LIBR 285-08
LIBR 285-20
Research Methods in Library and Information Science
Fall 2013 Greensheet

Jason Kaltenbacher, MA
Office Hours: By appointment. Appointments can be via telephone or online.

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D2L Information: This course will be available beginning August 21, 2013. You will be enrolled into the site automatically.

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.

This section presents these concepts within the context of archives and records management. Students are trained in research design, which includes the recognition of a research problem and the development of a research topic, literature review, and research proposal. Students are introduced to research methodologies, including observation methods, sampling design, surveys and experiments, quantitative and qualitative research and analysis, statistical analysis, and the ethics of social research. Students obtain certification for research with live human subjects.

LIBR 285 is required for all students who entered the MLIS program from Spring 2007. Effective for students who enter the program in Fall 2010 LIBR 285 must be taken within the first 24 units.

Waiver of LIBR 285: See Waiver option for those who completed a graduate-level methods course AND completed a thesis or dissertation as part of a previous graduate degree.

Course Requirements

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


Lectures, discussions, assignments, and rubrics will be posted to the Desire2Learn course management system. Links to additional materials will be provided in Desire2Learn as well.

Here is a brief summary of the assignments and points earned:

  • Student Introduction post to discussion board - 20 points
  • Discussion based on material covered - 20 points each X 8 = 160 points
  • Protecting Human Research Participants Certification Course - 50 points (SLO #4)
  • Survey Questionnaire Group Project - 100 points (SLOs #1, 2, 3, 4)
  • Research Proposal: Topic Proposal Assignment - 50 points (SLO #2)
  • Research Proposal: Annotated Bibliography Assignment - 100 points (SLOs #1, 2, 3)
  • Research Proposal: Literature Review Assignment - 100 points (SLOs #1, 2, 3)
  • Research Proposal: Final Research Proposal Assignment - 200 points (SLOs #1, 2, 3, 4)

Total total number of points for this call is 780.

NOTE: For weeks with required discussion board postings, students should provide their initial post by Wednesday at midnight (pacific time), to leave ample time for follow-up discussion. Please participate early and actively in the required discussions.

Details for all of the discussions and assignments will be provided in Desire2Learn.

Assignments Due
Unless otherwise noted, each academic week beings on Monday and ends on Sunday. Assignments will be due by midnight (pacific time) on the due date.

Course Calendar

Week/Dates Primary Readings Assignment
Week 1 (extended week):

Aug. 21 - Sept. 1
Human inquiry and science; Paradigms, theory, and social research (Chs. 1 & 2) Review lecture

Introductory post

Discussion board
Sept. 2 Labor Day (NO CLASS)  
Week 2:

Sept. 2-8
Research design (Ch. 4) Review lecture

Research Proposal: Topic Proposal Assignment; Due: Sept. 8th
Week 3:

Sept. 9-15
Reading and writing social research (Ch. 17) Review lecture

Discussion board
Week 4:

Sept. 16-22
Conceptualization, operationalization, and measurement (Ch. 5) Review lecture
Week 5:

Sept. 23-29
Indexes, scales, and typologies; The logic of sampling (Chs. 6 & 7) Review lecture

Discussion board

Research Proposal: Annotated Bibliography Assignment; Due: Sept. 29th
Week 6:

Sept. 30 - Oct. 6
Modes of observation - experiments (Ch. 8) Review lecture
Week 7:

Oct. 7-13
Modes of observation - survey research (Ch. 9) Review lecture

Discussion board
Week 8:

Oct. 14-20
Modes of observation - qualitative field research (Ch. 10) Review lecture

Research Proposal: Literature Review Assignment; Due: Oct. 20th
Week 9:

Oct. 21-27
Modes of observation - unobtrusive research (Ch. 11) Review lecture
Week 10:

Oct. 28 - Nov. 3
Modes of observation - evaluation research (Ch. 12) Review lecture

Discussion board
Week 11:

Nov. 4-10
Qualitative data analysis; Quantitative data analysis (Chs. 13 & 14) Review lecture

Discussion board

Completion of Protecting Human Research Participants Certification Course - Upload a copy of the completion certificate to the dropbox in order to receive credit; Due: Nov. 10th
Nov. 11 Veteran's Day (NO CLASS)  
Week 12:

Nov. 11-17
The logic of multivariate analysis (Ch. 15) Review lecture

Research Methods: Survey Questionnaire Group Project; Due: Nov. 17th
Week 13 (extended week):

Nov. 18 - Dec. 1
Statistical Analyses (Ch. 16) Review lecture

Discussion board
Nov. 28-29 Thanksgiving Holiday (NO CLASS)  
Week 14 (extended week):

Dec 2-9
The ethics and politics of social research (Ch. 3) Review lecture

Discussion board

Research Proposal: Final Research Proposal Assignment; Due: Dec 9th

Please consider completing the SOTE (Student Opinion of Teaching Effectiveness). Optional but appreciated; Due: Dec. 9th

**No Class: Monday, Sept. 2, 2013 (Labor Day)

**No Class: Monday, Nov. 11, 2013 (Veteran's Day)

**No Class: Thursday-Friday, Nov. 28-29, 2013 (Thanksgiving Holiday)


  1. Course grades are determined by the accumulation of 780 possible points, distributed as outlined above in the course calendar.
  2. This class follows the standard SLIS Grading Scale. 
  3. Late assignments will not be accepted after 5 days past the due date. Late assignments submitted after the assignment deadline will receive a 10% point reduction for each day up to 5 days based on the total point value of the assignment. For example, a 100 point assignment would have a daily 10 point reduction. No points will be awarded after 5 days.
  4. Discussion board postings will not be accepted for credit after the week's discussion has ended.
  5. All course materials must be completed by the last day of the class.

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:

  • Babbie, E. (2012). The practice of social research (13th ed.). Wadsworth Publishing. Available through Amazon: 1133049796arrow 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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