Research Methods in Library and Information Science
Spring 2015 Greensheet
Dr. H. Frank Cervone
Office location: online
Office Hours: by appointment
Canvas Login and Tutorials
Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning January 22nd, 12:01am PST unless you are taking an intensive or a one unit or two unit class that starts on a different day. In that case the class will open at 12:01am PST on the first day that the class meets.
You will be enrolled into the Canvas site automatically.
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, the iSchool offers a number of applied or specialized sections of LIBR 285 for students to choose from. This section focuses on the frequently used research methods in library and information practice.
We will be looking research projects from two different perspectives. The readings from "Social Science Research: Principles, Methods, and Practices" will focus on the skills and knowledge you need to effectively conduct and evaluate research projects. The readings from "Naked Statistics" (which are rather entertaining) are designed to help you become a more informed consumer of statistical information through examples of statistical analysis in a variety of contexts. The goal is not to make you a statistician but rather someone who can critically evaluate the methods and techniques within a research project that uses statistics.
LIBR 285 is required for all students who entered the MLIS program from Spring 2007.
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 Grading and assignments
- Weekly discussion threads - Each week you will participate in discussion threads. These threads will be based on a topic from the week’s readings. The purpose of these discussions is to both demonstrate and enhance your knowledge related to methods and techniques that are useful in research. Supports SLO #1, #2, #3, #4
- IRB training requirement - To fulfill this requirement, you must complete the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) online workshop titled: "Students conducting no more than minimal risk research." While completion of this workshop is required by all San José State University students doing research with living human subjects. However, this IRB training requirement is mandatory in LIBR 285 whether or not you intend to do research with human subjects. The course can be located at: https://www.citiprogram.org (you must register to access the course). To demonstrate completion, you will need to upload your certificate of completion. Supports SLO #4
- Literature review - The purpose of this assignment is to give you experience reviewing and critiquing research that will contribute to a study of your own, You will compile a literature review of no less than 10 items on a topic related to evaluation and assessment that is of interest to you, related to libraries or information organizations, and can form the basis of the research for your final project. You may include journal and newsletter articles, videos, online programs, recent blog posts, wiki entries, and other rapidly deployed info sources as part of the review but you must include no fewer than 5 scholarly, peer-reviewed sources. The paper should be approximately 4 to 6 pages long, not including the title page and bibliography. All citations must be in APA format. Supports SLO #2
- Data and methods critique - The purpose of this assignment is to familiarize you with analyzing and critiquing research work. You will analyze an evaluation or assessment study in a library or information organization noting the assumptions, definitions, strengths, and limitations of the research methodology and type of data collected in the study. While the analysis need not be exhaustive, it should be approximately 4-6 pages in length, not including title page or bibliography. All references must be in APA format. Supports SLO #4
- Final research proposal - The final written research proposal is a document that describes a research project in library or information science that you wish to perform. Your paper will document:
- the research problem(s),
- the methodology and data collection strategies to be used,
- a critical literature review relevant to the topic, and
- a plan of action for the implementation of the research proposal.
Supports SLO #3
Additional details on the assignments will be provided in the course website.
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%|
|Data and methods critique||15%|
The topics for each week are indicated below along with the required readings from both "Social Science Research: Principles, Methods, and Practices" (SSR) and "Naked Statistics" (NS). The calendar of topics is subject to change with fair notice. However, in no case, will the due date of an assignment be moved up.
|Week 1||Course introductions
Science and scientific research and Thinking like a researcher - SSR Chapters 1 and 2
Introduction to statistics - NS Chapter 1
|Week 2||The research process - SSR Chapter 3
Introduction to statistics - NS Chapter 2
|Week 3||Theories in Scientific Research - SSR Chapters 4
Description and Correlation - NS Chapters 3, 4
|Week 4||Research Design and Research Ethics - SSR Chapters 5 and 16|
|Week 5||Measurement of constructs - SSR Chapter 6
Basic probability - NS Chapters 5, 5 ½
|Week 6||Scale reliability and validity - SSR Chapter 7
Problems with probability - NS Chapter 6
|Week 7||Literature review|
|Week 8||Sampling and survey research - SSR Chapters 8 and 9
The importance of data and polling - NS Chapter 7, 10
|Week 9||Experimental research - SSR Chapter 10
Central Limit Theorem - NS Chapter 8
|Week 10||Data and Methods Critique|
|Week 11||Case and interpretive research - SSR Chapters 11 and 12
Inference - NS Chapter 9
|Week 12||Qualitative analysis - SSR Chapter 13
Regression Analysis and Common Mistakes - NS Chapters 11, 12
|Week 13||Descriptive statistics - SSR Chapter 14
Program Evaluation - NS Chapter 13
|Week 14||Inferential Statistics – SSR Chapter 15
IRB training requirement
|Week 15||Final Research Proposal|
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.
LIBR 200, LIBR 202, LIBR 204.
Student Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of the course, 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.
Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)
LIBR 285 supports the following core competencies:
- L Demonstrate understanding of quantitative and qualitative research methods and of the evaluation and synthesis of research literature.
- Bhattacherjee, A. (2012). Social science research: Principles, methods, and practices. University of South Florida Scholar Commons. Available through Amazon: 1475146124
- Wheelan, C. (2013). Naked statistics: Stripping the dread from the data. New York, NY: W.W. Norton. Available through Amazon: 039334777X
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|
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).
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 http://www.sjsu.edu/senate/docs/S90-5.pdf. More detailed information on a variety of related topics is available in the SJSU catalog at http://info.sjsu.edu/web-dbgen/catalog/departments/LIS.html. 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 http://info.sjsu.edu/static/catalog/policies.html. Add/drop deadlines can be found on the current academic year calendars document on the Academic Calendars webpage at http://www.sjsu.edu/provost/services/academic_calendars/. The Late Drop Policy is available at http://www.sjsu.edu/aars/policies/latedrops/policy/. 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 http://www.sjsu.edu/advising/.
Consent for Recording of Class and Public Sharing of Instructor Material
University Policy S12-7, http://www.sjsu.edu/senate/docs/S12-7.pdf, 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."
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 http://www.sjsu.edu/senate/docs/F15-7.pdf 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 http://www.sjsu.edu/studentconduct/.
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 http://www.sjsu.edu/president/docs/directives/PD_1997-03.pdf requires that students with disabilities requesting accommodations must register with the Accessible Education Center (AEC) at http://www.sjsu.edu/aec to establish a record of their disability.
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