2017 Conference Workshops

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Full Day Workshops (9:00am - 4:00pm)

Analyzing Data from Visual Artwork: Learning a New Method
Donna DiBartolomeo, Independent Consultant & Zachary Clark, 826DC

This workshop is designed to train participants to use a new method for analyzing data from visual artwork. This one-day training will provide participants with hands-on experience applying the coding scheme to a variety of artworks. Participants can expect to gain a deeper understanding of the implementation of the method, and learn strategies for applying the method at their home institution, including potential for adapting the method for use in their own work. Analyzing artwork produced or presented in visitor settings can provide insight into programs and inform research and evaluation projects. In this workshop, we offer a new method used to capture unbiased, detailed data from the technical and holistic dimensions of artworks. When applied to artwork produced in informal learning settings, this approach will allow educators and evaluators to assess and adapt art-making programs based on data collected from the participants' visual productions.
The Data Visualization and Reporting Game
Lauren Wilson, Illuminated Ideas; Claire Thoma Emmons, The Children's Museum of Indianapolis; Taline Kuyumjian, Evaluation and Visitor Studies Consultant
More than just fun and games (which it totally will be!), this workshop takes the trendy and often intimidating world of data visualization and creative communication and makes it accessible and attainable for VSA participants, particularly those with little prior experience with design, art, and/or visualization. Participants will play games like Graphics for Humanity, Slide Hack, and Movie Visualization supplemented by content, resources, and discussion. The workshop will build participants' creative confidence, increase awareness of the importance of visuals in communication and information retention, expand participants' abilities to create effective charts and graphics, strengthen presentation skills, and highlight strategies to ensure clear written and verbal communication. This playful, interactive workshop will provide visual communication newbies with a comprehensive Data Visualization and Reporting resource list, ready to put to use.

Afternoon Workshop (1:00pm - 4:00pm)

I Can Do That: Simple Strategies to Learn About Visitors
Merilee Mostov, Columbus Museum of Art; Jen Lehe, Columbus Museum of Art; Cindy Foley, Columbus Museum of Art

The Columbus Museum of Art champions a culture of experimentation and innovation which requires an equally varied and creative approach to visitor studies.  CMA staff in several departments design and implement a variety of simple quantitative and qualitative studies to better understand how visitors engage in CMA programs and galleries.  Workshop participants will have the opportunity to observe, question, and learn about several of the strategies conducted by CMA staff in July including gallery time-tracking, visitor interviews, photo documentation, and analysis of visitor-generated content. Using a CMA field guide as a reflection tool, participants will observe visitor studies in action throughout the building. Then gather with CMA staff to learn more about each study including data collection methods, interpretation, and application of the findings to future CMA projects.  Active participation in the form of close observation, reflection, and questioning is encouraged and expected in this workshop.

Wine & Work Workshop (6:00pm - 8:00pm)

Capturing the Visitor Experience Using the Dimensions of Visitor Experience (DoVE) Checklist
Jan Packer, University of Queensland; Lindsay Maldonado, Shedd Aquarium; Jennifer Rigney, Monterey Bay Aquarium; Nick Visscher, Denver Zoo

Although commonly considered the core product offered by visitor attractions such as museums, zoos, and heritage sites, the visitor experience has proved a difficult construct to define and measure. This workshop will explore applications of a checklist designed to capture Dimensions of the Visitor Experience (commonly known as DoVE). The workshop will present the theoretical background and empirical process underpinning the development of the checklist. It will use case studies from three institutions to illustrate current applications of the checklist. Participants will have an opportunity to use, score and interpret results from the checklist. The session will conclude with a discussion around future research, evaluation and benchmarking opportunities using the instrument. Understanding visitor experiences is an important focus for visitor research, because it gives attention to the aspects that are important to visitors and enables staff to empathize and connect with visitors and thus better meet their needs.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Full Day Workshops (9:00am - 4:00pm)

Evaluation 101 Clinic
Nadya Bennett, The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, the Zoo and Aquarium Focused Interest Group (ZAFIG); Jerry Luebke, Chicago Zoological Society-Brookfield Zoo; Marti Copeland, Dallas Zoo; Larry Warner, Mystic Aquarium; Joy Kubarek, PEER Associates; Jennifer Rigney, Monterey Bay Aquarium; Wei Ying Wong, Woodland Park Zoo; Brian Thill, South Carolina Aquarium

The Evaluation 101 Clinic will provide an overview of the start to finish, step-by step process of conducting a basic evaluation project.

