Evaluating the Los Angeles Public
Library’s Kidspath Homework Help
What is Kidspath?
• The Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL) offers
homework help resources to students through
• The site is modeled for elementary school
students and their parents.
• The site offers live chat references services,
LAPL databases, and selected websites
offering homework resources.
• The problem is that it is unclear whether or
not the services of Kidspath are adequate
enough to answer students’ homework-
• To address this problem, a quantitative
approach will be taken, which includes a
voluntary online survey for the patrons of
• The purpose of the survey will be to determine
how well the homework-related resources of
Kidspath help students answer questions or find
information needed for school assignments.
• The survey will also test Kuhlthau’s Information
Search Process theory, relating a “zone of
intervention” with the services of Kidspath and
testing how well students perform (or expect to
perform) on homework assignments based on
their experiences with Kidspath.
• There is very little literature that addresses the
evaluation of online homework help sites in
public libraries for elementary school students.
• When discussing elementary and secondary
students, the literature tends to cover school
media libraries rather than public libraries
• The research would fill a gap in the literature by
focusing on elementary school students and their
information seeking needs.
• Independent variable = Kidspath services defined as
live chat reference and static reference resources.
• Dependent variable = How well students perceive that
they will perform (or have actually performed) on a
test or assignment based on their experiences using
• Intervening variables = The patience/persistence level
of a student and a student’s level of satisfaction with
• Control variable = Students in the third grade and
above and their parents or guardians.
• What is the student’s achievement level (or
expected level) on an assignment or test after
having consulted the resources of Kidspath?
• Is there a connection between a student’s
satisfaction with using Kidspath and their actual
or expected achievement level?
• Does a student’s level of patience with using
Kidspath have any relationship to their
satisfaction with the site?
• Is a student’s level of patience related to their
• The population is the remote users of
• The sample is a convenience sample of
patrons who voluntarily answer the survey
during a three-month period.
• Surveymonkey will be used to administer the
• Both nominal and ordinal scales will be used.
• Approximately 6-9 questions.
Survey Design continued
• The research will use SurveyMonkey’s “all
responses received spreadsheet.”
• The data may be downloaded into an Excel
spreadsheet to further analyze the data.
• A descriptive analysis will address data for all
of the variables.
• Will discuss means and range of scores.
• IRB exempt because it is research conducted in an
established education setting testing the effectiveness
of educational techniques involving the use of survey
procedures that protect the privacy and confidentiality
of the participants.
• Since the survey population mainly involves minors
under the age of 18, the researcher will provide a very
clear and easy to understand informed consent form.
• A disclaimer will be provided to recommend that a
parent or guardian assist patrons under the age of 13
with the survey.
• The study may help public library professionals
develop a best practices model for their
homework help resources.
• Students would benefit from improvements to
Kidspath, which may better serve their efforts to
solve homework problems and write research
• Teachers and school media librarians may be
interested in the study and decide to direct their
students to Kidspath or develop similar resources
for their own libraries.
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