MARA 285-10
Research Methods in Records Management and Archival Science
Fall 2015 Greensheet

Joshua J. Zimmerman
Office Hours: By appointment. Appointments can be via telephone or online.

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Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning August 20, 6 am PDT 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 on the first day that the class meets. Course sites will close on February 28, 2016.

You will be enrolled into the Canvas site automatically.

Course Description

Overview of research methods in the social sciences and their application to research about and within archives and records centers. Research design, human subjects, quantitative and qualitative methods, model studies, methodological critique and evaluation, data analysis and presentation.

Course Requirements

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

Total number of points is 100. Here is a brief summary of the assignments and points earned:

  • Student Introduction post to discussion board - 2 points
  • Discussion based on material covered - 2 points each X 9 = 18 points
  • Protecting Human Research Participants Certification Course - 5 points (CLO #4, 6)
  • Survey Questionnaire Group Project - 20 points (CLOs #2, 4, 5)
  • Annotated Bibliography Assignment - 10 points (CLOs #1)
  • Research Proposal: Topic Proposal Assignment - 5 points (CLO #2, 4)
  • Research Proposal: Literature Review Assignment - 15 points (CLOs #1, 2, 3)
  • Research Proposal: Final Research Proposal Assignment - 25 points (CLOs #1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

Note: For weeks with required discussion board postings, students should provide their initial post by Wednesday at midnight (12:00 AM, 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 Canvas.

Assignments Due

Unless otherwise noted, each module begins on Monday (12:01 AM, Pacific Time) and ends on Sunday 12:00 AM Pacific Time). Assignments will be due by midnight (12:00 AM, Pacific Time) on the due date.


Course Calendar

Modules/Weeks/Days Title (Readings) Assignments
Introductions: August 20 - August 23 Introductions

Lecture Review

Discussion: Student Introductions

Module 1: August 24 - August 30 Investigation (Barnes chapter 1)

Lecture Review


Module 2: August 31 - September 6 Design (Barnes - chapter 2)

Lecture Review

Assignment 1: Annotated Bibliography due September 6.

Monday, September 7: Labor Day - NO CLASS    
Module 3: September 8 - September 13 Measurement (Barnes - chapter 3)

Lecture Review


Module 4: September 14 - September 20 Indexes and Scales (Barnes - chapter 4)

Lecture Review

Assignment 2: Topic Proposal due September 20.

Module 5: September 21 - September 27 Sampling (Barnes - chapter 5)

Lecture Review


Assignment: September 28 - October 4 See Assignments Assignment 3: Completion of Protecting Human Research Participants Certification Course - Upload a copy of the completion certificate to Canvas in order to receive credit. Due October 4.
Module 6: October 5 - October 11 Ethics (Barnes - chapter 6)

Lecture Review


Module 7: October 12 - October 18 Experiments (Barnes - chapter 7) Lecture Review
Module 8: October 19 - October 25 Survey Research (Barnes - chapter 8)

Lecture Review


Module 9: October 26 - November 1 Evaluation Research (Barnes - chapter 9)

Lecture Reivew

Assignment 4: Literature Review due November 1.

Module 10: November 2 - November 8 Field-Based Research (Barnes - chapter 10)

Lecture Review


Module 11: November 9 - November 15 Other Types of Research (Barnes - chapter 11)

Lecture Review

Assignment 5: Survey Questionnaire Group Project due November 15.

Wednesday, November 11: Veterans Day - NO CLASS  


Module 12: November 16 - November 22 Data Analyses: Qualitative and Quantitative (Barnes - chapter 12)

Lecture Review


Module 13: November 23 - November 25 Research Dissemination Mini-Module

Lecture Review

Discussion due by midnight (12:00 AM, Pacific Time) on Wednesday November 25.

Thursday, November 26 and Friday, November 27: Thanksgiving - NO CLASS    
Module 14: November 30 - December 8 (extended) Course Wrap Up

Lecture Review


Assignment 6: Final Research Proposal due December 8.

Please complete the SOTES (Student Opinion of Teaching Effectiveness) by December 8.


**No Class: Monday, September 7, 2015 (Labor Day)

**No Class: Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015 (Veterans Day)

**No Class: Thursday-Friday, Nov. 26-27, 2015 (Thanksgiving Holiday)


  1. Course grades are determined by the accumulation of 100 possible points, distributed as outlined above in the course calendar.
  2. This class follows the standard iSchool Grading Scale.
  3. Late assignements will not be accepted after 5 days past the due date. Late assignements submitted after the assignment deadline will recieve a 10% point reduction for each day up to 5 days based on the total point value of the assignment. For example, a 25 point assignment would have a daily 2.5 point reduction; a 15 point assignment would have a daily 1.5 point reduction; a 5 point assignment would have a daily .5 point reduction. No Points will be awared after 5 days late.
  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

MARA 285 has no prerequisite requirements.

Course Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Retrieve, critically evaluate, and synthesize scholarly and professional literature.
  2. Critically assess the different types of research methods (i.e., experimental, qualitative, participatory, etc.) and their applications.
  3. Conduct a literature search and develop a literature review on a selected research topic using a variety of information soruces.
  4. Design a research study and write a quality research proposal.
  5. Utilize popular statistical analysis software for analysis of research data.
  6. Demonstrate an understanding of the principles of ethical research and the importance of devising strategies to protect human subjects.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

MARA 285 supports the following core competencies:

  1. I Understand research design and research methods and possess the analytical, written, and oral communication skills to synthesize and disseminate research findings.


Required Textbooks:

  • Barnes, N.D. (2014). Research methods for the RIM professional. Overland Park, KS: ARMA International. Available directly from publisher in PDF or Print versions.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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