INFO 285-15
Research Methods in Library and Information Science
Topic: Assessment of Information Literacy Instruction
Spring 2017 Greensheet

Dr. Peta Wellstead
Other contact information:
I normally live in New Zealand but I will be in British Columbia until end of March so I will be on the same time zone as San Jose for the first half of the semester.
Office location: off campus
Office Hours: virtual by e-mail and by appointment

I encourage you to email me at anytime with a question or an issue of concern, and to post to the forums regularly for advice from the class. I am available for Collaborate sessions or Skype (take note of the International Date Line and how this impacts on the time in NZ - it will already be tomorrow!)

Greensheet Links
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Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning January 26th, 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.

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, iSchool offers a number of applied or specialized sections of INFO 285 for students to choose from.

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

Waiver of INFO 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.

Section Description: Assessment of Information Literacy Instruction

Like all sections of INFO285, this course will provide you with an introduction to research methods in library and information science. The course will have a particular focus on research methods to evaluate and assess information literacy instruction. In the context of the course information literacy will be defined broadly and the course content will be relevant for information professionals who teach in a wide variety of settings, not just those in academic and school libraries with formal Information Literacy programmes. The course has a reflective element in order that you can to consider your own Information Literacy strengths and weaknesses and how this might impact on delivery of Information Literacy instruction to others.

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 

You must post your certificate to the assignment link for the IRB Training.


  • Research proposal Part A: Students will write an outline of a small information literacy assessment project that they would like to undertake in an area of personal interest (CLO 2 and 3). This will include a research question they wish to explore with an identified user group. Note: in this course there is no requirement to undertake the research in your proposal. You may wish to use your proposal as the basis for a research project at a later date so do choose something that interests you.
  • Research Proposal Part B: Students will identify six relevant studies and discussions in the professional and academic literature related to their research question and user group. Using this literature students will write a literature review to support their research question. (CLO 2 and 3). Note: it is important to understand that IL is a rapidly evolving field due to technological and social innovations. The studies chosen for the literature review must be up to date and relevant to current practice.
  • Research proposal Part C. Students will develop a small information literarcy assessment tool to gather data to answer the research question, including writing learning outcomes. (CLO 4).
  • Research proposal Part D: Students will develop a completed research proposal incorporating elements (and revisions) from earlier assignments.
  • Personal Reflection: Students will write a short overview of their learning during the course (CLO 3).
  • Weekly activities: Students will participate in weekly course discussions and activities, including the IRB Training Requirement and 2 compulsory forums (CLO 1, 2, 3 and 4). 

Course Calendar
Assignment Due Dates

  • Research Proposal Part A: Research Outline - Due February 14 (approx 1000 words)
  • Research Proposal Part B: Literature Review - Due March 6 (1500 words)
  • Research Proposal Part C: Information Literacy Assessment Tool - April 3
    • Develop four learning outcomes for your assessment tool.
    • Develop your assessment tool using an appropriate research method (e.g. survey, participant observation, interviews)
  • Research Proposal Part C: Completed Research Proposal - Due May 1 (2,500 words)
  • Reflection on your learning outcomes for this course  (600 words) - Due May 8 (Classes finish May 16)
  • Compulsory Forums (TBA)
  • IRB Training - Due anytime during the course before May 8 .

The work for this course (including class participation) is worth a total of 750 points.

  • Research Proposal Part A: Research Outline - 50 points
    • Applicability of topic and discussion (20 points)
    • Identified user group (10 points)
    • Research Question (10 points)
    • Hypothesis (10 points)
  • Research Proposal Part B: Literature Review - 100 points
    • Review (15 points for each piece of literature based on relevance to research topic, authority, currency, etc.)
    • Referencing (10 points)
  • Research Proposal Part C: Information Literacy Assessment Tool - 100 points
    • Development of 4 learning outcomes (40 points)
    • Development of assessment tool using an appropriate research method (60 points)
  • Research Proposal Part D: Completed Research Proposal - 300 points
    • Completed research proposal (200 points)
    • Writing style and grammar (50 points)
    • Referencing (50 points)
  • Reflection - 100 points
  • IRB Training - 50 points
  • Participation in 2 compulsory online forums - 50 points

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 285 has no prequisite requirements.

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:

  • Radcliff, C. J. (2007). A practical guide to information literacy assessment for academic librarians. Libraries Unlimited. Available through Amazon: 1591583403arrow 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 or undergraduate (for BS-ISDA);
    For core courses in the MLIS program (not MARA, Informatics, BS-ISDA) — 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.

Graduate Students are advised that it is their responsibility to maintain a 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA). Undergraduates must maintain a 2.0 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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