INLS 782: Homework

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Each homework exercise will be assigned prior to a specific class session. You should do the homework exercise prior to that class session, and, at a minimum, come prepared to discuss your work. You may also be required to write a post to the course site, documenting your work.

Library as Space

Your task: Collect data about library users' use of one library space

Find a reasonably high-use space in a library. It doesn't matter which library. Find somewhere unobtrusive, but with a good view of the space, and sit for at least an hour. Take notes on what people do in the space. If a map of the space exists (e.g., Davis reference, the Law Library), you may want to use it for your notes. Develop some categories of use cases. Develop a data collection instrument for collecting future data about the use of the space.

Outcome Based Evaluation

Your task: Identify the desired outcomes for your evaluation

Once your group has an evaluation project more or less nailed down, identify the outcomes that your evaluand is supposed to fulfill. Note that goals and objectives are not the same thing: goals are broad and abstract, and can't be validated; objectives are narrow and concrete, and can be validated. (To use the IMLS' example: a goal is "participant literacy will improve;" an objective is to measure how many grade levels' worth of reading ability participants have achieved.) Identify some measures that would be appropriate for determining the extent to which these outcomes have been fulfilled. Identify some data that would need to be collected to allow use of these measures.


Your task: Compute the return on investment of one library function or service

Choose one library function or service (e.g., user services). Identify all of the costs associated with that function or service (e.g., staff time, collections, network access, etc.), and monetize those costs if they are not already in dollar values. Identify all of the benefits from that function or service (e.g., improved student performance, increased faculty research funding, etc.), and monetize those benefits if they are not already in dollar values.

Utilization-Focused Evaluation

Your task: Collect information about how evaluation findings will be used

Once your group has an evaluation project more or less nailed down, identify the stakeholders and stakeholder groups with an interest your evaluand or in the results of the evaluation. Schedule meetings with as many of them as possible. Find out what the stakeholders want out of the evaluation, how they intend to use the results, what constraints exist to their making changes to the evaluand based on the results, etc.

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