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Evaluation Design
As evaluators, our work depends on being able to gather data on and from museums’ audiences.  It probably goes without saying that this has become trickier in a world transformed by a global pandemic.  Museums and cultural organizations are temporarily closed, and we anticipate lower visitation (and different visitation patterns) once they reopen.  This makes...
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Upon commencing a study that requires intercepting visitors on the museum floor, we are often asked by staff (sometimes nervously), “Will people say yes to participating in a survey, interview, etc.?”  Our answer is always yes, and we often state that you would be surprised how many agree to participate.  Generally about 65 to 80...
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Since the reality of coronavirus set in back in March, our RK&A team has been having a lot of conversations about study design.  Museum closures and social distancing have greatly impacted the way we do our work as evaluators.  They have affected our clients, project timelines, data collection methods, and access to study respondents in...
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After a bit of a hiatus, we are back with a new post to our Evaluation Design series!  This post explores the use of incentives for data collection: What are they? When might you need to use them? And why are they important?  This topic is especially relevant considering the current COVID-19 pandemic because, as...
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Recently, I listened to the audiobook “Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men”—a must read/listen if you like data and are interested in UX design.  The author, Caroline Criado Perez, writes about a data gap that disadvantages women in many facets of their life.  One point that particularly grabbed me was the...
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Recently, I was invited to speak about quantitative data for The George Washington University’s course, Evaluating Museum Learning.  My task was not to teach students how to conduct quantitative analysis, but rather, to help students become knowledgeable interpreters of quantitative data—whether encountered in their future museum work or the daily newspaper.  Based on my experience ...
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Happy new year! We are back with another post in the Evaluation Design Series on the topic of pilot-testing data collection instruments, particularly for open-ended interview guides or standardized surveys.  In short, pilot-testing (also called pre-testing) is administering an instrument a few times prior to data collection.  This includes all parts of the instrument, from...
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This spring, RK&A undertook an ambitious project with the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) to conduct a meta-analysis of reports from the last 10 years of evaluation completed for the museum.  In this context, “meta-analysis” essentially means reanalyzing past analyses with the goal of identifying larger trends or gaps in research.  This project...
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Interviews are a commonly used data collection method in qualitative studies, where the goal is to understand or explore a phenomenon.  They’re an extremely effective way to gather rich, descriptive data about people’s experiences in a program or exhibition, which is one reason we use them often in our work at RK&A.  Figuring out sample...
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Sampling is a very important consideration for all types of data collection.  For audience research and summative evaluations in particular, it is important that the sample from which data is collected represents the actual population.  That is, the visitors who participate in a questionnaire or interview should match the entire population of visitors.  For instance,...
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