Tuesday, November 1, 2011

PL 66/11: Around the stats in 90 minutes

Filed under: statistics — plinius @ 11:30 am

What can we do in ninety minutes?

A European colleague is doing a session on statistics for advocacy at a national library conference and asked for my ideas. Here is my spontaneous response:

Thanks for your letter. I agree with you: 90 mins. is too short for including a hands-on session. But much can be done by preparing (or finding) materials that participants can study afterwards (at home or in their libraries) – and just introducing them at the session. I have not tried to look for instruction or motivation videos on library stats at YouTube – but maybe there are some?

Short videos

Here in Oslo we are now starting to produce instruction videos – looks like a very useful approach (good discussion at HASTAC about flipped classrooms). First effort here:

I would basically treat a 90 min event as a “door-opener” or “quick tour of library statistics” (+ Q&A) : a combination of consciousness-raising, one or two brief cases, pointing to and demonstrating one or two (not too many) good tools for beginners, showing that there are lively discussions (Ray Lyons is good).

A practical habit

Statistics is not a collection of facts, knowledge or fixed methods – it is a set of tools, a way of reasoning, and a practical habit (which professionals increasingly will need in their daily lives). The research methodology approach – which most statistics courses follow – is 90% irrelevant.

You may of course use all my materials – IFLA based or otherwise. It’s all CC. We did a three day course for library practitioners a couple of weeks ago and a three week (!) course some months ago. The materials (in Norwegian of course) are available here

[Added: We hope to do a SFA course in Uganda next June, and I plan to translate / rework parts of these materials into English in the spring]

See also Plinius Data:

with country links to the right.

I am also experimenting with making my courses for librarians  much more visual (graphs and infographics rather than tables and numerical parameters) – and feel that is a good way to go.

Regards Tord


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