Beyond Surveys: How to Measure Outcomes Using Alternative Data Collection Methods

Outcome measurement is a way for libraries to assess their impact on the people they serve and helps libraries answer the question, “What good did we do?” With a vast number of ways to collect outcomes, it may be overwhelming to identify which data collection methods to use. Choosing the methodology also depends on the library’s learning goals, time limitations, staff capacity and more. This on-demand webinar is designed to help libraries learn what methods are available to them, and the benefits and challenges to each. It highlights several methods, with an emphasis on focus groups.

Originally presented July 18, 2018.

This on-demand webinar is the third in a series featuring Project Outcome’s Outcome Measurement Guidelines, designed to help guide and provide additional support for outcome-focused data collection. Past archives of this series, How to Develop Outcome Measures & Design Effective Surveys, presented on April 11, 2018, and Working with Partners: How to Plan for Collaborative Outcome Measurement, presented on January 31, 2018, are available for viewing.

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of this on-demand webinar, participants will:

  • Know what Project Outcome’s Outcome Measurement Guidelines are and how they help support libraries’ data collection efforts;
  • Understand various types of outcome data collection methods, including pre-post measurement, skills tests, behavior observation, interviews, and focus groups; and
  • Be able to apply what they learned to conduct their own focus group in their library.

Additional Resources

Who Should Attend

This on-demand webinar is open to everyone but will be most helpful to libraries interested in measuring outcomes. The content and resources provided in this webinar are free but accessing them does require a Project Outcome account. PLA’s Project Outcome is free online toolkit designed to help public libraries understand and share the impact of their programs and services by providing simple surveys and an easy-to-use process for measuring and analyzing outcomes. To learn more, watch this introductory video or register for free at


Emily PlagmanEmily Plagman is the project manager for PLA’s performance measurement initiative, Project Outcome, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, overseeing its development and implementation. Prior to joining PLA, Emily worked as a project manager at the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning on an energy efficiency grant. Emily received her Master’s in International Public Affairs from the LaFollette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin and her Bachelor’s in Political Science at Marquette University.

Holt ZauggHolt Zaugg is the assessment librarian at the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University. He holds degrees in Psychology, Educational Design, Library Science, and Educational Research. He has over 20 years of experience working in the K–12 school system, including 11 years as an instructor for teacher professional development. His current focus is on assessment of academic library services and spaces. Some examples of this assessment program include development of library personas, communication network analysis, and interactions between library security employees and library patrons or library employees. He seeks to further understand trends and patterns in academic libraries to provide safe and caring spaces for students to study, collaborate, and learn.



This on-demand webinar is free and available 24/7 for your viewing convenience.

How to Register

No registration is required.

Tech Requirements

To playback this archived webinar you should have either the latest version of Flash running on your computer, or use a browser with native HTML5 support. Please use the most up-to-date version available of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer. A fast Internet connection and computer is recommended.

Credits or CEUs

PLA does not award credit hours, or CEUs, for its on-demand webinars and cannot verify participation.


If you have questions or problems accessing a recording, send a message to or call 800-545-2433 ext. 5PLA (5752).