INF 397C - Introduction to Research in Information StudiesSchool of Information - The University of Texas at Austin
Fall, 2006

Course Description

This course explores the nature of social science research and its role in the field of Information Studies. Students learn about research in the field through critical evaluation of published research, experience in developing problem statements and research questions, and writing a complete research proposal. The course examines a range of qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis techniques, including descriptive and inferential statistics.

Course Objectives

At the end of this course, students should accomplish the following course objectives:

Required Books

There are two required texts for this course:

Vaughn, Liwen. (2001). Statistical Methods for the Information Professional: A Practically Painless Approach to Understanding, Using, and Interpreting Statistics. Medford, NJ: Published for the American Society for Information Science and Technology by Information Today.

Trochim, William M. K. (2001). The Research Methods Knowledge Base (2nd Edition). Cincinnati, OH: Atomic Dog Publishing. ISBN: 1-931442-48-7

The online version of The Research Methods Knowledge Base is required for this course because we will be using features provided by the publisher that require an online activation key. Because this is the primary textbook for the course, it is recommended that you purchase both the online and paperback editions of the book. The combined cost for the paperback plus access to the online edition is about $64 from the publisher and about $81 (new) or $61 (used) at the Co Op.

You will need both a course registration ID, 1310512106080, and a book activation key to access the online features. A book activation key is on a scratch-off sticker on the inside title page of the paperback edition when NEW textbooks are purchased at a bookstore or on the cover of the How to Use Your Online Edition pamphlet when the online edition is purchased with the paperback edition at a bookstore. See this page for more information about options for buying the book and activating the online edition.

In addition, the following books are recommended:

Creswell, John W. (2003). Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Powell, Ronald R. and Connaway, Lynn Silipigni. (2004). Basic Research Methods for Librarians. Greenwich, CT: Ablex Publishing Corporation. (4th edition)

There are also required supplementary readings and relevant Web resources listed on the Resources page.

Course Expectations

Students are expected to attend all class sessions. You do not have to tell me if you must miss a class but be aware that the required assignments will be much easier to complete if you attend each class session. In addition, part of your final course grade is based on class participation.

Active participation in class is expected and will factor into your final course grade. The course will provide many opportunities for participation through discussion of required readings and in-class activities. It is important that you do the readings each week before class so that you can participate in, and get the most out of, the discussions.

Assignments and Grading

There are three assignments in this course, designed to provide you with the opportunity to apply the concepts covered in class. Each assignment is worth a specific number of points, as noted in the assignment details. Your cumulative score on all assignments will help determine your final grade for the course, with each assignment weighted like so:

Assignment 1 30%
Assignment 2 15%
Assignment 3 30%

Thus, the three assignments total 75% of your final grade. Another 15% of your final grade is based on online quizzes from the Trochim textbook, and the remaining 10% will be based on class participation and other indicators of level of effort.

All assignments are due at the beginning of class on the due date. Late assignments will only be accepted if the instructor grants permission, at least 24 hours before the due date, for the student to turn the assignment in late, on an agreed-upon date. Except in extreme circumstances, late assignments will be docked several points for each day they are late.

Disability Accommodations

Any student with a documented disability (physical or cognitive) who requires academic accommodations should contact the Services for Students with Disabilities area of the Office of the Dean of Students at 471-6259 (voice) or 471-4641 (TTY for users who are deaf or hard of hearing) as soon as possible to request an official letter outlining authorized accommodations.

Course Schedule

See the Schedule page for a detailed list of the topics that will be covered each week during the course, as well as any readings or assignments that should be done.

©Gary Geisler
Last revised October 10, 2006