LIB 1201 – Research & Documentation for the Information Age

Prof. Anne Leonard
Mon/Wed 10-11:15 am
Room: A543 (Library)
Phone: 718.260.5487
Office: A439b (Library)
Office Hours: Mon/Wed 11:15 am -12:15 pm and by appointment

9/12/11: The course schedule has been updated! See it here, or download the PDF.

Course Description

In this course we will explore issues in research and documentation for text (in print and online), images, sound, and multimedia. You will investigate where information comes from and how it is organized in both traditional and emerging media. We will examine the ethics of information use and determine how to critically evaluate sources. Throughout the course, you will create and present research and documentation projects using traditional and emerging media and technologies. This is a writing-intensive course. You should expect to spend 4-6 hours outside of class time preparing for class each week.

Course Goals

To introduce you to the theory and practice of research and documentation for all information and media, including:

  • Cultural, economic and political factors that affect information and media
  • The organization of information in multiple formats
  • Developing methods for finding information that is relevant to you
  • Critically evaluating information and its sources
  • Copyright, fair use, and ethical use of information and media
  • The role of documentation and citation in scholarly, professional, and public work

Learning Outcomes

For the successful completion of this course, you should be able to:

  • Describe the ways that information is produced and organized in a variety of formats
  • Create and articulate a relevant, manageable research topic for your assignments
  • Successfully search for and acquire appropriate information about your research topic in a variety of media and formats
  • Critically evaluate and select information sources for your assignments and projects
  • Use information ethically and responsibly with an awareness of copyright and fair use
  • Synthesize information on a topic from a variety of sources and present your analysis in writing and orally
  • Collaborate with a group to complete, modify, and document a process online
  • Apply documentation methods and citation styles appropriately in your own work

Assignments and Grading

Your grade in this course will be based on:

  • Class participation                                                                                 15%
  • Blog posts on course website                                                             20%
  • Research topic proposal                                                                      5%
  • Annotated bibliography                                                                       7%
  • Research paper – outline                                                                     3%
  • Research paper – draft                                                                         10%
  • Research paper – final                                                                          15%
  • Online documentation project                                                          15%
  • Class presentation                                                                                  10%

Participation in class discussions and in-class assignments:
You are expected to complete all readings/viewings and come to class prepared to discuss them. Please bring at least 1 question about the readings to every class. In-class activities will include developing research topics, formulating search strategies, evaluating information, etc.

Short blog posts are required throughout the course. See deadlines in the course schedule (below).

Research topic proposal:
In consultation with the professor, choose a research topic relevant to the course and write a 100 word proposal. You will use this research topic for your annotated bibliography and research paper.

Research paper outline:
Organize the main ideas that you will discuss in your research paper and show the relationships among the ideas you write about. A well-organized outline make the writing process simpler and more straightforward.

Annotated bibliography:
Select a minimum of 5 sources in a variety of media formats on your research topic and create an annotated bibliography (100 words minimum per source).

Research paper:
Write a research paper on your approved topic. Papers must be 5-8 pages in length (not including illustrations or Works Cited), typed, double-spaced. You are required to submit at least one draft of your paper before submitting the final version (see deadlines in the course schedule below).

Online documentation project:
In small groups assigned by the professor, students will build an online resource and collaboratively document their process.

Class presentation:
Each student group will give a 20 minute class presentation describing their online resource and presenting the finished online documentation project.

Full details and requirements for each assignment will be discussed in class and posted to the course blog.

Required Textbook

Badke, W. B. (2008). Research strategies: Finding your way through the information fog. New York: iUniverse, Inc.

This text is available for less than $20 in the City Tech bookstore, and I strongly recommend that you purchase it. We will read almost the entire book in this class and it should also be useful to you for other courses that require research.

You can also buy it as an eBook (in PDF) for $8-10 from the author’s website:

The book is also on reserve in the library: CALL NUMBER: Z710 .B23 2008

Additional materials to read/view are assigned for each class; see Course Schedule below. Most of these materials are available online (at no cost to you) in library databases or on the internet; the rest are on reserve in the library. Links to materials available online are posted on the course blog.

Required Technology

Reliable access to the internet and to a computer with word processing software are essential for successful completion of assignments. Up to 20% of your grade is dependent upon regular contributions to the course website. Most readings are available via the course website or as a link on this syllabus. The online documentation project requires your group to develop a web-based resource. All written assignments must be word-processed. Lack of internet access is not an acceptable excuse for late or incomplete assignments.

Recommended Reading

There are no assigned readings from these books, but you may find them helpful to consult during the course (they are on reserve in the library).

Devine, J., and Egger-Sider, F. (2009). Going beyond Google: The invisible web in learning and teaching. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc.
CALL NUMBER: ZA4237 .D4 2009

Discusses expert searching of “deep” web resources, may be useful for research on your paper/project topics.

Riedling, A. M. (2006). Learning to learn: A guide to becoming information literate in the 21st century. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc.
CALL NUMBER: ZA3075 .R54 2006

This book is similar to our textbook, and offers another set of guidelines for research and writing.

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