Checking the Results

There are several methods of estimating whether the discussion program is getting results. From those that are listed here it is suggested that each leader select such as appear to offer him a practicable combination for checking the results of his own program.

  1. Attendance: The regularity with which particular individuals attend the meetings and the growth in attendance are indications of success.
  2. Attitudes: A record can be kept of any change in the attitudes of group members with respect to such points as:
    a. Tolerance of opposing opinion.
    b. Willingness to ask questions and express opinions.
    c. Skill in asking pertinent and important questions.
    d. Willingness to listen.
    e. Avoidance of personalities in remarks.
    f. Friendly interest in other group members.
    g. Desire to continue the discussion after the meeting.
  3. Reading habits: Increased use of books and magazines in the library before and after the discussion may be taken as a sign of stirred interest, if the library provides pertinent material.
  4. Group participation: It is possible to appoint someone to keep track of the proportion of available time taken up by the group members as distinguished from speaker or leader. The higher this proportion is, the more successful is the meeting. An increase in the number of individuals participating from meeting to meeting is a healthy sign.
  5. Germane discussion: If the minutes show that the thread of discussion kept close to the announced subject, the discussion may be considered to have been well led. This is not to say, however, that very effective discussions may not develop from an important side issue of the planned subject.
  6. Interest at close of discussion: If the group or audience has evidently not had enough when the leader closes the meeting, the meeting is an obvious success.
  7. Post-discussion interest questionnaires: It is possible to develop a brief questionnaire to measure the success of discussion meetings. The questionnaire should fit local needs. It can contain such questions as:

From EM 1: Guide for Discussion Leaders (1944)