INFO 285-10
Research Methods in Library and Information Science
Topic: Doing Research Online
Fall 2016 Syllabus

Dr. Kristen Radsliff Rebmann
Office Hours: By appointment. 
Collaborate Help Sessions (NOT MANDATORY to attend live; MANDATORY to review recordings): 
See the frontpage section of our Canvas course page for details on times and access to Collaborate URLs. Help sessions will be recorded.

Syllabus Links
iSchool eBookstore

Canvas Information: This is an online-only class using Canvas and course materials in multiple modalities. The course begins via Canvas on Wednesday, August 24th. Collaborate sessions will begin the first week of classes. I will send more information about the first session as we approach this date. Courses will be available beginning Wednesday, August 24th, at 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.

You will be enrolled into the Canvas site automatically.

***Student attendance at the Collaborate Help Sessions is not mandatory.  Recordings will be available.  HOWEVER... This is a GROUP-INTENSIVE class where collaboration and participation in joint Collaborate sessions (scheduled by student groups) IS mandatory.***

Course Description

Doing Research Online is a new course that prepares students to study social/cultural phenomena and information use in online contexts.  Research methodologies covered include qualitative approaches such as digital ethnography, content analysis, surveys, and interviews (among others).  Focus will be placed on the ethical issues of doing online research, designing an effective project, collecting data, analyzing results, and disseminating findings.

Course Requirements

Assignments and Exams
Students will complete the assignments shown below. More specific information regarding all assignments will be made available on the course website.

Discussion Forum Postings. Course Learning Outcomes: 1234
Discussion Forum Digest. Course Learning Outcomes:  1234
IRB Certification. Course Learning Outcomes: 2, 4
(GROUP ASSIGNMENT) Blogging Open Access Research (1 Blog Posts @ 10% each). Course Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4
(GROUP ASSIGNMENT) Research Manuscript/Proposal. Course Learning Outcomes: 2, 3, 4
Quiz.  Course Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4
Reflection Manuscript for Competency L. Course Learning Outcomes: 1234 20%
TOTAL 100%

Canvas and Collaborate Participation
Attendance at the Collaborate sessions is not mandatory - recordings will be available. Part of participation in this course includes listening well to others and engaging with opposing viewpoints. You are expected to be respectful and thoughtful in responding to each other and in responding to the course materials.

Help! How do I …?
I will create a discussion forum in Canvas for general questions regarding due-dates, structure of assignments, and clarification of concepts. Please post your general questions here so that all students may benefit. Feel free to contact me via email at Placing the words: INFO 285 and your section number in the subject field will guarantee that your email will get to my high priority folder so that I can get back to you promptly (usually within 24 to 48 hours). Sometimes you might see me in BlackboardIM or GoogleChat - feel free to talk with me this way as well.


Course Calendar
A course calendar will be available from the course site at the start of the semester.

SJSU Academic Calendar

Assignment Due-Dates
Submit assignments by midnight Pacific Time the due date. Late assignments are not accepted except in cases of serious illness or family emergency. Check the course site daily for announcements and discussion posts.

Please see the modules section of our Canvas site for course content and supporting materials.

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

INFO 200, INFO 202, INFO 204. 

Course 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)

INFO 285 supports the following core competencies:

  1. L Demonstrate understanding of quantitative and qualitative research methods, the ability to design a research project, and the ability to evaluate and synthesize research literature.


Required Textbooks:

  • Salmons, J. (2015). Doing qualitative research online. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications Inc. Available through Amazon: 1446295419arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain

Recommended Textbooks:

  • Fetterman, D. M. (2009). Ethnography: Step-by-Step (3rd ed.). Newbury Park, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc. Available through Amazon: 1412950457. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Schreier, M. (2012). Qualitative content analysis in practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications Inc. Available through Amazon: 1849205930arrow 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 or Informatics) — 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 if you wish to stay in the program. 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

Per University Policy S16-9, university-wide policy information relevant to all courses, such as academic integrity, accommodations, etc. will be available on Office of Graduate and Undergraduate Programs' Syllabus Information web page at: Make sure to visit this page, review and be familiar with these university policies and resources.

In order to request an accommodation in a class please contact the Accessible Education Center and register via the MyAEC portal.

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