Services and Resources The presenters, Rebecca Byrum and William Wearefrom from Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana had 3 volunteers from the audience pretend to be their example focus group to demonstrate the methods used for a focus group study. The presentation was active rather than passive since they were using the same type of questions for the volunteers as they did for their original focus group. The original focus group was conducted to find out what the students needs were in the library.

They pointed out some good things to know when you are planning a focus group study:
  • Need to get and oral and written consent from the participants
  • Names of participants should not be revealed
  • Let participants know that results will be used for presentation
  • Make participants feel comfortable, so they will be honest
  • Use clear simple questions
Here they types of questions they suggested to use:
  1. Intro Question
  2. Transition Question
  3. Key Question - grade certain characteristics of topic (report card)
  4. Discussion of report card - Allow participants to drive questions, e.g. "Are there any other categories that you would like to assign a grade to?"
  5. Open question - "Do you have anything else you want to say or tell us?"
  6. Ending Questions - Summary, "Have we missed anything?"
Summarize the results and you have done a qualitative study that you can use to improve your services with. Thanks for the good practical assessment ideas!

More on assessment in the next post.

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