Assistant Director, Research Data and Metrics/Vice Chair for Research NYU Health Sciences Library New York, New York
Objectives: Educational programming is a common way for libraries to provide service in data management, visualization and reproducibility. The impact of this programming is difficult to assess and library literature provides limited information on evaluation efforts. While in-class evaluations were overwhelmingly positive, we sought explore if the data services workshops had an impact on participants’ work after they left the workshop.
Methods: A mixed methods framework was employed to assess participant attitudes about the workshops. We administered a survey combining multiple-choice and free text fields to ask participants if attending a library workshop has had an impact on their work life, broadly defined, and if so to write in responses. This survey was sent to all past participants in our library's data workshops. We then invited willing participants to a semi-structured in-person interview, continuing interviews until thematic saturation was achieved. We coded interviewee responses for themes from a phenomenological approach, with the goal of understanding the participants' experience as they see it with library-provided education.
Results: While data collection is still on-going, preliminary results indicate that majorities of class participants continue to use what they learned, with 50% using materials either monthly or weekly, and over a third using what they learned a few times a year. Sixty-four percent of participants indicated that the materials they learned in a library workshop, while 24% stated the classes helped them approach challenges in a new way and 47% indicated that they think about issues differently. The process of beginning a long-term evaluation has also elucidated challenges that can help for better research in the future to provide more actionable information on our offerings.
While qualitative analysis of interviews is still on-going, our preliminary research indicates that data education workshops appear to have an impact on many of those who attend them's work lives. Additionally, conducting evaluative research has highlighted that evaluation is an ongoing process, with room for iterative improvement.