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LASI 170 Introduction to Library Research

Basics

Students in this class typically spend 2 hour per week reading the material, viewing videos and other types of instruction materials. Also, logs, quizzes, discussion board posts and other assignments may take an additional four hours per week. This will be more or less, depending on your personal experience doing research and reading ability. Please contact your instructor for help at any time.

This class is offered as a hybrid and as online only. Assignments in each type of class are similar. View the syllabi below to determine which course is best for your learning style.

In both online and hybrid (F2F) classes, LASI 170 has three quizzes. They are based on tutorials and are not directly related to the readings or other instructional materials, although the readings and other instructional materials may help with understanding concepts covered in the quizzes. Each quiz may be taken twice. It is not considered cheating to review a tutorial again before taking the quiz again. It is a learning opportunity!

Quiz 1 Getting Started Quiz

Quiz 2 Search Strategies Quiz

Quiz 3 Citing Sources Quiz

Discussion board/participation   

Class
participation
6 forums worth 5-10 points each for online-only students
OR 8 class periods and mini-assignments for F2F students
40
Quizzes 3 quizzes worth 10-12 points each 32
Logs 2 logs worth 20 points each 40
Final project    1 project 30
TOTAL POINTS   142

Assignment Details

Class participation will count toward your grade.

Quizzes will be found in Blackboard.

Logs will help you evaluate your findings, see your progress throughout the class, and allow me to see how well you understand the research process. There will be designated databases to use for both logs. I will make comments and return it to you. Use my comments to improve your research for maximum points on the second log. Be sure to save your log before you turn it in.

Final Project will include a title, a research question or thesis statement, a rough draft or outline of a research paper, and bibliography of appropriate citations based on the topic.

Other requirements: You are required to monitor Blackboard and student e-mail account regularly for announcements, course material, and returned/graded assignments. As stated above, be sure to save your logs on portable memory (i.e. flash drive) or a personal computer.

GRADE POINTS RANGE
A 127.8-142
B 113.6-127.7
C 99.4-113.5
D 85.2-99.3
F 0-85.1

Research Process

There are many theories showing how people find, retrieve and use information. You may have heard the term "information literacy,"  The ability to recognize a situation, issue or a question when information is needed, and the ability to locate information sources, evaluate those sources and effectively use information to resolve an issue or answer a question is being information literate. Read here for more about information literacy. We typically call the types of questions that require information-seeking in order to answer "research questions."

The research process provides a set of concrete steps researchers can use to get from a research question to an answer or end product like a paper. There are several models that students, researchers, teachers and librarians like to use. They typically follow the same pattern, but include a different number of steps. Search for "The Big Six" by Eisenberg and Berkowitz, Kuhlthau's Library Research Process, "10-Step Research Process Model" by Stripling and Pitts, or "The Handy Five" by Grover, Fox and Lakin for examples of different models. See the next tab for the model created by Angela Paul.

Although this model (and most research process models) appear to be linear, research is not really a linear process. Most researchers need to repeat steps or might occasionally skip step two (searching for background information) depending on how much previous knowledge the researcher has about the topic.

6-step research process with tips
BASIC STEPS TIPS
1. Develop a research question for an exploratory paper Research questions guide your research and are not usually included in the final product. Research questions address a problem, and will require your in-depth analysis of several  sources. Be aware that the final product will require you to present a solution or to acknowledge what further research or studies are needed. Identify synonyms for your main topic as well as both broader and narrower concepts. Be sure to refer back to your research question during step 4 (search for details) and revise as needed.
2. Learn more about your topic Search for background information. Encyclopedias and websites are appropriate at this stage; do not use these sources for content in your paper or add them to the reference or bibliography page. Research process steps one and two are often done simultaneously.
3. Sketch an outline Identify appropriate sources for various pieces of information.
4. Search for details Keep notes about each source in a spreadsheet or other document. Be sure to note when you are copying and when you are summarizing to avoid plagiarism. Copy/paste citations from the database's Citation Aid in the correct style.
5. Write first draft

Orphan words are words sitting alone on a line at the end of a paragraph, which can get lost by the reader. Fix orphans and other formatting issues after you are happy with the organization and content of the paper.

The introduction should entice your reader to read the rest of your paper. Surprising statistics, facts, or testimonies can generate interest. Summarizing main points should simply be an extension of generating interest. The conclusion should elaborate on the significance of your research, suggest broader implications, or offer a solution to a problem. Any review of main points in the conclusion should simply be an extension of this.

6. Write final paper

The thesis statement explains the argument presented in the paper or project or makes a debatable claim. It is usually in the first or second paragraph of a paper.

Created by Angela Paul

A topic for an exploratory research paper should:

  • Shed new light on an existing issue of address a new problem
  • Answer a pressing question
  • Require the researcher to analyze information in order to draw a conclusion

Refine a topic with limiters:

  • Age group
  • Cultural group
  • Time frame
  • Location

Help a common topic become more interesting by considering an unusual discipline area. For example, the issue of over logging the Amazon rainforest is usually reported as a social issue because of the dire health consequences for humans and wildlife. However, writing about how businesses could change their engineering practices to avoid over logging would be an interesting twist.

Turning your topic into a research question will provide you with a reason to search for information.

A good research question:

Has a reasonable scope in the number of pages expected for the paper or time for the speech/presentation

Evidence of proof of claims comes from scholarly resources or empirical research

Provides reasonable hope that enough information is available to answer the question

 

An outline or mind map will help you:

  • Ensure important subtopics are covered
  • Brainstorm new questions that should be answered in your research paper or project
  • Figure out how to segue between topics

An outline is a list arranged to show hierarchical relationships. Use an outline to present the main points or topics you expect to cover in your paper. Subtopics are also useful to remind yourself of the points you intend to make. Remember to change your outline as you find more information about various subtopics.

Alphanumeric outlines are most common. MS Word has an alphanumeric outline tool.

Example: How can low-income families living around the Mississippi River Delta protect themselves from water pollution hazards?

I. Why are the people in this area at more risk than others?

     A. Define the region

     B. Define low-income families in this area

     C. Identify special circumstances or stories that highlight the problem (find stories)

II. What are the current water hazards?

III. How are agencies and government currently assisting?

IV. What are low-cost consumer protection options and how can these options be best implemented?

V. Conclusion: How can these solutions help other low-income areas with water pollution?

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