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NCompassLive: Surveys, Focus Groups & Observation


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Okay, so the best way to find out something is to ask someone. But what's the best way to ask so that you get an answer to the question that you meant to ask and not to the question they thought that you asked? Join Kathryn Brockmeier, Nebraska Library Commission Research Analyst, for some tips and techniques for getting the information you need.

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NCompassLive: Surveys, Focus Groups & Observation

  1. 1. Surveys, focus groups& observation<br />Or, How to find out stuff from people in your community<br />NCompass Live – March 10, 2010<br />
  2. 2. About the presenter<br />Research Analyst<br />Special Projects Associate<br />Grant writer<br />Evaluator<br /><br />402.471.4002<br />
  3. 3. About you<br />Your role<br />Library Director<br />Trustee<br />Friends/Foundation Board Member<br />Your credentials<br />
  4. 4. About you, cont’d<br />
  5. 5. Information needs for…<br />Planning<br />Strategic plan<br />Marketing plan<br />Budget justification<br />Return on investment<br />Grant writing, fundraising<br />Capacity building<br />Feasibility study<br />Needs assessment<br />Program planning<br />Reporting<br />Stakeholders<br />Annual report<br />Program evaluation<br />
  6. 6. What’s the goal?<br />Building customer/patron loyalty<br />Identifying attractive prospects<br />Focusing on high potential customers/patrons<br />Predicting future usage patterns<br />Improving return on investment<br />Identifying new products and services<br />
  7. 7. What’s the question?<br />Satisfaction, performance<br />Service, programming, accessibility needs<br />Opportunities, problems, challenges, barriers<br />Expectations, reputation<br />Value, worth<br />Comparison<br />Users, non-users<br />Usage patterns<br />Snapshot<br />
  8. 8. Participants/Subjects, cont’d.<br />Users<br />Patrons<br />Visitors<br />One-time<br />Regulars<br />Age, Ethnicity, Gender, Disability, Geography, Income<br />Type of check-outs<br />Type of questions<br />Non-users<br />Potential users<br />Admirers, loyalty<br />Aware<br />Informed<br />Unaware<br />Uninformed<br />Computer owners<br />Book buyers<br />
  9. 9. Gather the Information<br />Surveys<br />Individual interviews<br />Focus groups<br />Observations<br />Expert opinions<br />Number gathering<br />Existing data, demographics, reports<br />
  10. 10. Surveys<br />Questionnaire<br />Mail, paper-and-pencil<br />Group-administered<br />Internet<br />E-mail<br />Interview<br />Personal<br />Telephone<br />
  11. 11. Surveys, cont’d.<br />Advantages<br />No interviewer bias<br />Inexpensive<br />Repeatable<br />Often gains thoughtful answers<br />More respondents<br />Candid responses if confidentiality is ensured<br />Easy to analyze<br />Disadvantages<br />Doesn’t ensure qualified respondents<br />Low response rate<br />Inability to gain further detail / probe<br />Poor turnaround time<br />
  12. 12. Surveys, cont’d.<br />Population <br />Sample<br />Questions<br />Content<br />Bias<br />Administration<br />
  13. 13. Focus groups<br />A focus group is a special kind of group discussion that is designed to elicit information about the wants, needs, viewpoints, beliefs, and experiences of your intended audience<br />Focus groups can help you better understand the expressions and terminology commonly used by people in your audience, as well as their attitudes and beliefs about libraries and library services<br />
  14. 14. Focus groups, cont’d.<br />Focus groups are especially good at helping to uncover the reason behind people's responses, e.g., why they prefer certain terms or why they would or would not do something<br />As a result, focus groups can also play a useful role in evaluations by shedding light on short-term outcomes and helping to explain findings from surveys<br />
  15. 15. Focus groups, cont’d.<br />Pros<br />Generate, explore, and identify key ideas/concepts<br />Understand your population<br />Read non-verbal feedback<br />Used to identify themes or capture ideas<br />Questions can be asked as they arise<br />Explore related and unanticipated topics as they arise<br />Can distribute questionnaires<br />Cons<br />Bias<br />Small group<br />Analysis can be difficult<br />Need trained interviewers or moderators<br />Unable to make major decisions based on the information<br />Can’t necessarily generalize the findings to the population<br />Must find a suitable place to conduct interview<br />
