Applied Research Methods
Topic: Historical Research
Fall 2018 Syllabus
Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning August 21, 2018, 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.
This class will begin on Tuesday, August 21. Thereafter, weekly sessions will run from Monday through Sunday. All assignments are due on Sunday by 5 p.m.
Research methods 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 of research methods will introduce students to the theory and methods of historical research and writing. It explores the ways in which historians frame research questions, assess current literature on historical topics, locate and critically use primary and secondary sources, and formulate viable and worthwhile research projects. Emphasis will be placed on the research skills and tools historians use and the role information professionals play in their support and development.
Waiver of INFO 285: See Waiver option for those who have completed a graduate-level methods course within the last 5 years.
The assignments for this course are as follows:
- Discussions. 20 points (10 discussions, 2 points each)
Participate in a series of discussions pertaining to historical research and history information sources. (Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3, & 4)
- IRB Certification. 5 points
- Complete the National Institute of Health’s online workshop titled: "Protecting Human Research Participants." The course can be located at NIH Training - http://phrp.nihtraining.com/users/login.php (Learning Outcome 4)
- Reference Sources Annotated Bibliography. 15 points
Prepare an annotated bibliography of 10 reference sources that provide historical background and context for your research topic. (Learning Outcome 2)
- Historiography Essay. 20 points
Locate and review 15 scholarly historical studies that interpret some aspect of your research topic. The studies reviewed should be a combination of scholarly monographs and refereed journal articles. (Learning Outcomes 1 & 3)
- Primary Sources Survey. 15 points
Locate and describe the manuscript and record collections that you will use as the foundation of your research project. (Learning Outcomes 1 & 2)
- Research Proposal. 25 points
Write a formal research proposal for a master’s thesis or Ph.D. dissertation. The proposal will be based on earlier assignments and will include an overview of the topic and its significance, a literature review, a discussion of methodology and primary sources, and an outline of proposed chapters. (Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3, & 4)
Required Style Manual
Historical research requires you to effectively communicate your research findings and evaluate the writings of others. An important aspect of this scholarly communication is understanding and using the standard citation formats for historical works. Because of historians' continued use of footnotes and the extensive information they provide in their references, history publishers most often use The Chicago Manual of Style (17th edition) for written publications. If you are serious about historical writing and publishing, I encourage you to invest in a copy of the MOS and become familiar with its rules. The online version is convenient and easy to use:
Kate L. Turabian’s A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (8th edition) is a derivative of Chicago MOS and an acceptable substitute for this class.
All assignments must be submitted by 5 p.m. on the day they are due. Late submissions will be reduced by 20% of the total points possible for that assignment. Late discussion posts will not be accepted.
Grading and Due Dates
|Reference Sources Bibliography||15 points||September 23|
|Historiography Essay||20 points||October 14|
|Primary Sources Survey||15 points||November 4|
|IRB Workshop||5 points||November 18|
|Research Proposal||25 points||December 9|
Reminder: Weekly class sessions run from Monday through Sunday. All assignments are due on Sunday by 5 pm.
|Aug. 21 - Aug. 26||Introduction
What is history
Why is history important
Historical work in the information professions
|Discussion 1 (Aug. 21 - Aug. 26)|
|2||Aug. 27 - Sept. 2||Historical Writing
Current trends/schools in historiography
Approaches to historical writing
Historians and their sources
|Discussion 2 (Aug. 27 - Sept. 2)|
|3||Sept. 3 - Sept. 23||History Reference Sources
Current and retrospective reference sources
How historians use reference sources
How historians evaluate reference sources
|Discussion 3 (Sept. 3 - Sept. 16)
Reference Sources Bibliography Due: Sunday, September 23, by 5 p.m.
|4||Sept. 24 - Oct. 14||Historical Monographs and Secondary Sources
Locating history books and articles
Learning the historiography of a research topic
Evaluating historical writings
Writing an historiography essay
|Discussion 4 (Sept. 24 - Sept. 30)
Discussion 5 (Oct. 1 - Oct. 14)
Historiography Essay Due: Sunday, October 14, by 5 p.m.
|5||Oct. 15 - Nov. 4||Manuscripts, Records, and Other Primary Sources
Types of primary sources
How to find archival collections
Working with primary sources
Note taking in the historical process
|Discussion 6 (Oct. 15 - Oct. 21)
Discussion 7 (Oct. 22 - Nov. 4)
Primary Sources Survey Due: Sunday, November 4, by 5 p.m.
|6||Nov. 5 - Nov. 18||Developing a Research Proposal
Components of a history research proposal
Historical writing conventions and documentation
Ethical issues in historical research and writing
Discussion 8 (Nov. 5 - Nov. 18)
IRB Workshop Due: Sunday, Nov. 18, by 5 p.m.
|7||Nov. 19 - Dec. 2||History on the Web
Types of historical websites
Using the internet in historical research
Evaluating digitized collections
Discussion 9 (Nov. 19 - Dec. 2)
|8||Dec. 3 - Dec. 9||Final Research Proposal Q & A||Discussion 10 (Dec. 3 - Dec. 9)
Research Proposal Due: Sunday, December 9, by 5 p.m.
Course Workload Expectations
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.
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.
INFO 200, INFO 202, INFO 204.
Course 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)
INFO 285 supports the following core competencies:
- 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.
- Presnell, J. (2018). The information-literate historian (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Available through Amazon: 019085149X
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|
- 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).
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: http://www.sjsu.edu/gup/syllabusinfo/. 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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