LIBR 285-06
LIBR 285-18
Research Methods in Library and Information Science
Spring 2012 Greensheet

Melissa Wong
Phone: 310-831-0233 (Pacific Time)
Office Hours:
virtual via e-mail and by appointment

I encourage you to email me at any time with a question or issue. You are welcome to call me at home between 9 am and 9 pm Pacific Time. If you are having trouble reaching me, please feel free to email me to arrange an appointment for us to talk on the phone or online.

Greensheet Links
Textbooks and Readings
Course Requirements
D2L Login and Tutorials
iSchool eBookstore

This course will be available on D2L on Monday, January 23. You will be enrolled into the site automatically.

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.

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

Section Description: Assessment of Information Literacy Instruction

Like all sections of LIBR285, this course will provide you with an introduction to research methods in library and information science. This section will have a particular focus on research methods to evaluate and assess information literacy instruction. In the context of the course, information literacy will be defined very broadly and the course content will be relevant for information professionals who plan to teach in a wide variety of settings, not just those in academic and school libraries with traditional IL programs.

The course will cover:

  • Understanding the difference between the assessment of learning and the evaluation of teaching and programs.
  • Using assessment to monitor and improve student learning, as well as to meet external requirements, such as accreditation standards. Conducting the assessment process, including writing learning outcomes; selecting and using appropriate methods of assessment; and gathering and interpreting data.
  • Using evaluation techniques to improve teaching and instructional programs. Conducting the evaluation process, including selecting and using appropriate evaluation methods and gathering and interpreting data.
  • Documenting and communicating assessment and evaluation results for internal and external audiences.

I believe, and research supports me, that students learn best through active engagement with the course materials. In addition to readings from the textbook and professional literature, this course will feature weekly “lectures” – a combination of text, multimedia and activities – that provide further information on the week’s topic and engage you in thinking about and working with the course materials, as well as weekly forum discussions in which everyone is required to participate.

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

Mode of Instruction
This course will use D2L for accessing course materials, online discussions, and submission of assignments. Students are expected to access the course site, read/work through all course materials and participate in discussions on a regular and timely basis.

Assignments and Grading

  • Literature Review (200 pts): Students will compose a research question, identify relevant studies and discussions in the professional literature (15-20 items), and write a literature review.
  • Assessment Design Project (200 pts): Students will conduct a small assessment study, including writing learning outcomes, designing a survey or test question to assess one outcome, and analyzing the resulting data (the instructor will coordinate administering questions to other students in the course).
  • Data Analysis Report (200 pts): Using a set of data provided by the instructor, students will select a learning outcome; identify and analyze appropriate data for evidence of learning; and prepare a report that documents the study results, draws conclusions, and makes recommendations for future instruction.
  • Participation (200 pts): Students will participate in weekly course discussions and activities (including completion of the IRB training that is required in all sections of LIBR285).

Late Work
Assignments are due by the end of the day noted as the due date. I expect all work to be turned in on time or an email with a reasonable explanation as to why your assignment is late and when you plan to complete it. If you do not email me, I reserve the right to deduct 10% for every day an assignment is late. I also reserve the right to give individuals firm deadlines by which any late work must be turned in.

Textbooks and Readings

Additional readings will be available through the SJSU King Library.

Required Textbooks:

  • Burhanna, K., Gedeon, J., Jensen, M., Radcliff, C., & Salem, J. (2007). A practical guide to information literacy assessment for academic librarians. Libraries Unlimited. Available through Amazon: 1591583403 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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