How to Develop Outcome Measures & Design Effective Surveys

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?” Libraries may need to measure outcomes for a variety of reasons—from measuring and improving impact, to better managing services and resources, to demonstrating a need for funding or other support. This on-demand webinar will help libraries develop their own outcome measures based on program goals and implement those measures through effective survey design.

Originally presented April 11, 2018.

This webinar is the second in a series featuring Project Outcome’s Outcome Measurement Guidelines, designed to help guide and provide additional support for outcome-focused data collection. Future topics to be covered include implementing alternative data collection methods and measuring outcomes over time. The archive of the first webinar of this series, Working with Partners: How to Plan for Collaborative Outcome Measurement, presented on January 31, 2018, is 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 what outcomes are and how to develop their own outcome measures, including how to identify program goals, use those goals to identify desired outcomes, and develop outcome-based questions; and
  • Be able to write effective, actionable and unbiased survey questions.

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.

Joyce ChapmanJoyce Chapman is the assessment analyst & consultant at Duke University Libraries, where she collects, analyzes, and documents data useful for evaluating library operations and understanding user needs; supports data management, analysis, and reporting needs across the Libraries; and coordinates and delivers training on evaluation, data, and reporting tools. Prior to her current position, Joyce was the statewide data analysis & communications consultant at the State Library of North Carolina. Joyce co-leads the Digital Library Federation’s Cost Assessment Interest Group. She received her MSIS from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2009.



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).