LIBR 285-05
LIBR 285-14
Research Methods in Library and Information Science
Spring 2009 Greensheet

Dr. Geoffrey Z. Liu
Phone: (408) 924-2467
Office Location: Clark Hall 418L, SJSU Campus
Office Hours: Email & by appointment

Greensheet Links
Course Calendar
ANGEL Tutorials
iSchool eBookstore
LIBR 285 Resources
Online Resource
Articles for Critique

Textbooks and Readings | Course Requirements

Angel & Elluminate information: Class activities will be carried out in both the Angel and Elluminate systems. Enrollment in the Angel class is mandatory. The Angel course site will be available for self enrollment one week prior to the first day of instruction. Access code for enrolling in the Angel course site will be sent through messaging in 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.

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:

  • Conduct a systematic and critical literature review of published (secondary) research;
  • Students will be able to understand the nature of different source materials;
  • 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

Complete LIBR 203: Online Social Networking: Technology and Tools
This is a mandatory 1 unit course that introduces students to the various e-learning tools used in the SLIS program, including Blackboard, Elluminate and Second Life. This course must be completed by all new SLIS students within the first 4 weeks of their first semester. If you have questions about this course, e-mail Debbie Faires or Dale David.

For more information, see


Students' performance will be evaluated on the basis of the following assignments:

The thesis research proposal -- a term paper -- will be your final product of taking this course. The field project gives students an opportunity to gain hands-on experience of conducting field observation and data gathering. For the assignments of research critique, students will be asked to choose a published paper of each specific research type from a major research journal in the field of library and information science. After carefully examining the paper, students need to write a critique of the research by identifying its merits, weaknesses and pitfalls in all aspects. Guidelines for all assignments will be given in class meeting.

All written work should be word processed and free of grammatical and spelling errors. For guidelines on format and editorial issues, click on this link and refer to the "Editorial Issues" section.

If help is needed to improve your academic writing, free tutoring is available at the Learning Assistance Resource Center (924-2587), in the Student Services Center Room 600, by appointment or walk-in during regular business hours.

Late work will not be accepted unless the student has made arrangement in advance with the instructor for a legitimate reason, with proper documentation in the case of unexpected urgent situation. 

It is students' responsibility to submit and maintain the electronic version of their work until the final grade is issued.

Course Calendar

See the course calendar page.

Course Grading

Students' work will be evaluated according to the following specific criteria.

  • Basic content as required (70%);
  • Originality and creativity (10%);
  • Clarity of writing (10%);
  • Presentation (10%).

Letter grades will be assigned to all assignments. The Standard SJSU SLIS Grading Scale will be used to translate letter grades to points and vice visa.

Required Textbooks:

  • Neuman, W. L. (2005). Social research methods: Qualitative and quantitative approaches (6th ed.). Allyn and Bacon. Available through Amazon: 0205457932. 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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