School of Information and Library Science
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Final product / Seminar participation / Interviews with SILS faculty / Interest
group mini-review / Individual mini-review /Seminal works / Inspirational
Grading / Honor Code
Syllabus / Schedule / Sakai class site
The assignments for the two-semester seminar aim to foster your growth as a scholar and researcher in information and library science, through participation in discussions, reviews of current issues and the relevant literature, and development of research questions and proposals. The assignments described below should be considered a starting point; they may be modified according to your needs and interests. Please discuss any changes you are considering with the course instructor.
The major product for this seminar will be a significant work: a scholarly literature review, a proposal for a research study, an application for a research fellowship, or an article resulting from a research project. You may work collaboratively with another student in the seminar, in which case I will expect a larger effort. You will give a presentation of your work to the class at the end of the spring semester. You should start planning your work by the end of the fall term, at the latest, so that you can share your plans as part of our discussion of goals for the spring.
Milestones: I've established some milestones to help you keep moving, to keep me informed of your progress, and to help initiate conversations between us if there is any need. Remember that I am happy to talk with you about your work at any time!
Your final product is due no later than noon on Wednesday, May 5, 2010.
Evaluation criteria. The criteria used to evaluate your final product will be similar to the criteria routinely applied to scholarly publications. These include the significance of the question/problem to the field, originality, the appropriateness and quality of the methods used (where relevant), the adequacy of the citations to previous work, the validity and logic of your claims and interpretation, and the organization, clarity, and style of your presentation. This assignment will account for 40% of your grade for the seminar.
As a doctoral student, it is important that you be an active participant in our community. Conversations over lunch, comments on a paper, questions after a talk, interesting postings to one of the SILS listervs/blogs, are all ways of contributing to the community. I will be expecting you to be an active participant in class, remembering that the quality of your comments and questions is as important as the quantity. Other contributions to the seminar are also important, such as sharing interesting articles you have read, things you have learned, or questions to which you do not know the answer. As a researcher, you are expected to express opinions, as well as the reasons and evidence for them!
This assignment will account for 15% of your grade for the seminar.
By the end of the academic year, you should have become familiar with the research areas of the SILS faculty. In order to achieve this objective, each member of the class will participate in 4 interviews with SILS faculty members. You will identify several SILS faculty members that are potential members of your dissertation committee; we will also ensure that all full-time faculty members are interviewed. The assignments to particular interviews/faculty members will be scheduled on September 1, 2009.
Those of you interviewing a particular faculty member will schedule a 30-45 minute interview with that faculty member. You should use the interview to find out about the faculty member's research interests, and current and recent research projects. You should ask about the theories that are most useful to the faculty member, the strengths and weaknesses of the methods most often used by the faculty member, and the empirical research the faculty member has found most useful for the area of interest. A sample interview guide is attached; modify it as appropriate, for each interview.
After each interview, you will report on what you've learned; the oral report will be brief (5-10 minutes). In addition, you will post a summary of the interview to the seminar discussion forum. The interviews and subsequent reports will be scheduled during the period August 2009 through mid-January 2010, to coincide with the general topics being discussed in the seminar. See the class schedule for the date on which you will report on a particular interview.
Evaluation criteria: This assignment will be evaluated in terms of the depth of understanding of each faculty member's research, as demonstrated in the students' oral and written descriptions. The oral and written notes should cover all the areas included in the interview: the faculty members's research interests, current and recent research projects, theories and methods used, and empirical research valued. This assignment will account for 10% of your grade for the seminar.
It's often easier to explore a new area with a partner. You can debate the ideas with each other before expressing them "in public". During the week after our first meeting, write a paragraph or two describing your current research interests, and post it to the class discussion forum on Sakai. Read each other's postings with an eye to identifying the other member of the seminar whose interests are most similar to yours. We'll set aside time during the second class meeting for forming interest groups.
Each interest group is responsible for organizing a class presentation on a topic that falls within their interests. This includes identifying articles that the class might like to read, managing the in-class discussion, and posting thought-provoking discussion questions on the discussion forum for the week after the presentations (and responding to others' questions). Interest group presentations will be October 13, 2009, and should take about 15-20 minutes each. We'll discuss further details in class.
