INLS 200-002: Retrieving & Analyzing Information
[Overview] [Schedule & Reading] [Blackboard]
[Research Question] [Source Evaluation] [Research Project: Final Report]
[Research Database Review]
Research Question Development
You will develop a research question to investigate during the semester. Imagine that you are taking a course that you are enjoying, in SILS or in some related area. (That course should not be INLS 200 − that would be a little too recursive.) Imagine that you are assigned to write a term paper in that course on a topic in Information Science. This imaginary, and hopefully pleasant, context is what you will use to select the research question you will work on for this project. See the Areas in Information Science section, below, for some topic suggestions.
If you are actually in this situation in another course that you are currently taking, it is acceptable to use that assignment as the basis for this research project. You will be expected to write a substantially different paper for the final portion of this project than what you will be writing for that other course.
There are 2 deliverables for this assignment:
Two drafts of your research question will be due during the first third of the semester. See the Schedule for the due dates.
A journal of the development of your research question over the course of the semester will be due with your complete project documentation at the end of the semester.
Your first question description should include:
the course number and name of the (imaginary) course,
a brief description of that course (if this is a real course, include the catalog description of the course and write your own description), and
the research question of yours
a one-paragraph description of the question you wish to investigate.
We will discuss the research questions in class. After class, I may comment to you individually on the suitability of your question for the purposes of this assignment.
Your second question description should include both your revised question and your original question (and please label the two so I know which is which) with a brief write-up of how and your reasons why the question has changed. In addition, you need to include a paragarph of the preliminary research about the topic of your research. (Here is a link to an article about what is the preliminary research: http://writing.colostate.edu/guides/trad_research/intro/pop2b.cfm )
It is expected that your question will evolve during the course of your working on the semester-long assignment. For example, sub-questions may develop as you learn more about your topic, or the question itself may change as your interests change during the process of information retrieval. As you continue to turn in portions of this assignment, you should also be creating a journal of the development of your question: you will submit this journal as a part of your final project. Every change to your question should be documented, with a brief description of the reason(s) for the revision. You may ask the professor to review revisions at any time. The final version of the question will be the basis for the final report of the assignment.
The following list includes many, but certainly not all, of the areas within the field of Information & Library Science. For your research question, you should select a topic within one of the areas below, or you may choose a topic that is not on this list but that particularly interests you, as long as it falls within the field of Information & Library Science. (I should add that ILS is a very broad field, and also crosses over with many other fields, so you have a lot of latitude here.)
The Digital Divide
Human-Computer Interaction (or Computer-Human Interaction, depending on who you ask)
Intellectual Freedom & Censorship
Publishing (professional, such as journalism or books, or personal, such as blogs)
Reference & Digital or Virtual Reference
... or other topic of your choice
These topics are very broad; you could not, for example, do a research project on the topic of Digital Government in a semester. You will need to select a narrower sub-topic within these broad areas for your research question. For example, within Digital Government, some good topics might be: How did blogs influence the 2004 Presidential election? What are the pros and cons of voting technology?
Criteria Used to Evaluate This Assignment (Total: 10 points, 5 points per each draft)
It's difficult to come up with a good research question. A good question must be large enough to be interesting, but small enough to be do-able in the time you have available. For this assignment, you have only the duration of one semester, which isn't a long time. So your question must be fairly narrowly focused. What I am looking for in your research question is something that is answerable in the span of one semester, and which will enable you to use a variety of types of information sources.
Your research question will be evaluated according to the following rubric:
Question is stated clearly and succinctly. Scope of the question is appropriate. The question will require you to search a range of information sources and types of sources. For the 2nd draft: you have clearly done some research and used your findings to refine your question.
Points will be deducted for the following: Question is not stated clearly. Scope of the question is too broad or too narrow, or there is more than one research topic packed into your question. The question will require you to search in only one type of source.
Due dates of the research questions are January 28 (1st draft), and February 11 (2nd draft). Submit the electronic file of the final portfolio (file name example: "Sanghee Oh_Research Question 1.doc", "Sanghee Oh_Research Question 2.doc") by 5:00pm on the due date.
Last updated: 01/11/2009