Students have opportunities to learn about research and critical thinking skills in class sessions, individual meetings with librarians, and workshops outside of class time. The concepts and skills that librarians teach are designed to build in complexity and scope from an introductory level in the first year to an understanding and active use of a discipline’s literature in the senior year.
*See the Four-Year Plan for Instruction Goals for more discussion
Each department and concentration has unique methodologies, questions, and sources of evidence that have an impact on the ways in which research can be done most effectively in that field. A plan that identifies the key skills, when they are needed in the curriculum and how they relate to other skills allows for a more organized and more thorough grounding in research and critical thinking.
Librarians work with students and faculty to aid them in their research. They teach students information evaluation as well as research skills and strategies. At all academic levels librarians foster information literacy and critical reflection that allow students to develop as researchers and knowledge producers.
Staff members tailor library services to users’ needs and to that end seek feedback informally and from user questionnaires in order to make improvements particularly in terms of content and presentation. Questionnaires now in use are:
- What is assessment? A process that identifies, collects, uses and prepares data that can be used to evaluate achievement.
- Why do assessment? To improve our decision making to keep us on the right path and to showcase our efforts and benefits to the Haverford College community. We want the library to be a space that reflects the changing needs of our students. We use an assessment plan that organizes our assessment efforts, keeps us on track, and records and evaluates the results learned.
- Who is involved in assessment? We work with faculty, students, and administrators in order to determine what is most important to be measured for library assessment.
Evaluation and Library Programs
- Evaluation: The process of reviewing results of data collection and analysis and making decisions based on data
- Recent studies demonstrate that libraries which have instituted assessment measures often do not use the data once they have collected it. The challenge is to construct questions that address substantive issues, analyze the responses to identify trends as well as important individual answers, and make changes promptly in programs and practices based on user input.
Methodology & Analyzing Data
- Mixed methods analysis recommended for assessment: both qualitative and quantitative tools
- Survey types: Opinion survey, skills survey, user satisfaction
- Benefits of online vs. paper surveys
- Survey analysis software: Qualtrics (multiple choice question responses,etc) and MAXQDA (for longer, wordier responses)
- For better survey responses, studies indicate that some form of incentive motivates more people to answer questions