INF 391D.8 - Introduction to Doctoral Research and Theory ISchool of Information - The University of Texas at Austin
Fall, 2009

Course Description

Foundations of inquiry in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, and review of theories and methods of inquiry in Information Studies in particular. Prerequisite: Admission to the doctoral program; consent of the graduate advisor.

Course Objectives

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

Required Books

There are three required texts for this course:

Ben-Ari, M. (2005). Just A Theory: Exploring The Nature Of Science. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books. [ISBN: 1591022851]

Case, D. O. (2006). Looking for Information: A Survey of Research on Information Seeking, Needs, and Behavior (2nd Edition). Amsterdam: Academic Press. [ISBN: 0123694302]

Pan, M. L. (2007). Preparing Literature Reviews: Qualitative And Quantitative Approaches (3rd ed.). Glendale, CA: Pyrczak Publishing. [ISBN: 1884585760]

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

Course Expectations

Students are expected to attend all class sessions. This course is taught in a seminar format with a relatively small number of students. Regular attendance and active participation is therefore particularly important and a substantial part of your final course grade is based on active participation in class.

Readings and discussions are the foundation of this course so it is very 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 four graded assignments in this course. These assignments are intended to provide a way for you to further investigate topics covered in class, to share what you've learned with the rest of the class, and to gain practical experience in areas important in preparing you to conduct scholarly research. Each assignment is worth a specific number of points, as will be 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 - Interest Area Presentation 15%
Assignment 2 - Research Tools and Techniques Presentation 15%
Assignment 3 - Annotated Bibliography 15%
Assignment 4 - Literature Review 35%

Thus, the four assignments total 80% of your final grade. Another 20% of your final grade is based on seminar participation and other indicators of level of effort.

Assignments 1 and 2 will be due on varying class meeting dates that depend on the topic. Because these assignments will be presented in class, they must be completed on the due date that will be posted on the course schedule. Assignments 3 and 4 will have specific due dates, to be discussed early in the semester, and these assignments will only be accepted late 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, this assignment will be docked several points for each day it is 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 September 21, 2009