Research Methods in Records Management and Archival Science
Fall 2016 Syllabus
Joshua J. Zimmerman
Office Hours: By appointment. Appointments can be via telephone or online.
Canvas Login and Tutorials
Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning August 24th, 6 am PDT unless you are taking an intensive or a one unit or two unit class that starts on a different day. In that case the class will open on the first day that the class meets.
You will be enrolled into the Canvas site automatically.
Overview of research methods in the social sciences and their application to research about and within archives and records centers. Research design, human subjects, quantitative and qualitative methods, model studies, methodological critique and evaluation, data analysis and presentation.
Lectures, discussions, assignments, and rubrics will be posted to the Canvas course management system. Links to additional materials will be provided in Canvas as well.
Total number of points is 100. Here is a brief summary of the assignments and points earned:
- Student Introduction post to discussion board - 2 points
- Discussion based on material covered - 2 points each X 9 = 18 points
- Protecting Human Research Participants Certification Course - 5 points (CLO #4, 6)
- Survey Questionnaire Group Project - 20 points (CLOs #2, 4, 5)
- Annotated Bibliography Assignment - 10 points (CLOs #1)
- Research Proposal: Topic Proposal Assignment - 5 points (CLO #2, 4)
- Research Proposal: Literature Review Assignment - 15 points (CLOs #1, 2, 3)
- Research Proposal: Final Research Proposal Assignment - 25 points (CLOs #1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
Note: For weeks with required discussion board postings, students should provide their initial post by Wednesday at midnight (11:59 PM, Pacific Time), to leave ample time for follow-up discussion. Please participate early and actively in the required discussions.
Details for all of the discussions and assignments will be provided in Canvas.
Unless otherwise noted, each module begins on Monday (12:01 AM, Pacific Time) and ends on Sunday 11:59 PM, Pacific Time). Assignments will be due by midnight (11:59 PM, Pacific Time) on the due date.
|Introductions: August 24 - August 28||Introductions||
Discussion: Student Introductions
|Module 1: August 29 - September 4||Investigation (Barnes chapter 1)||
|Module 2: September 5 - September 11||Design (Barnes - chapter 2)||
Assignment 1: Annotated Bibliography due September 11.
|Monday, September 5: Labor Day - NO CLASS|
|Module 3: September 12 - September 18||Measurement (Barnes - chapter 3)||
|Module 4: September 19 - September 25||Indexes and Scales (Barnes - chapter 4)||
Assignment 2: Topic Proposal due September 25.
|Module 5: September 26 - October 2||Sampling (Barnes - chapter 5)||
|Assignment: October 3 - October 9||See Assignments||Assignment 3: Completion of Protecting Human Research Participants Certification Course - Upload a copy of the completion certificate to Canvas in order to receive credit. Due October 9.|
|Module 6: October 10 - October 16||Ethics (Barnes - chapter 6)||
|Module 7: October 17 - October 23||Experiments (Barnes - chapter 7)||Lecture Review|
|Module 8: October 24 - October 30||Survey Research (Barnes - chapter 8)||
|Module 9: October 31 - November 6||Evaluation Research (Barnes - chapter 9)||
Assignment 4: Literature Review due November 6.
|Module 10: November 7 - November 13||Field-Based Research (Barnes - chapter 10)||
|Thursday, November 11: Veteran's Day: NO CLASS|
|Module 11: November 14 - November 20||Other Types of Research (Barnes - chapter 11)||
Assignment 5: Survey Questionnaire Group Project due November 20.
|Module 12: November 21 - November 23||Research Dissemination Mini-Module||
Discussion due by midnight (11:59 PM, Pacific Time) on Wednesday, November 23.
|Thursday, November 24 and Friday, November 25: Thanksgiving - NO CLASS|
|Module 13: November 28 - December 4||Data Analyses: Qualitative and Quantitative (Barnes - chapter 12)||
|Module 14: December 5 - December 12 (extended)||Course Wrap Up||
Assignment 6: Final Research Proposal due December 12.
Please complete the SOTES (Student Opinion of Teaching Effectiveness) by December 12.
