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Initial funding provided by:
The New Directions in Audience Research project is an IMLS-funded grant project that seeks to train graduate students in audience research & evaluation within informal learning settings through laboratory style coursework that integrates the strengths of mentoring, fieldwork, academics and client-centered experiences. Audience Research & Evaluation is a fairly new, and ever increasing field and one we feel is integral to all aspects of museum practice. In fact, most students who enroll in the coursework associated with New Directions do not want to be full time evaluators, rather, they want to be able to effectively incorporate outcomes based planning and research-based practice into their chosen area of the museum world and to be able to advocate for evaluation within the field.
Structure & Overview
New Directions students may enroll in as many as 5 academic quarters beginning with an Introduction course in Winter their first year. Then, spring quarter students team up to develop and conduct an audience evaluation project of their own design at a local museum. These projects give students a taste of managing a project from start to finish including a culminating presentation session to the local community as well as a formal evaluation report published to informalscience.org. Students who choose to continue into their second year will embark on the final phase of New Directions, the client projects. These are in depth evaluation projects, which span the course of the entire year. During fall, students work collaboratively with a local museum to form goals, and design a study. During winter students manage the project, and train first year Museology students (who are enrolled in the Intro course) to assist in collecting data for your projects. Spring encompasses all aspects of data analysis and reporting culminating with a formal report published to informalscience.org, an on-site presentation given to museum staff, and an academic poster prepared for presentation at the annual Visitor Studies Association Conference.