LIBR 285-01
Research Methods in Library and Information Science
Spring 2009 Greensheet

Lili Luo
Office Hours: Fridays 7:00-8:00 pm via Elluminate

Greensheet Links
Textbooks and Readings
Course Requirements
ANGEL Tutorials
iSchool eBookstore

The Angel site for this class will open for self-enrollment on January 17. In order to enroll in the Angel course site, you will need a password access code. The instructor will provide the access code to registered students via the MySJSU messaging system. You should be enrolled by January 25.

Course Description

Research methods covering fundamental principles, processes, values and roles of research for professional application in information organizations. Students will become critical consumers of research products. Emphasis will concentrate on developing, planning, and producing a quality research proposal.

This section provides a general introduction to the skills and concerns of both the producer and the consumer of Library and Information Science research. It teaches students to recognize questions in the their professional domains whose answers could improve professional practice; to learn methods for gathering original data to answer the questions and increase knowledge about the domain; and to learn analytic methods that allow one to synthesize the data into an answer and determine the degree of confidence one can have in the answer and the scope of the answer’s applicability.

Course Prerequisites: None. However, it is recommended that you take 200, 202, and 204 to gain basic knowledge of library and information science before you take 285, if you have no previous exposure to this field.

Waiver Option: If a student has taken and passed a graduate level-research methods course AND completed a thesis or dissertation as part of a previous graduate degree (as documented by an official transcript), the student can petition the SLIS Graduate Advisor to waive the LIBR 285 requirement. A waiver, if granted, does not reduce the total units required for the MLIS degree.

Course Objectives

Student Learning Outcomes
Students will be able to:

  • Conduct a systematic and critical literature review of published research
  • Articulate different types of research methods, appropriately apply them, and understand their respective liabilities
  • Identify and apply ethical concerns connected to primary research
  • Gain exposure to appropriate data compiling tools and procedures
  • Demonstrate knowledge of fundamental principles and processes of conducting research
  • Develop, plan, and produce a research proposal

LIBR 285 supports the following SLIS Core Competencies:

  • Understand the nature of research, research methods and research findings; retrieve, evaluate and synthesize scholarly and professional literature for informed decision-making by specific client groups.
  • Articulate the ethics, values and foundational principles of library and information professionals and their role in the promotion of intellectual freedom

Course Requirements

Course Format
This class is conducted online through Angel and Elluminate. No onsite meetings are required.

Required Elluminate meeting dates:
Feb. 3, Mar. 10 & 17, 6pm-8:30pm PST

Student Responsibilities

  • As a student, you are expected to read and carefully consider all the readings, participate fully in all activities and discussions during the class duration, as well as turning in assignments by the designated time.
  • Due dates are not negotiable. If the instructor needs to change a due date, you will be notified as soon as possible. Because due dates are not negotiable, procrastination should be avoided. If you employ procrastination as a time management tool, this can limit your time in dealing with unexpected problems. The instructor has the right not to accept late assignments or to add significant grade penalties. If you foresee any difficulty in completing your assignment on time, you need to contact the instructor at least 36 hours before the due date to request extension. In addition, as the instructor schedules grading time for assignments, students turning in late assignments may receive their assessment much later than the rest of the class.
  • If you do not understand assignments, readings, etc., it is your responsibility to inform the instructor. If you are having difficulty, please contact me early so that we can resolve problems before your final grade is unchangeable. You may also ask for help from your classmates through the various discussion methods in Blackboard. You must complete all assignments to pass the course.

