Data Analysis for Working Librarians: 5/14/15

On May 14, 2015, Deborah Lines Andersen, an Associate Professor at the University at Albany, visited Southeastern to teach a group of two dozen librarians a refresher crash-course on how to use and manipulate data for better surveys and focus groups.

The day started with an overview of the various kinds of data collection tools, highlighting their pros and cons. Deborah had the class consider what it meant to have useful data and how that would influence what data collection method was best for a given situation. In particular, she talked about best practices for focus groups and how they can be convened to help librarians learn how to give better service and in turn get funding and support from their communities.

In the second half of the discussion, the class focused on best practices for analyzing, displaying, and understanding data sets. This includes using common tools like Google Analytics in uncommon ways, like showing that hits on webpages featuring events can demonstrate that library users on the web are interested in coming to the library in person.

If you would like to know more, the slides from Deborah's presentation and her handouts are available for download below. Thanks to a resoundingly positive reaction to this class, we will strive to offer more classes that go into other aspects of data analysis in the near future.