LIBR 285-07
LIBR 285-17
Research Methods in Library and Information Science
Topic: Survey Research
Spring 2012 Greensheet

Katharin Peter
Other contact information: Available to currently enrolled students.
Office Hours: Sundays 10am – 11am Pacific Time Zone via D2L Online Rooms or by appointment. Always available asynchronously via email.

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Textbooks and Readings
Course Requirements
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Enrollment Information: This course will be available on D2L beginning Wednesday, January 25. You will be enrolled into the site automatically. I will send more information about course access as we approach this date 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 of LIBR 285 provides an introduction to survey research in a library settings focusing on conducting user surveys to assess and evaluate services and programs.

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

At the completion of this course, students should be able to demonstrate knowledge of fundamental principles and processes of conducting survey research in a library setting. As an outcome of this course, students will develop a viable survey research proposal and instrument. Specifically, students should be able to:

  • Develop a research question;
  • Conduct a comprehensive review of literature;
  • Design an effective survey instrument and select appropriate survey methods;
  • Analyze and present results.

This section of LIBR 285 supports the following MLIS 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. (Competency L)

Course Requirements

Mode of Instruction
This course will use D2L for online discussions, to provide access to readings and other course materials, and for submitting assignments. The course will be asynchronous with optional attendance to synchronous office hours in Blackboard Contribute accessible through D2L.

Detailed requirements, grading rubrics, and course calendar will be posted in D2L.

  • Online Discussions:  Students are expected to participate in online discussions based on course notes, readings, and exercises. Specifically, students should post a thoughtful response to the discussion prompt and reply to at least one post by a classmate. In some cases, students will be expected to provide group critiques of classmates’ work.  [15 points]
  • Exercises:  Complete 8 exercises designed to provide hands-on experience with the various aspects of survey research and analysis.  [40 points]
  • IRB Training Requirement:  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:  [5 points]
  • Annotated Bibliography:  Compile an annotated bibliography of sources related to research proposal topic.  [10 points]
  • Research Proposal:  Write a formal research proposal appropriate for a master’s thesis or other significant research project. Proposal will expand upon class exercises and annotated bibliography assignment and should include: introduction, review of literature, discussion of methods and sample, pre-test results, final survey instrument and other related documentation.  [25 points]
  • Proposal Presentation:  Presentation of research proposal to classmates via Blackboard Contribute.  [5 points]

Late Assignments Policy
Exercises and assignments submitted after the due date will receive a late penalty. Discussion posts must be posted on time to receive credit. 

Textbooks and Readings

There are two required textbooks for this course (listed below). Additional course readings will be available online or through D2L.

Required Textbooks:

  • Connaway, L. & Powell, R. (2010). Basic research methods for librarians 5th edition. Libraries Unlimited. Available as free eBook through King Library arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Fink, A. (2008). How to conduct surveys: a step-by-step guide. SAGE. Available through Amazon: 141296668X 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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