Assignments and Evaluation

  • Research proposal (35%)
    Develop a 12-page research proposal as the final product of the class. In the proposal, you will identify and formulate your research question, provide a brief review of literature related to your research problem, discuss the methodology to be employed in data collection and analysis, outline your project completion schedule and provide correct APA style citations to sources cited in your proposal.
  • Research method practice (30%)
    • Survey questionnaire design (15%) – this is a group assignment, and you will work with your group members in developing a questionnaire for an assigned topic and reflecting upon the questionnaire design process.
    • Presentation on qualitative research methods (15%) – you will deliver a presentation via Elluminate on qualitative research methods; you have four options: 1) choose a published article that used qualitative research methods, and present your critique of the article; 2) practice qualitative research methods in a particular setting and present  your experience; 3) practice the qualitative field observation method in Second Life and present your observational experience; 4) if your proposed research study involves qualitative research, you may do your presentation on the methodological design of your study.
  • IRB certification (5%)
    Complete the National Cancer Institute’s online workshop titled: “Human Participant Protections Education for Research Teams.” Completion of this workshop is required by all San José State University faculty and students intending to do research with living human subjects. The course can be located at:
    It will take about two hours to complete the workshop. When you have finished the course, you will be given a certificate, which you should submit to me as proof of completion.
  • Review questions (18%)
    You will answer nine sets of review questions throughout the semester to reinforce your understanding of the concepts and techniques discussed in the class.
  • Engagement and participation (12%)
    Engagement and participation in class will reflect: 1) your individual responses to course content and questions posted by the instructor; 2) your responses to your colleagues’ postings; and 3) your involvement in discussion threads throughout the semester. Part of the graduate education experience is to help you learn how to present information with support, and not simply say “Well, I think that….” This also applies to agreeing with someone; the statement “I agree” should be presented with support.

All assignments are must be turned in by midnight of the day they are due. Late submissions will be reduced by 5% of the total points for the assignment for each day they are late.

Textbooks and Readings

Required Textbooks:

  • Babbie, E. R. (2006). The Practice of Social Research (11th ed.). Pacific Grove, CA: Wadsworth Publishing. Available through Amazon: 0495093254. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain

Grading Scale

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
Below 67 F


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) — 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 the following semester. 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).

University Policies

General Expectations, Rights and Responsibilities of the Student

As members of the academic community, students accept both the rights and responsibilities incumbent upon all members of the institution. Students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with SJSU's policies and practices pertaining to the procedures to follow if and when questions or concerns about a class arises. See University Policy S90-5 at More detailed information on a variety of related topics is available in the SJSU catalog at In general, it is recommended that students begin by seeking clarification or discussing concerns with their instructor. If such conversation is not possible, or if it does not serve to address the issue, it is recommended that the student contact the Department Chair as a next step.

Dropping and Adding

Students are responsible for understanding the policies and procedures about add/drop, grade forgiveness, etc. Refer to the current semester's Catalog Policies section at Add/drop deadlines can be found on the current academic year calendars document on the Academic Calendars webpage at The Late Drop Policy is available at Students should be aware of the current deadlines and penalties for dropping classes.

Information about the latest changes and news is available at the Advising Hub at

Consent for Recording of Class and Public Sharing of Instructor Material

University Policy S12-7,, requires students to obtain instructor's permission to record the course and the following items to be included in the syllabus:

  • "Common courtesy and professional behavior dictate that you notify someone when you are recording him/her. You must obtain the instructor's permission to make audio or video recordings in this class. Such permission allows the recordings to be used for your private, study purposes only. The recordings are the intellectual property of the instructor; you have not been given any rights to reproduce or distribute the material."
    • It is suggested that the syllabus include the instructor's process for granting permission, whether in writing or orally and whether for the whole semester or on a class by class basis.
    • In classes where active participation of students or guests may be on the recording, permission of those students or guests should be obtained as well.
  • "Course material developed by the instructor is the intellectual property of the instructor and cannot be shared publicly without his/her approval. You may not publicly share or upload instructor generated material for this course such as exam questions, lecture notes, or homework solutions without instructor consent."

Academic integrity

Your commitment, as a student, to learning is evidenced by your enrollment at San Jose State University. The University Academic Integrity Policy F15-7 at requires you to be honest in all your academic course work. Faculty members are required to report all infractions to the office of Student Conduct and Ethical Development. The Student Conduct and Ethical Development website is available at

Campus Policy in Compliance with the American Disabilities Act

If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, or if you need to make special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment with me as soon as possible, or see me during office hours. Presidential Directive 97-03 at requires that students with disabilities requesting accommodations must register with the Accessible Education Center (AEC) at to establish a record of their disability.

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