Information on INFO 285 Topics

INFO 285 Sections — Instructors, Focus and Topics Covered

INFO 285 Research Methods in Library and Information Science offers an array of sections with different focuses – students are free to choose any of the sections that interests them most. Here's an overview of the focuses and topics of the different INFO 285 sections. The instructors teaching each focus are also listed – students may click on each instructor's name to view their profile and contact them if necessary.

General Overview
Focus: A general introduction to the research methods frequently used in conducting Library and Information Science research.
Topics Covered:

  • How to recognize and define a research problem in a professional domain whose solution could improve professional practice.
  • How to select and use appropriate research methods (sampling design, survey, experiment, qualitative field research, unobtrusive research, etc.) to gather original data to solve the research problem and increase knowledge about the domain.
  • How to use analytic methods (quantitative statistical analysis and qualitative analysis) to analyze and synthesize the collected data into a solution to the identified research problem.
  • How to prepare a professional research proposal.

Instructors Teaching This Topic: Geoffrey LiuLili LuoChris HagarFrank CervoneJohanna Tunon


Youth Services
Focus: An introduction to research methods while focusing on how it is applied in youth research, and a critical examination of the issues surrounding research that involves youth.
Topics Covered:

  • How to recognize and define a research problem in a professional domain whose solution could improve professional practice.
  • How to use research methods to gather original data to solve the research problem and increase knowledge about the domain.
  • Critical analysis of secondary research.
  • How to use apply program evaluation to youth service programs through applied research.

Instructors Teaching This Topic: Anthony BernierMary Ann HarlanJoanne de Groot


Evaluating Programs and Services
Focus: Research methods most often used when evaluating and assessing services in public, academic, and special librararies as well as information agencies.
Topics Covered:

  • How to recognize and define an assessment or evaluation research problem whose solution could improve professional practice.
  • How to collect sources and write a literature review related to a research topic.
  • How to evaluate and implement data collection methods and research procedures.
  • How to perform a preliminary analysis of an actual data set, discerning findings, tentative conclusions, and tentative recommendations, while noting some of the gaps and shortcomings of the data set.
  • How propose a project to evaluate a real or imagined library service or program, noting the types of data to be gathered, the types of analysis to be performed, the overall picture of the service that these data and analysis will reveal, and how such a program evaluation will be informative and useful to all the stakeholders.

Instructors Teaching This Topic: Cheryl StenstromFrank Cervone


Action Research
Focus: An introduction to action research methods that further learning and improve situations within professional settings.
Topics Covered:

  • How to recognize and define a research problem whose solution could improve professional practice.
  • How to collect sources and write a literature review related to a research topic.
  • How to define and describe research participants, data collection methods, and research procedures (how to use a cyclical plan-act-observe-reflect process to increase domain knowledge and generate professional insight).
  • How to use statistical techniques and interpret statistical data.
  • How to create an action research proposal detailing project design elements and anticipating collaborative 'informed learning' outcomes.

Instructors Teaching This Topic: Renee Jefferson


Doing Research Online
Focus: A introduction to the process and methods of conducting research in online contexts.
Topics Covered:

  • How to study social/cultural phenomena and information use in online contexts.
  • Research methodologies for conducting research online, including qualitative approaches such as digital ethnography, content analysis, surveys, and interviews (among others).
  • Ethical issues of doing online research, designing an effective project, collecting data, analyzing results, and disseminating findings.

Instructors Teaching This Topic: Kristen Rebmann


Historical Research and Writing
Focus: Explores the ways in which historians frame research questions, assess current literature on historical topics, locate and critically use primary and secondary sources, and formulate viable and worthwhile research projects.
Topics Covered:

  • Historical work in the information professions.
  • Current trends and theories in historical writing.
  • Major history reference sources and their uses.
  • History monographs, history journals, and the historiographical essay.
  • Manuscripts, records, and other primary sources used in historical research.
  • History on the web.

Instructors Teaching This Topic: Debbie HansenAnthony BernierTimothy J. Dickey


Focus: Technology.
Topics Covered:

  • This section will explore this qualitative research methodology using a synchronous learning context (Blackboard Collaborate) as a technology-mediated laboratory. Students will learn qualitative field methods including data collection practices (e.g. fieldnote authoring, video screencapture, & transcription) and the analysis of video, conversation, & designworks. Focus will be placed on studying distributed and highly collaborative, virtual learning environments through the use of ethnographic methods.

Instructors Teaching This Topic: Kristen Rebmann


Survey Research (especially library user surveys)
Focus: The focus is on the survey research method, which is one of the most frequently used methods in library and information science research.
Topics Covered:

  • Recognizing and defining research problems that are most appropriate for survey research.
  • Constructing survey questionnaire items effectively.
  • Understanding the various sampling designs that are often used in survey research.
  • Using proper techniques to analyze survey data.
  • Writing and reporting survey research.

Instructors Teaching This Topic: Lili Luo


Assessment of Information Literacy Instruction
Focus: An introduction to research methods in Assessment of Information Literacy Instruction.
Topics Covered:

  • Understanding the difference between the assessment of learning and the evaluation of teaching and programs.
  • Using assessment to monitor and improve student learning, as well as to meet external requirements, such as accreditation standards. Conducting the assessment process, including writing learning outcomes; selecting and using appropriate methods of assessment; and gathering and interpreting data.
  • Using evaluation techniques to improve teaching and instructional programs. Conducting the evaluation process, including selecting and using appropriate evaluation methods and gathering and interpreting data.
  • Documenting and communicating assessment and evaluation results for internal and external audiences.

Instructors Teaching This Topic: Peta Wellstead


Grant Writing
Focus: An introduction to widely used methodologies for needs assessments and writing grant applications.
Topics Covered:

  • Finding and recognizing various designs and methodologies, and evaluating their application in LIS research.
  • Applying basic research principles in identifying local library needs.
  • Evaluating and using print and electronic resources to find grants for local library needs and projects.
  • Gathering data and preparing grant applications.

Instructors Teaching This Topic: Joanna F. Fountain


Records Management & Archival Science
Focus: An overview of research methods in the social sciences and their application to research about and within archives and records centers.
Topics Covered:

  • Research methods subject matter is discussed in the professional context of archives and records management, when applicable.
  • Research design, which includes the recognition of a research problem and then the development of a research topic, literature review, and research proposal.
  • Certification for research with live human subjects.
  • Introduction 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.

Instructors Teaching This Topic: Jason Kaltenbacher