INFO 285-14
Applied Research Methods
Fall 2019 Syllabus

Jason Kaltenbacher

Office Hours: By appointment via telephone or online

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Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning August 21st at 6 am PT 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 in 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.

This section presents these concepts within the context of technology management. Students are trained in research design, which includes the recognition of a research problem and the development of a research topic, literature review, and research proposal. Students are introduced to research methodologies, including observation methods, sampling design, surveys and experiments, quantitative and qualitative research and analysis, statistical analysis, and the ethics of social research. Students obtain training for research with live human subjects.

Waiver of INFO 285: If a student has taken and passed a graduate level-research methods course within the last 5 years (as documented by an official transcript), the student can petition the Coordinator of Admissions and Academic Advising to waive the INFO 285 requirement. Please send an electronic copy of the transcript (scanned as a pdf file) to the Coordinator of Admissions and Academic Advising. A waiver, if granted, does not reduce the total units required for the MLIS degree. It simply means that you are not required to take INFO 285 as one of your MLIS classes.

Course Requirements

IRB Training Requirement

Students will complete the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) online workshop titled: "Students conducting no more than minimal risk research." 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 CitiProgram--


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.

Summary of assignments and points earned:

  • Student Introduction - 2 points
  • Discussion based on material covered - 2 points each X 9 = 18 points
  • Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) Online Workshop - 5 points (CLOs 2, 4)
  • Research Proposal: Topic Proposal with Article Analysis - 15 points (CLOs 2, 3)
  • Research Proposal: Literature Review - 15 points (CLOs 123)
  • Research Proposal: Final Research Proposal - 25 points (CLOs 1234)
  • Quiz: Surveys, Samplings & Observations - 10 points (CLOs 1234)
  • Quiz: Methods of Analysis - 10 points (CLOs 1234)
Total number of points for this class is 100.

NOTE: For weeks with required discussion board postings, students should provide their initial post by Tuesday at midnight (Pacific Time), to leave ample time for follow-up discussion. Please participate actively in the required discussions.

Assignments Due

Unless otherwise noted, each module begins on Saturday and ends on Friday. Assignments will be due by 11:59pm (pacific time) on the due date.

Course Calendar

Week/Dates Module Topic Module Activities

Module 1:

Aug. 21-30

Introduction to social research for technology management Student Introduction

Module 2:

Aug 31 - Sept. 6

Research design Discussion Board
Sept. 2 Labor Day (NO CLASS)  

Module 3:

Sept. 7-13

Reading and writing social research

Completion of Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) Online Workshop - Upload a copy of the completion certificate to Canvas in order to receive credit; Due: Sept. 13th

Module 4:

Sept. 14-20

Conceptualization, operationalization, and measurement Discussion Board

Module 5:

Sept. 21-27

Indexes, scales, and typologies; The logic of sampling Discussion Board

Module 6:

Sept. 28 - Oct. 4

Modes of observation - experiments

Discussion Board

Research Proposal: Topic Proposal with Article Analysis; Due: Oct. 4th

Module 7:

Oct. 5-11

Modes of observation - survey research Discussion Board

Module 8:

Oct. 12-18

Modes of observation - qualitative field research  

Module 9:

Oct. 19-25

Modes of observation - unobtrusive research Research Proposal: Literature Review; Due: Oct. 25th

Module 10:

Oct. 26 - Nov. 1

Modes of observation - evaluation research

Discussion Board

Quiz: Surveys, Samplings & Observations; Due Nov. 1st

Module 11:

Nov. 2-8

Qualitative data analysis; Quantitative data analysis

Discussion Board 

Module 12:

Nov. 9-15

The logic of multivariate analysis

Research Proposal: Final Research Proposal Assignment; Due: Nov. 15th

Nov. 11 Veteran's Day (NO CLASS)  

Module 13:

Nov. 16-29 (Extended)

Statistical Analyses Discussion Board
Nov. 28-29 Thanksgiving Holiday (NO CLASS)  

Module 14:

Nov. 30 - Dec. 9 (Extended)

The ethics and politics of social research

Discussion Board

Quiz: Methods of Analysis; Due: Dec. 9th

Please complete the SOTES (Student Opinion of Teaching Effectiveness) by Dec. 9th

**No Class: Monday, Sept. 2, 2019 (Labor Day)

**No Class: Monday, Nov. 11, 2019 (Veteran's Day)

**No Class: Thursday-Friday, Nov. 28-29, 2019 (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 assignments will not be accepted after 5 days past the due date. Late assignments submitted after the assignment deadline will receive 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 0.5 point reduction. No points will be awarded 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

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. - Core Competencies for this course and/or topic are being updated at this time.
  2. 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:

  • Connaway, L. & Powell, R. (2010). Basic research methods for librarians 5th edition. Libraries Unlimited. Available as free eBook through King Library 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 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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