**No Class: Monday, September 5, 2015 (Labor Day)
**No Class: Thursday, Nov. 11, 2015 (Veterans Day)
**No Class: Thursday-Friday, Nov. 24-25, 2015 (Thanksgiving Holiday)
- Course grades are determined by the accumulation of 100 possible points, distributed as outlined above in the course calendar.
- This class follows the standard iSchool Grading Scale.
- Late assignements will not be accepted after 5 days past the due date. Late assignements submitted after the assignment deadline will recieve a 10% point reduction for each day up to 5 days based on the total point value of the assignment. For example, a 25 point assignment would have a daily 2.5 point reduction; a 15 point assignment would have a daily 1.5 point reduction; a 5 point assignment would have a daily .5 point reduction. No Points will be awarded after 5 days late.
- Discussion board postings will not be accepted for credit after the week's discussion has ended.
- All course materials must be completed by the last day of the class.
Course Workload Expectations
Success in this course is based on the expectation that students will spend, for each unit of credit, a minimum of forty-five hours over the length of the course (normally 3 hours per unit per week with 1 of the hours used for lecture) for instruction or preparation/studying or course related activities including but not limited to internships, labs, clinical practica. Other course structures will have equivalent workload expectations as described in the syllabus.
Instructional time may include but is not limited to:
Working on posted modules or lessons prepared by the instructor; discussion forum interactions with the instructor and/or other students; making presentations and getting feedback from the instructor; attending office hours or other synchronous sessions with the instructor.
Student time outside of class:
In any seven-day period, a student is expected to be academically engaged through submitting an academic assignment; taking an exam or an interactive tutorial, or computer-assisted instruction; building websites, blogs, databases, social media presentations; attending a study group;contributing to an academic online discussion; writing papers; reading articles; conducting research; engaging in small group work.
MARA 285 has no prerequisite requirements.
Course Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:
- Retrieve, critically evaluate, and synthesize scholarly and professional literature.
- Critically assess the different types of research methods (i.e., experimental, qualitative, participatory, etc.) and their applications.
- Conduct a literature search and develop a literature review on a selected research topic using a variety of information soruces.
- Design a research study and write a quality research proposal.
- Utilize popular statistical analysis software for analysis of research data.
- Demonstrate an understanding of the principles of ethical research and the importance of devising strategies to protect human subjects.
MARA 285 supports the following core competencies:
- I Understand research design and research methods and possess the analytical, written, and oral communication skills to synthesize and disseminate research findings.
- Barnes, N.D. (2014). Research methods for the RIM professional. Overland Park, KS: ARMA International. Available directly from publisher
The standard SJSU School of Information Grading Scale is utilized for all iSchool courses:
|97 to 100||A|
|94 to 96||A minus|
|91 to 93||B plus|
|88 to 90||B|
|85 to 87||B minus|
|82 to 84||C plus|
|79 to 81||C|
|76 to 78||C minus|
|73 to 75||D plus|
|70 to 72||D|
|67 to 69||D minus|
In order to provide consistent guidelines for assessment for graduate level work in the School, these terms are applied to letter grades:
- C represents Adequate work; a grade of "C" counts for credit for the course;
- B represents Good work; a grade of "B" clearly meets the standards for graduate level work;
For core courses in the MLIS program (not MARA or Informatics) — INFO 200, INFO 202, INFO 204 — the iSchool requires that students earn a B in the course. If the grade is less than B (B- or lower) after the first attempt you will be placed on administrative probation. You must repeat the class if you wish to stay in the program. If - on the second attempt - you do not pass the class with a grade of B or better (not B- but B) you will be disqualified.
- A represents Exceptional work; a grade of "A" will be assigned for outstanding work only.
Students are advised that it is their responsibility to maintain a 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA).
Per University Policy S16-9, university-wide policy information relevant to all courses, such as academic integrity, accommodations, etc. will be available on Office of Graduate and Undergraduate Programs' Syllabus Information web page at:
In order to request an accommodation in a class please contact the Accessible Education Center and register via the MyAEC portal.
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