Breakout: Observations: Data Hiding in Plain Sight
Libraries use systematic observation to gather data about patrons’ behavior, words, and interactions—such as children’s level of engagement during a story time, the computer skills adults demonstrate during a technology class, or how patrons navigate the library to find desired materials. In this session, participants will learn about the strengths and limitations of this data collection method, explore guidelines for conducting observations, and review examples of observation guides and data. We will also share examples of how libraries have used observation to evaluate library services and programs and how observations can complement other data collection methods. Then, participants will apply what they learn to conduct an observation and record data. We will conclude with tips and tricks for planning and managing observations in libraries.
This session is sponsored by Embedding Evaluation in Libraries as part of its Institute of Museum and Library Services grant.