Assessment in Action

Grinnell College: Project Description

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Primary Outcome Examined (select one or more)

Student Learning: Assignment

(No) Student Learning: Course

(No) Student Learning: Major

(No) Student Learning: Degree

(No) Student Engagement

(No) Student Success

(No) Academic Intimacy/Rapport

(No) Enrollment

(No) Retention

(No) Completion

(No) Graduation

(No) Articulation

(No) Graduates' Career Success

(No) Testing (e.g., GRE, MCAT, LSAT, CAAP, CLA, MAPP)

(No) Other (please describe)

Primary Library Factor Examined (select one or more)


(No) Instruction: Games

(No) Instruction: One Shot

(No) Instruction: Course Embedded

(No) Instruction: Self-Paced Tutorials

(No) Reference

(No) Educational Role (other than reference or instruction)

(No) Space, Physical

(No) Discovery (library resources integrated in institutional web and other information portals)

(No) Discovery (library resource guides)

(No) Discovery (from preferred user starting points)

(No) Collections (quality, depth, diversity, format or currency)

(No) Personnel (number and quality)

(No) Other (please describe)

Student Population (select one or more)


(No) Graduate

(No) Incoming

(No) Graduating

(No) Pre-College/Developmental/Basic Skills

(No) Other (please describe)

Discipline (select one or more)

(No) Arts


Social Sciences

(No) Natural Sciences (i.e., space, earth, life, chemistry or physics)

Formal Sciences (i.e., computer science, logic, mathematics, statistics or systems science)

(No) Professions/Applied Sciences

(No) English Composition

(No) General Education

(No) Information Literacy Credit Course

(No) Other (please describe)

AiA Team Members (select one or more)

Assessment Office

Institutional Research

Teaching Faculty

(No) Writing Center

(No) Information/Academic Technology

(No) Student Affairs

(No) Campus Administrator

(No) Library Administrator

Other Librarian

(No) Other (please describe)

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Methods and Tools (select one or more)


(No) Interviews

(No) Focus Group(s)

(No) Observation

(No) Pre/Post Test

(No) Rubric

Other (please describe)

Open-ended questions

Direct Data Type (select one or more)

(No) Student Portfolio

Research Paper/Project

(No) Class Assignment (other than research paper/project)

(No) Other (please describe)

Indirect Data Type (select one or more)

(No) Test Scores

(No) GPA

(No) Degree Completion Rate

(No) Retention Rate

Other (please describe)


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Executive Summary (150 words open)

  • How does the project align with your institution’s priorities and needs?
  • Why did you choose the outcome and library factor as areas to examine?
  • Why was the team composition appropriate?

  1. Administrators at Grinnell want to see data showing the impact of teaching and learning across campus, and our president requested that Grinnell’s libraries apply to the AiA program. Our team’s project explores the impact of research instruction sessions on student learning. We strove to make our assessment student –centered. Accordingly, we asked students and faculty (rather than librarians) to rate student research bibliographies and we collected students’ responses to questions related to their research processes. It was so useful to have a faculty member on our team as he consistently and clearly represented what he thought would be valuable and meaningful to his colleagues across campus. We also benefitted from working with our team member representing Grinnell’s office of assessment and institutional research; her assessment knowledge and willingness to crunch numbers and to help set the emerging data in context proved immensely important.

  • What are the significant contributions of your project?
  • What was learned about assessing the library’s impact on student learning and success?
  • What was learned about creating or contributing to a culture of assessment on campus?
  • What, if any, are the significant findings of your project?

  1. We found students less confident in rating the timeliness and authority of the sources on revised bibliographies than we anticipated. We were pleased to find that students did in fact revise their bibliographies following a research instruction session, on average changing 2.45 of 5 sources through revision. And students also report that, as a result of a disciplinary research literacy session, they learned strategies for searching and evaluating sources.

  • What will you change as a result of what you learned (– e.g., institutional activities, library functions or practices, personal/professional practice, other)?
  • How does this project contribute to current, past, or future assessment activities on your campus?

  1. If further analysis of the qualitative data sheds light on our project’s other findings (surveys and the number of items changed), our study could highlight the importance of qualitative data, generally.

Please list any articles published, presentations given, URL of project website, and team leader contact details.

  1. None to date. Team leader: Phil Jones, Humanities Librarian and Coordinator of Research Services, Grinnell College Libraries, Grinnell, IA 50112,

Finding Data Faculty Will Care About: A Mixed-Methods Approach to Citation Analysis

This study builds on existing citation analysis research by having faculty members and students rate sources included on assignment bibliographies. Quantitative data show faculty members rated sources on students’ revised bibliographies higher than students did themselves; preliminary qualitative data analysis indicates that, following a research literacy session, students revised their bibliographies to included stronger sources.