INF 397C - Understanding Research
|Summer Session 1 2016|
Survey of the goals, methods, processes, and products of systematic inquiry. Designed to prepare students to critically evaluate information studies research. Three lecture hours a week for one semester.
*Classes will only meet June 2-24.
In our professional, civic, and private lives, we are routinely presented with information that is based in research. It is crucial that we be able to make informed judgments about its believability: Was the process by which the evidence created appropriate? Were the theories in which it was based sound/consistent with your beliefs about the world? Were the data collected and analyzed using rigorous, systematic methods? In which specific cases is the research relevant or applicable – and not? Based on your evaluation, should you adopt new practices or not? Being able to critically examine research for quality and applicability and to discuss it intelligibly is an important competency of an information professional. Understanding the underpinnings of research is part of being a critical consumer of information. In this course, we will integrate the exploration of criteria-based research evaluation with hands-on experience.
The broad conceptual foundation provided by this course will enable students to:
• Appreciate and assess the quality, validity, and credibility of research based on how it was framed, how it was conducted, and the conclusions drawn.
• Understand the research approaches most relevant to information studies, including their theoretical underpinnings and how they set a framework for engaging with the subject of study and obtaining results and conclusions.
• Differentiate data from analysis from interpretation from research and articulate the implications of information that is derived from “research.”
In anticipation of their role as information professionals, hands-on experience will enable students to:
• Design and implement a “mixed method” empirical study, collecting, analyzing, and reporting on qualitative and quantitative data.