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Four Questions You Should Never Ask in Evaluation/Assessment in Libraries and IT, and a Number of Questions that You Should!

Glenda Morgan
Director of Academic Technology
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Chris Bourg
Assistant University Librarian for Public Services
Stanford University

Joshu Morrill
Senior Evaluator
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Evaluation and assessment are growing in interest and importance to libraries and information technology (IT) organizations of all types. This work is undertaken for a number of reasons: to show value and impact, to help guide decision-making at a time of increasing funding scarcity, and, sometimes, just because it is interesting and contributes new knowledge to various fields of research. But not all of the ways that assessment is approached and not all of the questions asked yield useful results. This panel, representing over a century of social science and library and IT research and assessment, will identify a number of commonly made mistakes in designing assessment strategies and questions, and it will identify some alternate and more productive ways to address the pressing questions faced in a rapidly changing library and IT environment.


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Last updated:  Wednesday, April 16th, 2014