LIBR 285-01
LIBR 285-10
Research Methods in Library and Information Science
Topic: Evaluating Programs and Services
Summer 2013 Greensheet

Cheryl Stenström
Office location: Online only
Office Hours: By appointment via D2L

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D2L Information: This course will be delivered entirely online through D2L. Students will be automatically enrolled in the D2L site for this course. 

Course Description

Covers 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 evaluating, planning, designing, executing, and applying research. In addition to a general research methods class, which examines a variety of research methodologies, SLIS offers a number of applied or specialized sections of LIBR 285 for students to choose from. This section focuses on program evaluation.

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 Requirements

Students' work will be evaluated according to the following specific criteria:
Identify research problem, conduct critical literature review and analysis, collect data, develop a conceptual hypothesis and theory, and produce a formalized research proposal or a research report.

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: link goes to non-SJSU web site

Course Calendar

Date Topic
Week 1
June 4

Introduction to creating and using LIS research
Becoming a researcher

Week 2
June 11

Planning your project
Conducting a Literature Review and Reading Critically

Week 3
June 18
Critical review - summary analysis of a research report or article due June 24 [15%]
Week 4
June 25

Assembling the research argument
Acknowledgments and responses

Week 5
July 2
Literature Review on a Hot Topic due July 8 [20%]
Week 6
July 9


Week 7
July 16
Data Analysis Assignment due July 22 [10%]
Week 8
July 23


Week 9
July 30
Final Library Program Evaluation Research Proposal due August 5 [30%]
Week 10
August 6
IRB training requirement due August 10 [5%]

Course Grading and assignments

  • 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. All you need to place in the Dropbox is your certificate of completion number. The course is located at:
    Supports SLO #4
  • Critical review
    Read critically a research report or article (at least 5 pp. long) and write a short paper (3-5 pp. double spaced) summarizing your understanding and assessment of the research problem, research methods, findings, and recommendations, as well as your assessment of the value of the research and the overall quality of the research report.
    Supports SLO #1
  • Literature review
    Compile a literature review (approximately 20 items) containing a variety of resources, which can include journal and newsletter articles, videos, online programs, virtual world events, recent blog posts, wiki entries, and other rapidly deployed info sources on a hot topic in librarianship that contains a program or service evaluative research opportunity. Briefly describe a research question you might like to pursue based on this literature review.
    Supports SLO #2
  • Data analysis
    Analyze a sample set of data (obtained directly by you or from the instructor), noting the assumptions, definitions, strengths, and limitations of the type of data set you have chosen. Your data analysis need not be exhaustive, but it should be approximately 3-5 pages in length.
    Supports SLO #4
  • Final proposal
    Final written research proposal (10-12 pp. double spaced) describing a real or fictitious library program or service to be evaluated, the research problem(s) inherent in the program or service, the methodology and data collection strategies to be used, a critical literature review, and a plan of action.
    Supports SLO #3
  • Discussions
    A portion of the overall grade is allocated for class participation. For the purposes of this class, participation includes prompt and thoughtful contribution to online discussions, engagement with class activities, and a demonstration that you are making an effort to master the material covered in this course. During most weeks of the course, there will be a new discussion topic posted related to the course readings. You will be required to participate in a minimum of ten topics.
    Supports SLO #2, #3

More details on the assignments will be provided in D2L.
Note: Assignments (except the weekly discussion topics) are due by midnight Pacific Time on the date listed. Deductions of 10% per day will be assessed for late submissions.


Assignment % of final grade
IRB training requirement 5%
Critical review 15%
Literature review 20%
Data analysis 10%
Final proposal 30%
Discussions 20% (2% each)




Week 1

January 25

Intro to creating and using LIS research

Week 2

February 1

Becoming a researcher

Week 3

February 8

Planning your project

Week 4

February 15

Conducting a Literature Review and Reading Critically

Week 5

February 22

Critical review - summary Analysis of a Research Report or Article due September 27 [15%]

Week 6

February 29

Assembling the research argument

Week 7

March 7

Acknowledgments and responses

Week 8

March 14

Literature Review on a Hot Topic due October 18 [20%]

Week 9

March 21


Week 10

March 28


Week 11

April 4


Week 12

April 11

Data Analysis Assignment due November 8 [10%]

Week 13

April 18


Week 14

April 25


Week 15

May 2

Final Library Program Evaluation Research Proposal due November 30 [30%]

Week 16

May 9

IRB training requirement due December 8 [5%]



Course Workload Expectations

Success in this course is based on the expectation that students will spend, for each unit of credit, a minimum of forty-five hours over the length of the course (normally 3 hours per unit per week with 1 of the hours used for lecture) for instruction or preparation/studying or course related activities including but not limited to internships, labs, clinical practica. Other course structures will have equivalent workload expectations as described in the syllabus.

Instructional time may include but is not limited to:
Working on posted modules or lessons prepared by the instructor; discussion forum interactions with the instructor and/or other students; making presentations and getting feedback from the instructor; attending office hours or other synchronous sessions with the instructor.

Student time outside of class:
In any seven-day period, a student is expected to be academically engaged through submitting an academic assignment; taking an exam or an interactive tutorial, or computer-assisted instruction; building websites, blogs, databases, social media presentations; attending a study group;contributing to an academic online discussion; writing papers; reading articles; conducting research; engaging in small group work.

Course Prerequisites

LIBR 200, LIBR 202, LIBR 204

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

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

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

LIBR 285 supports the following core competencies:

  1. L Demonstrate understanding of quantitative and qualitative research methods and of the evaluation and synthesis of research literature.


Required Textbooks:

  • Booth, W., Colomb, G., & Williams, J. (2008). The Craft of Research (3rd ed.). University of Chicago Press. Available through Amazon: 0226065669. 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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