A confession. My brain is weird.
Why? Well, this what happens when I approach a new data set.
1 - Blankness. Lots of numbers. Just … data.
2 - "There's nothing new here!" Or, the data doesn't tell me anything. Sigh.
3 - "Hmmmmm ….. Huh?"
4 - "OMG there is this huge 3D sculpture that just snapped into my brain of the data and it has all these amazing interconnections and how will I ever make sense of this there is so much here I am overwhelmed"
5 - Frantic running of new filters and reports based on said above 3D sculpture that now resides in the virtual space of my brain
6 - Wow, there is so much here! I'm so excited and I can't wait to share!
7 - I begin sharing.
Right now, I am around step 5 but seeing step 6 around the corner. That tendril of excitement is starting to grow.
So let me tell you the gist of the survey I ran this fall.
Psychologists and educational scholars talk a lot about the difference between intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation in learning and human development. Generally, individuals with stronger intrinsic motivation tend to outperform those with stronger extrinsic motivation. The type of motivation matters.
I wanted to push this further and consider intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivations by overlaying them on behaviors around museums and values around community. How are they intertwined? Do people who are driven by stronger intrinsic motivation have different value systems about community than those with a stronger extrinsic motivation?
Then, are there ways that we can identify who is more likely to be intrinsically motivated to learn, formally or informally, and thus inherently value museums? Who are the people who are extrinsically motivated, and need to see more specific evidence about why museums matter? What evidence will they respond to?
To find out, this fall I fielded a general population sample of 1,687 American adults (1,289 completes, 398 partials). In particular, this is large enough for me to have stable samples of Americans with lower educational attainment...people that don't visit museums nearly as much as those with college degrees.
All questions were closed-ended, and only begin to sort out the values, philosophies, behaviors, and attitudes of the segments I am beginning to see. But it is a start, and provides a solid platform for deeper research going forward.
I'll begin sharing more in the next few weeks, as I move from step 5 to step 7.
I respectfully acknowledge that I live and work on the traditional lands of the Duwamish people. I thank them for the care of this land, and I endeavor to help museums bring forward a more complete and inclusive history and culture in their work.