  16. 16. Focus groups, cont’d.<br />Number of sessions<br />Time required<br />Number of participants<br />Choosing participants<br />Compensation<br />Cost<br />
  17. 17. Focus groups, cont’d.<br />8 steps to planning and implementing focus groups<br /> Identify what you want to accomplish and the resources you have available<br />Choose your method and plan how you will select and recruit your respondents<br />Decide where you will conduct the focus groups<br />Decide how you will conduct the focus groups<br />Recruit your respondents and make the practical arrangements<br />Prepare your interview or focus group guide: what questions will you ask? <br />Conduct your focus groups and record the feedback<br />Analyze and apply what you have learned<br />Source:<br />
  18. 18. Observation<br />How people are using the library space itself<br />Explore the dynamics of visitor behavior<br />Measure visitor interactions at touch points in the library<br />
  19. 19. Observation, cont’d.<br />Location<br />Reading areas<br />Meeting rooms<br />Computer labs<br />Parking<br />Circulation desk<br />Telephone, computer<br />Stacks<br />Usage<br />Reference questions<br />User intercept<br />Computers<br />Catalog<br />Browsing<br />Check out/circulation<br />
  20. 20. Observation, cont’d.<br />Location<br />Reading areas<br />Meeting rooms<br />Computer labs<br />Parking<br />Circulation desk<br />Telephone, computer<br />Stacks<br />Usage<br />Reference questions<br />User intercept<br />Computers<br />Catalog<br />Browsing<br />Check out/circulation<br />
  21. 21. Observation, cont’d.<br />Advantages<br />Bird’s-eye view<br />Rich content<br />Unique method<br />Disadvantages<br />Time<br />Fewer data points<br />May be difficult to analyze<br />
  22. 22. Observation, cont’d.<br />Dedicate staff time to the effort <br />Study all times of day, days of week<br />Train staff to gather without judgment <br />Train, try, assess, retool <br />Consider bringing in outside opinions <br />Train all staff to observe and report <br />
  23. 23. Observation, cont’d.<br />Determine an annual estimate by counting data points during a typical week in October and multiply the count by 52<br />“Typical week”: neither unusually busy nor unusually slow<br />Avoid holiday times, vacation periods for key staff, or days when unusual events are taking place in the community or library<br />Choose a week in which the library is open its regular hours<br />Include 7 consecutive calendar days, from Sunday through Saturday (or whenever library is usually open)<br />
  24. 24. Observation, cont’d.<br />Density Maps<br />Activity Map<br />Patrons Who Visit Each Section First<br />Patrons Who Request Each Assistance Type<br />Computer Use Chart and Computer Length of Use Chart<br />Paper-and-pencil<br />Video<br />
  25. 25. Data<br />Collection<br />Paper-and-pencil<br />E-mail<br />Web<br />Computer<br />Quantitative<br />Qualitative<br />Entry/storage<br />Excel, spreadsheet<br />Paper-and-pencil<br />Final notification<br />Analysis<br />Quantitative<br />Qualitative<br />
  26. 26. Analysis / Reporting<br />Counts<br />Percentages<br />Averages<br />Frequency<br />Categories<br />Patterns<br />Quotes<br />Coding<br />
  27. 27. Examples<br />Website improvement<br />Internet survey using <br />Observation: usability testing<br />Feasibility study<br />Mail survey: sample of general population<br />Focus groups: stakeholders<br />Observation: patrons and library users<br />
  28. 28. Resources<br />Free Management Library<br /><br />Planning for Results<br />The New Planning for Results<br />Research Methods Knowledge Base<br /><br />WebJunction<br /><br />
  29. 29. Next steps<br />Evaluation<br />
  30. 30. Questions?<br />CE credits<br />Evaluation<br />
  31. 31. Related topics<br />NCompass Live Archived sessions<br />Presenting Data in Meaningful and Interesting Ways – Jan. 1, 2010<br /><br />American Factfinder - Mining the U.S. Census for Information about Your Community – Dec. 9, 2009<br /><br />
  32. 32. Upcoming sessions<br />Tech Talk with Michael Sauers – March 17<br /><br />Adventures in Facebook: Getting your library on board – March 24<br /><br />r u game? Game Night @ Perkins Library – March 31<br /><br />Introduction to WorldCat – April 7<br /><br />