LIBR 285-12
LIBR 285-19
Research Methods in Library and Information Science
Spring 2012 Greensheet

Dr. Suellen S. Adams
Other contact information:AIM/iChat SuellenPhD2B  
Office location: virtual
Office Hours: by appointment on chat or Elluminate

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Textbooks and Readings
Course Requirements
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D2L Information: You will be enrolled into the D2L site for this course automatically. I will send more information about course access as we approach the beginning of the semester through MySJSU.

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 and learn the basic skills of planning, designing, executing and reporting research as well as evaluating and applying published research findings. 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 student to recognize and develop questions in their professional areas whose answers could improve professional practice; to learn methods to gather original data to answer those questions; and learn analytic methods that allow synthesis of the data into an answer and determine the degree of confidence one can have in the answer, as well as the scope of applicability.  These concept will include both quantitative and qualitative methods and will apply to evaluation of others' research, as well as creation of the student's own research proposal.

Course Prerequisites: LIBR200, LIBR202, LIBR204, and demonstrated writing proficiency required.

285 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. See Waiver option

Course Objectives

Student Learning Outcomes
Students will be able to:

  • Understand the difference between primary and secondary research;
  • Demonstrate knowledge of fundamental principles and processes of conducting research;
  • Articulate the research method(s) covered in the course, appropriately apply them, and understand their strengths and liabilities;
  • Understand appropriate data collection/analysis tools, and ethical concerns related to research.

LIBR 285 supports the following MLIS Core Competency:

  • 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. (Competency L)

Course Requirements

Course format
This class will be conducted primarily online on the D2L system, with possible optional sessions on Eluminate.

Students' Responsibilities

  • Students are expected to read and carefully reflect on all the readings, participate fully in all activities and discussions for the duration of the class, and turn in assignments are when they are due.
  • Due dates are not negotiable. On rare occasions the instructor may extend a due date, otherwise all assignments are expected to be on time. The instructor is aware that there are unexpected emergencies in life, such as an illness or family emergency.  Such circumstances will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and it is important that you communicate with the instructor in these cases.  The instructor reserves the right to assess grade penalties and delay grading of late assignments where no satisfactory arrangements have been made.
  • If there is something that you do not understand, it is your responsibility to communicate with the instructor about it. If you are having a problem, please initiate contact early so that we can take care of the problem before your final grade is affected. You may also ask for help from your classmates through various discussion venues in D2L. You must complete all of the assignments to pass the course.

Assignments and Evaluation

  • Research proposal (33% corresponds with all 4 learning outcomes above) Develop a 12-page research proposal as the final product of the class. In the paper, you will identify and formulate your research question, provide a brief literature review related to the problem, discuss the methodology to be used in data collection and analysis, outline a project completion schedule and provide correct APA style citations to sources cited in your proposal. 
  • Research method practice (44%, corresponds all 4 learning outcomes above)  
    • Survey questionnaire design (15%) - this is a group assignment, and you will workwith your group members to develop a questionnaire for an assigned topic, andreflect on the design process
    • Report on qualitative methods (15%) - you will create a report on qualitative research methods, you will provide a short written paper, and then you will create a presentation using some technology such as PowerPoint, VoiceThreads, Xtranormal, video to be posted on D2L for fellow students to share. You have 4 choices for the report: 1)choose a published article using qualitative methods and write and present your critiques of the article; 2) practice qualitative research methods in a particular setting and write and present your experience; 3) practice qualitative field observation in Second Life and write and present your observational experience; 4) If your proposed study involves qualitative research, you may write and present about the methodological design of your proposed study.
    • Quantitative data analysis quizzes (14%) - you will have a set of quizzes to allow you to demonstrate your understanding of quantitative data analysis techniques.
  • IRB Training Requirement (5%, corresponds with the 4th outcome above)        Complete the National Institute of Health’s online workshop titled: “Protecting Human Research Participants (PHRP).” 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: link goes to non-SJSU web site It should take about 2 hours to complete
  • Weekly discussion and classwork (18%, corresponds with all 4 learning outcomes above)                                                                                                 You are required to participate in a series of class discussions and other weekly responses. Your contribution will take the form of both individual reactions, and responses to your colleagues' postings.  You will be evaluated for your involvement in and contribution to the collaborative learning community. Part of the graduate experience is learning how to present information with support, and not just give unsupported opinion. This is equally true of responses to colleagues. You need to go beyond "I agree" to give support for your agreement (or divergent opinion)

All assignments are due by midnight (PST) of the due date.  The professor retains the right to reduce the grade of late  submissions. If there is a pressing reason for lateness, please communicate with the professor as early as possible.

Course Calendar
Due dates for major assignments are below, a full calendar will be available on D2L.

IRB Certification February 14
Stats quiz #1 March 13
Survey questionnaire design April 3
Stats quiz #2 April 17
Qualitative project April 24
Proposal May 8

All dates are subject to change with fair notice.

Textbooks and Readings

  • Other readings of interest may be assigned throughout the course

Required Textbooks:

  • Babbie, E. R. (2009). The Practice of Social Research (12th ed.). Pacific Grove, CA: Wadsworth Publishing. Available through Amazon: 0495598410. 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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