LIBR 285-03
Research Methods in Library and Information Science
Summer 2009 Greensheet

Dr. Blanche Woolls
Office: ANGEL, by appointment

Greensheet Links
Textbooks and Readings
Course Requirements
ANGEL Tutorials
iSchool eBookstore

This course uses Angel for communication, discussion, submitting assignments and recording grades. You will enroll in the 285 Angel site between July 17, 2009 and the first day of class. Your will be given a password access code via MySJSU prior to July 17, 2009.

Course Description

This section of research methods will introduce students to the theory and methods of both fromal and action research as applied library and information science. It explores the ways in which librarians determine what a viable research topic is, read current research literature to help in deciding a methodology, and create the research and evaluation questions. Emphasis will be placed on the role librarians play in the development, dissemination and use of statistics to confirm success and failure in their programs.

Course Prerequisites: LIBR200, LIBR202, LIBR204

SLIS LIBR 285 Waiver Reminder
If you have taken and passed a graduate level-research methods course AND completed a thesis or dissertation as part of a previous graduate degree (as documented by an official transcript) you can petition the SLIS Graduate Advisor to waive the LIBR 285 requirement. A waiver, if granted, does not reduce the total units required for the MLIS degree. See Waiver option

Course Objectives

Learning Outcomes
At the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Conduct a systematic and critical literature review of published research in all types of libraries and information centers.
  • Understand the nature of different research reports (formal research reports, popularizations, research reviews)
  • Articulate different types of research methods and their appropriate applications and their inherent liabilities.
  • Identify and apply ethical concerns connected to research
  • Demonstrate knowledge of fundamental principles and processes of conducting action research with emphasis on evaluative research
  • Develop, plan, and produce an action research study for a particular type of library 

Students will also be able to:

  • Explain current trends in library and information science research
  • Show proficiency in using primary, secondary, and reference sources in the conduct of research
  • Appreciate the importance of protecting human subjects in historical research and demonstrate the ability to work with an institutional review board in developing a research plan

LIBR 285 supports the following SLIS Core Competencies:

  • Understand the nature of research, research methods and research findings; retrieve, evaluate and synthesize scholarly and professional literature for informed decision-making by specific client groups;

In addition, this section supports the following SLIS Core Competencies:

  • Articulate the ethics, values and foundational principles of library and information professionals and their role in the promotion of intellectual freedom.

Course Requirements

All assignments are must be turned at 5 p.m. (Pacific time) on the day they are due. Points will be deducted for late submissions.

  • IRB Certification: (5 points)
    Complete the National Cancer Institute’s online workshop titled: “Human Participant Protections Education for Research Teams.” 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:

    You can take this short on-line mini-course at any point during the semester. It will take about two hours to complete. When you have finished the course, you will be given a certificate, which you should submit to me as proof of completion.
  • Discussion Topics (5 throughout the term, 3 points each) (15 points)
    Based on relevant readings and other course experiences, these interactive posts demonstrate, articulate, and share your learning with fellow students.
  • Collaborative briefs on various types of research with accompanying synthesis activity (20 points)
  • Research evaluation seminar (Each person will read, critique, and share share one research study in each of the following topics as they relate to libraries and information centers: censorship, facilities, management, outreach, leaderhip, patron use, reference, and staff development followed followed by analysis/synthesis on the discussion board. (20 points) 
  • Individual plan for doing an action research study in your library setting for the immediate future (20 points)
  • Class participation (20 points)
IRB Certification 5 points before end of course
Discussion Topics (5 topics x 3 points) 15 points due 9/7, 21; 20/5, 19; 11/1
Collaborative briefs with synthesis activity 20 points due 10/19
Research evaluation seminar/study analyses 20 points due 9/14, 28; 10/12, 26, 11/9, 16, 23, 30
Individual plan for doing an action research study 20 points due 12/2
Class participation 20 points calculated throughout the term

Textbooks and Readings

Recommended Textbook

Style Manual
Scholarly research in LIS requires the effective communication of findings and evaluation of the writings of others. An important aspect of this scholarly communication is demonstrating your understanding and facility with standard LIS citation formatting. Further, when you report your research findings to an audience, you must use care that information you have cited will be available to your reader. A style manual ensures that you have provided all the information necessary for your reader. For SLIS, the established style manual will be APA:

  • American Psychological Association. (2001). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association. 5th ed. Washington, D.C.: APA. (Available through the iSchool eBookstore. Free electronic version is available at:

Required Textbook:

  • Greenwood, D. J., & Levin, M. (2006). Introduction to Action Resaerch: Social Research for Social Change (2nd ed.). SAGE. Available through Amazon: 1412925975. 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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