INFO 285-12 and 285-14
Applied Research Methods
Topic: Action Research
Fall 2020 Syllabus

Dr. Renee Jefferson
Office Hours: Email & by Appointment

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Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning August 19, 2020, 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

Research methods covering 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 planning, designing, executing, and reporting research as well as evaluating and applying published research findings. Emphasis will concentrate on developing, planning, and producing a quality research proposal

Waiver Option: If a student has 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), the student can petition the iSchool Graduate Advisor to waive the INFO 285 requirement. A waiver, if granted, does not reduce the total units required for the MLIS degree.

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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

Assignments are designed to accommodate students with a variety of work schedules and personal commitments. The schedule assumes that all coursework will be completed by midnight Pacific Standard Time (PST) on the assigned date. "Late work" (submitted after midnight on the assigned date) will result in a reduction of points. The points for an assignment will be reduced by 10% for each day that the assignment is submitted after the due date. Extra-credit assignments are not available.

The major course assignment is the completion of an Action Research Proposal. Students are expected to (1) develop a research question or objective (2) write an introduction, (3) create an annotated bibliography, (4) design a research methodology for collecting data, and (5) write a summary.  The proposal supports Course Learning Outcomes #1#2#3, and #4 and contributes 30% toward the final course grade.

Students are required to complete five Action Research Exercises that will assist them in completing the required sections of the Action Research Proposal.  The exercises support Course Learning Outcomes #1#2#3, and #4; and contribute 65% toward the final course grade.

Students will complete the University of Miami's online workshop (part of its Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative) titled: "Social and Behavioral Research-Basic/Refresher". 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 The workshop supports Course Learning Outcomes #2 and #4 and is completed during one of the Action Research Exercises.

Students are expected to complete an in-depth Introduction Exercise that contributes 5% toward the final course grade.

Course Calendar




1: Aug 19 – Aug 23

Introducing Yourself to Classmates

Due: Introduction-Part 1 (8/23, Sunday)

2: Aug 24 – Aug 30

Work on Action Research Plan Draft

Due: Introduction-Part 2 (8/26)

3: Aug 31 – Sep 13

Labor Day: September 7

What is action research?

Creating an action research plan

Due: ARE1 (9/9)


4: Sep 14 – Sep 27

Introduction Draft; References’ List

Due: ARE2 (9/23)

5: Sep 28  – Oct 11

Protecting Human Subjects

Due: ARE3 (10/7)

6: Oct 12 – Oct 25

Work on Annotated Bibliography Draft


7: Oct 26 – Nov 8

Annotated Bibliography Draft

Due: ARE4 (10/28)

8: Nov 9 – Nov 22

Veterans Day: 11/11

Method Draft

Due: ARE5 (11/18)

9: Nov 23 – Nov 29

Thanksgiving Holiday: 11/26 – 11/27


10: Nov 30 – Dec 7


Due: Action Research Proposal (12/7, Monday)

The schedule represents an overview of the topics that will be covered.  The schedule is subject to change based on class needs. The majority of the assignments are due on Wednesday at 11:59 PM (PT).   

The following table includes the course assignments points and due dates.  Due dates may change to accommodate class needs. Sufficient notice will be provided for any change in due dates. 
*ARE is Action Research Exercise.



Due Dates

Introduction (Part 1 & Part 2)


8/23 & 8/26

Action Research Exercises


9/9, 9/23, 10/7, 10/28, & 11/18 

Action Research Proposal






Required Readings

All required readings will be posted in Canvas.

Required 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 that 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 iSchool, the established style manual will be APA:

  • American Psychological Association. (2019). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association. (7th ed.). Chicago, IL: APA. (Available Amazon: 1433832178)

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.


Recommended Textbooks:

  • American Psychological Association (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). American Psychological Association. Available through Amazon: 1433832178. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • 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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