Which Test for Which Data: Statistics at the Reference Desk

Monday, 2/29/2016 - Thursday, 3/31/2016
3D area graph This web course is designed to help librarians faced with statistical questions at the reference desk. Whether assisting a student reading through papers or guiding them when they brightly ask "Can I run a t-test on this?", librarians will feel more confident facing statistical questions.

Learning Outcomes

1) Develop knowledge related to statistical concepts, including basic information on what the goals of statistical tests are and which kinds of data scales are associated with each, with a focus on t-tests, correlations, and chi-square tests.

2) Explore different kinds of statistical tests and increase ability to discern between the utility of different types of statistical tests and why one may be more appropriate than another.

3) Increase literacy in evaluating and describing statistical research that uses t-tests, correlations, and chi-square tests.

4) Improve confidence in answering questions about statistical tests in a reference setting, including explaining tests and results and assisting users in determining which statistical tests are appropriate for a dataset. Helping others analyze graphical representations of statistics.

Who Should Attend

Library professionals who are looking to expand their knowledge of statistical methods in order to provide assistance to students who may use basic statistics in their courses or research. Students taking the course should have a general understanding of mean, median, and mode. 


Rachel Williams

Rachel Williams










Rachel Williams is a PhD student in the School of Library and Information Studies at UW-Madison. Rachel has several years of experience in public and academic libraries and is passionate about research design and methods. She has also taught courses at SLIS on database design, metadata, and social media in information agencies. Rachel’s research explores the constraints and collaborations public libraries operate within to facilitate access to health information and services for the homeless. 



  • LITA Member: $135
  • ALA Member: $195
  • Non-member: $260

Moodle login info will be sent to registrants the week prior to the start date.

How to Register

Registration is now open.  Courses are listed by date and you need to log in.


Contact ALA Registration:  call 1-800-545-2433 and press 5 or email registration@ala.org or submit print registration form [PDF]

Tech Requirements

The course will be delivered via the Moodle courseware system.  Participants will need an internet connection and computer with a current operating system and web browser.  Further details will be provided prior to the course start.  The course will proceed weekly for 4 weeks with an optional two weeks if students need more time to complete assignments.


For questions about registration, contact ALA Registration:  call 1-800-545-2433 and press 5 or email registration@ala.org.

For all other questions or comments related to the course, contact LITA at (312) 280-4268 or Mark Beatty at mbeatty@ala.org.