Southern Miss School of Library & Information Science
LIS 668: Research Methods in LIS
Online, Fall 2013

"Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose.
It is a seeking that he who wishes may know the cosmic secrets of the world and that they dwell therein."
Zora Neale Hurston, Dust Tracks on a Road (1942).
Teresa S. Welsh, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Southern Miss School of Library & Information Science
Cook Library, Room 206H
Phone: 601.296.0528

This three hour course is a survey of scientific research methods and their application to the field of library and information science.

Prerequisites: LIS 501, LIS 505, and LIS 511 with a grade B or better.

Required Text:

Practical Research Planning and Design, 10th ed. (2012)
by Paul D. Leedy and Jeannie Ellis Ormrod
Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.

Course Goals: To address ALA Core Competency 6: Research

6a. The fundamentals of quantitative and qualitative research methods.

6b. The central research findings and research literature of the field.

6c. The principles and methods used to assess the actual and potential value of new research.

Course Objectives
After completion of the course, students should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of scientific research, its history and role in building a knowledge base in library and information science, and the responsibility of professionals to add to knowledge in the field through research.

  2. Demonstrate an ability to analyze, evaluate, and compare published reports of research studies in library and information science and in disciplines other than library and information science.

  3. Demonstrate knowledge about research methods applicable to library and information studies and the ability to identify and apply appropriate research methodology to specific problems in library and information science.

  4. Demonstrate an ability to use current technologies in research investigations and as research topics to investigate the integration and impact of current technologies on library activities.

  5. Demonstrate an understanding of the meaning of plagiarism and how to avoid it.

Weekly Schedule
Subject to Revision

Week 1: What is scholarly research?

Week 2: Research Problem

Week 3: Review of Related Literature

Week 4: Planning Research Design

Week 5: Research Proposal

Week 6: Bibliometric Research

Week 7: Qualitative Research

Week 8: Quantitative Research

Week 9: Research Proposal: Introduction

Week 10: Research Proposal: Literature Review

Week 11: Research Proposal: Methodology

Week 12: Reviewing, Revising Proposal

Week 13: Plagiarism, Research Ethics

Week 14: Writing the Research Report

Week 15: Visualization of Research Results

Week 16: Presenting, Publishing Research

Course Requirements



Course Policies
Students are responsible for reading syllabus content and becoming familiar with course policies and procedures.

Students will not be granted an Incomplete for this course for failing to complete assignments. A student who receives an Incomplete will have only ONE semester in which to complete the work.

If a student stops attending class and does not complete the appropriate withdrawal papers or procedures with the registrar, that student will be assigned an F. If this is the only class a student is taking then the student must call the USM graduate school to properly withdraw.

If a student commits plagiarism, that student will receive an F in the course.

A student may not self-plagiarize or submit work done in another course unless receiving prior permission from the instructor. Any assignment that is self-plagiarized without prior permission from the instructor will receive zero points.

Virtual classroom attendance and participation is expected. Participation is a large part of the grade and consists of the virtual classroom participation and discussion.

Students are required to subscribe to listnews, the LIS listserv. Subscribe to lisnews by completing the online form available at

All assignments should be saved in .doc or .rtf format and posted to the Digital Drop Box. Work not turned in on time will be assessed a penalty of 10% per week without prior approval from the instructor.

Failure to follow specific instructions for content and formatting of assignments will result in lower grades.

Writing skills: all work must be in Standard English; inappropriate grammar, punctuation, and/or spelling will result in lower grades.

Academic Code of Conduct
Students are expected to follow the Academic Code of Conduct, which includes mutual respect and academic honesty.

"When cheating is discovered, the faculty member may give the student an F on the work involved or in the course. If further disciplinary action is deemed appropriate, the student should be reported to the dean of students. In addition to being a violation of academic honesty, cheating violates the Code of Student Conduct and may be grounds for probation, suspension, and/or expulsion. Students on disciplinary suspension may not enroll in any courses offered by The University of Southern Mississippi." USM Graduate Bulletin.

"Plagiarism is scholarly theft, and it is defined as the unacknowledged use of secondary sources. More specifically, any written or oral presentation in which the writer or speaker does not distinguish clearly between original and borrowed material constitutes plagiarism. Because students, as scholars, must make frequent use of the concepts and facts developed by other scholars, plagiarism is not the mere use of another's facts and ideas. However, it is plagiarism when students present the work of other scholars as if it were their own work. Plagiarism is committed in a number of ways:

  1. Reproducing another author's writing as if it were one's own.
  2. Paraphrasing another author's work without citing the original.
  3. Borrowing from another author's ideas, even though those ideas are reworded, without giving credit.
  4. Copying another author's organization without giving credit.
Plagiarism is a serious offense. An act of plagiarism may lead to a failing grade on the paper and in the course, as well as sanctions that may be imposed by the student judicial system." USM Graduate Bulletin.

Disability Statement
If a student has a disability that qualifies under the Americans with Disabilities Act and requires accommodations, he/she should contact the Office for Disability Accommodations (ODA) for information on appropriate policies and procedures. Disabilities covered by ADA may include learning, psychiatric, physical disabilities, or chronic health disorders. Students can contact ODA if they are not certain whether a medical condition/disability qualifies. Mailing address: 118 College Drive, # 8586; Telephone: 601- 266-5024; TTY: 601-266-6837; FAX: 601-266-6035.

Note: This is an abbreviated version of the course syllabus.
The complete syllabus is posted on the Blackboard LIS668 course site.

Web Page Design
Teresa S. Welsh
Updated 8/9/2013