In addition, each group will write up a brief literature review in their chosen research area. In essence, it is a written summary of the knowledge you gained through your reading and the class discussion on your selected topic. The written reviews are due October 20, 2009.
Evaluation criteria. The in-class presentations will be evaluated in terms of the depth with which you tackle the problem your group identified, the clarity with which you present your ideas to the class, and the extent to which you can get the class engaged with your interests. The written reviews will be evaluated in terms of the same basic criteria. Each member of the group will receive the same grade for this assignment. This assignment will account for 10% of your grade for the seminar.
Each student will develop a brief literature review that explores a specific topic of interest. The review should synthesize/analyze a small body of literature (citing approximately 10-20 items) on a well-focused topic. Generally, your lit review should answer the question, What do we already know about this question/topic?
The literature review will be presented in two forms: oral and written. The oral presentation should be 15-20 minutes long; it will be relatively formal and may be supported with slides. The oral reviews will be presented in class on December 1, 2009. The written review should follow the guidelines for literature reviews that we discuss in class, and should be 10-15 pages long. It is due by 5:00pm on December 17, 2009.
Evaluation criteria: The criteria used to evaluate the mini-review will be similar to the criteria routinely applied to published literature reviews. These include the significance of the question/problem to the field, the adequacy of the citations to previous work, the validity and logic of your claims and interpretation, and the organization, clarity, and style of your presentation. The mini-review (including both the oral and written forms) will account for 15% of your grade for the seminar.
As we read and discuss important topics of research in information and library science this year, we will have the difficult task of exploring each area's underlying theories, the methods used, and current work in the area. We'll be able to cover a lot of material, however, because you will each read and summarize a seminal article on the topic for the class. A seminal article is one that initiates a new area of research - it might propose a different way of understanding some phenomenon, it might be a ground-breaking empirical study. In all cases, it was work that later scholars built upon fruitfully. For the purposes of this assignment, any article that was published prior to 1995, that has been cited more than 50 times, and that you believe was important to the development of the field is eligible.
Read a seminal article of your choosing. Are there issues or questions from the literature we discussed that built on this work or were informed by it? In what way is this article still important for current research? Be prepared to give a brief, informal summary of the selected article and your thoughts and ideas about it (5 minutes, no PowerPoint).
Topics and dates will be available throughout the year. Please examine the class schedule and select a topic in which you're interested, and select a seminar article related to that topic. Feel free to contact me for assistance in identifying an appropriate article. Please notify me the week before you'd like to present/discuss your article summary. Please send the article citation to the class list, as well.
Evaluation criteria. This assignment will be evaluated in terms of the selection of the article (i.e., it was important for the field and relevant to the topic at hand), the clarity of your summarization and analysis of the article, and the originality of your ideas about it. This assignment will account for 5% of your grade for the seminar.
It's always exciting to read an inspirational article or attend an inspirational presentation. It may help you develop or understand a research question, make you think about something you thought you understood in a new way, serve as the basis for a line of research, model a particular research method, drive you to demonstrate that the author/speaker is wrong, or be an example of excellent research.
What article or event has inspired you this year? It may be an article you use in a literature review for your final paper, something you heard at a recent conference or a lecture on campus, something you have read in another class, something you heard via a Web broadcast, an article that is giving you ideas for your future work, or...
Select your inspirational work or event (it could be an article, a book chapter, a web site, a lecture, a video, or a conference presentation). As soon as possible after you've identified the inspirational work or event, you will share it with us in class; please notify me when you're ready to tell us abou this work or event -- why you find this work or event inspirational, and how it is helping you or will help you with your work. (Note that I am not asking you to summarize it.) Please send the article/link citation to the class list, as well.
Evaluation criteria: This assignment will be evaluated in terms of the clarity of the connections you make between it and your own interests. This assignment will account for 5% of your grade for the seminar.
Since this seminar lasts for two semesters, you will receive an "S" (assuming satisfactory progress) for the fall semester grade, and a grade reflecting the quality of your work for the spring (H, P, L, or F). Throughout the year, you will receive evaluations of your participation and contributions to the class, as well as of your presentations and papers.
The Honor Code, which prohibits giving or receiving unauthorized aid in the completion of assignments, is in effect in this class.
Syllabus / Schedule / Sakai class site