Using a case study approach, mentors/leaders in the field will focus on six content themes:
- planning (e.g., types of evaluations and information needs; developing data collection instruments)
- data collection (e.g., random versus non-random sampling)
- data management (e.g., variable coding and data entry)
- data analysis (e.g., quantitative/qualitative data analysis; descriptive versus inferential statistics)
- data interpretation (e.g., turning data into information)
- reporting/communication (e.g., data graphics; types of evaluation reports)

The session will have hands-on activities and presenters will pose questions and scenarios for participants to discuss. Participants will also have an opportunity to go onto Columbus Zoo grounds and practice their interview skills with zoo guests.  Transportation will be provided to and from the workshop.

Exhibition Timing-and-Tracking: What's It Good For? Show Me the Data!
Beverly Serrell, Serrell & Associates

There are several helpful and thorough resources for how to conduct the evaluation method of tracking and timing visitors in museum exhibitions, but less is shared about why museums should undertake this exercise and how the data can be used. This workshop will enable participants to learn more about how to interpret tracking data, how to present it visually for an audience unfamiliar with the method, and ways to make suggestions and recommendations implied by the data. We will look closely at some of the historic data from Melton and others who used tracking as a way to understand visitor behavior and review examples of published evaluation reports that include tracking data. The workshop will include discussion between participants about their experiences with collecting, presenting, interpreting and using tracking data. Participants will also be encouraged to bring their own data to share.

Recruiting, Training, & Maintaining Research and Evaluation Volunteers
Fran Mast, Shedd Aquarium

This workshop will explore how Visitor Studies professionals can expand and grow a team of volunteers to meet the research and evaluation needs of their institutions. In this train-the-trainer style session, participants will discuss barriers and develop solutions to the challenges in recruitment, training, and retention, particularly with interns and volunteers. Participants will have the opportunity to explore recruitment materials, standardized training protocols, and retention methods that have been by Shedd Aquarium's Audience Research and Evaluation team. Participants will work to develop their own recruitment, training, and retention materials tailored to their institutional needs. This workshop is intended for those looking to develop a budding research and evaluation team at their institutions and will provide the knowledge and tools to empower this endeavor.

Morning Workshops (9:00am - 12:00pm)

Making Sense of Visitor Studies Statistics: Part 1 - A Beginner's Framework for Understanding, Interpreting Statistics
Deborah Wasserman, Lifelong Learning Group at COSI's Center for Research and Evaluation

This introductory statistics workshop is designed in two parts. The morning session utilizes hands-on activities to introduce people new to statistics to a framework for understanding the statistics they encounter in reports and journal articles. It also creates a knowledge foundation for the afternoon session which provides a practical "how-to" overview for producing and reporting on the statistics described in the morning session. For both sessions, the overall objective is to provide enough familiarity that participants will feel comfortable accessing online resources for further study.

Afternoon Workshops (1:00pm - 4:00pm)

Making Sense of Visitor Studies Statistics: Part 2 - A "How To" Overview for Conducting Analyses, and Interpreting Results of Simple Inferential Parametric and Nonparametric Analyses
Deborah Wasserman, Lifelong Learning Group at COSI's Center for Research and Evaluation

This introductory statistics workshop is designed in two parts. The morning session utilizes hands-on activities to introduce people new to statistics to a framework for understanding the statistics they encounter in reports and journal articles. It also creates a knowledge foundation for the afternoon session which provides a practical "how-to" overview for producing and reporting on the statistics described in the morning session. For both sessions, the overall objective is to provide enough familiarity that participants will feel comfortable accessing online resources for further study.

Hands-on! Designing Activities to Inspire Group Planning and Data Generation
Lynn Courtney, Museum of Fine Arts - Boston; Paula Lynn, National Gallery of Art

Use of experiential approaches in evaluation projects, focus groups, and planning increases our ability to honor all voices and learning styles, and to hear from a diversity of participants without privileging any one group. Skill in designing and using such activities is not depending on specific content or settings and can be useful to professionals across a variety of informal learning institutions, program areas and consulting practices.

To register for the 2017 VSA Conference, click HERE.