7920 Syllabus (Spring 2017)

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St. Catherine University
Master of Library and Information Science Program

LIS 7920 G01: Human Information Behavior (20809)
Spring 2017

As of 1/15/17; subject to change - the most updated information is on the class wiki.

Credit hours: 3
Time: Saturdays (bi-weekly face-to-face), 1:00-5:00pm, CDC 005, as well as online interaction during the other weeks.
Instructor: Joyce Yukawa
Office: CDC 048; Hours: before/after class & by appointment
Contact: jyukawa[at]stkate[dot]edu, 
Course website: Registered students may request access at http://7920s17.pbworks.com Site content subject to change.



I. Course Description

Human information behavior encompasses multiple dimensions of how people interact with information. This course provides an introduction to research, theories and models of information behavior and addresses information needs and barriers, information seeking processes, and information use in various professional, educational, and everyday life contexts. Because the process of understanding information behavior tends to be qualitative and inductive in nature, a major focus of the course is qualitative research methods. This course complements courses in user services, human-computer interaction (HCI), and information retrieval. Assignments include in-class exercises, a critical analysis of the literature in a chosen area of study, and original research resulting in a presentation and research proposal. Prerequisites: LIS 7010, LIS 7040, or by permission of the instructor. 

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II. Course Texts


On reserve/recommended

  • Case, D. O. (2012). Looking for information: A survey of research on information seeking, needs, and behavior (3rd ed.). Boston: Elsevier/Academic Press. Available for purchase in St. Kate's Bookstore, and on reserve. ZA3075 .L665 2012
  • Fisher, K. E., Erdelez, S., & McKechnie, Lynne E. F. (Eds). (2005). Theories of information behavior. Medford, NJ: Information Today. On reserve: ZA3075 .T465 2005
  • Gorman, G. E., & Clayton, P. (2005). Qualitative research for the information professional: A practical handbook. 2nd ed. London: Facet. On reserve: Z669.7 .G675 2005  
  • Richards, L. & Morse, J. M. (2007). Readme first for a user's guide to qualitative methods (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. On reserve: H62 .M6612 2007
  • Trochim, W. (2006). Research methods knowledge base.
  • Vaughan, L. (2001). Statistical methods for the information professional: A practical, painless approach to understanding, using, and interpreting statistics. Medford, NJ: Information Today. On reserve: HF1017 .V38 2001 

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III. Student Learning Outcomes

Course Learning Outcomes

Course Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, the student will be able to:

MLIS Program SLOs Method of Assessment
1. Explain and apply concepts, models, and theories of information behavior in developing user-centered information services. SLOs 2, 5 Discussion, Research Blog, Research Proposal
2. Understand the elements of research design and the advantages and limitations of various research approaches. SLOs 2, 5 Discussion, Class Workshops, Research Blog
3. Critically evaluate research studies on information behavior. SLOs 2, 5 Class Workshops
4. Select and design appropriate research methods for exploring the information behavior of particular user groups in various information seeking and use contexts. SLOs 1, 2 Research Proposal 
5. Conduct research on information behavior. SLOs 1, 2 Research Proposal 
6. Understand and apply ethical principles in human subjects research. SLO 8 Discussion, Research Blog, Research Proposal

MLIS Program Student Learning Outcomes

This course helps students meet the following MLIS Program student learning outcomes (SLOs):

  • Identify and analyze information needs and opportunities of individuals and organizations. (SLO 1)
  • Demonstrate critical thinking by integrating relevant models, theories, research and practices. (SLO 2)
  • Communicate information and knowledge from library and information studies and related disciplines. (SLO 5)
  • Promote and model the professional values of ethical responsibility, intellectual freedom, and universal access to information. (SLO 8)

MLIS Program Curriculum Threads Addressed

  • Diversity
  • Leadership
  • Research
  • Technology
  • Ethics

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IV. Course Philosophy & Learning Strategies

The approach taken in this class is collaborative inquiry and project/problem-based learning that:

  • Is student-driven
  • Focuses on exploration, questioning, critical thinking, and reflection
  • Goes beyond information accumulation in a quest for knowledge that favors depth over breadth
  • Seeks solutions, not answers
  • Uses diverse expertise to teach each other
  • Is peer- and self-assessed

Resources we bring to the learning:

  • Knowledge of and experience with information seeking and helping others seek information
  • Knowledge of and experience with critical thinking and research
  • Teamwork and leadership in social and professional settings
  • Motivation

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V. Assignments

Research Proposal

The purpose of the research proposal assignment is to provide the opportunity to:

  • Design, implement, and evaluate a small-scale research project on information behavior;
  • Develop a proposal with potential for implementation in your future professional lives;
  • Collaborate on research, a common situation in professional settings;
  • Consolidate your learning throughout the course.

You may do individual or team research. Throughout the course, class time will be provided for group work and feedback on the evolving research proposals.

This assignment will be done in four parts: (1) Literature Review, (2) Study Design, (3) Study Report, and (4) final Research Proposal. These assignments will allow you to incrementally build your Research Proposal over the semester. While the first three assignments have points associated with them, final points will not be given until the Research Proposal is submitted at the end of the semester. Points received on the first three assignments can change in the final Research Proposal if improvements are made.

Citation style: APA. 

Literature Review (Part 1)

A literature review for a research study discusses published information on a particular subject by credible scholars and researchers. The purpose is to convey established knowledge on a topic, critique that knowledge, and build a background for your research investigation. Thus, it is both summary and synthesis. Include a bibliography of cited sources in APA style. Submit your LIterature Review to the designated D2L dropbox. You will receive feedback and suggestions for improvement, if any.

Due date: March 18, 2017
Points: contributes 20 points to the research proposal

Study Design (Part 2)

Applying the principles and practices of good research design, you will design a small-scale study on information behavior that will be implemented during the semester. Your design should address methodology, subject selection, design elements, data collection methods or instruments, and ethical considerations. Submit the (revised) Literature Review and the Study Design to the designated D2L dropbox. You will receive feedback and suggestions for improvement, if any.

Due date: April 1, 2017
Points: contributes 18 points to the research proposal

Study Report (Part 3)

Fully describing your analytical methods, you will report of the findings of the small-scale study. Submit the (revised) Literature Review, (revised) Study Design, and the Study Report to the designated D2L dropbox. You will receive feedback and suggestions for improvement, if any.

Due date: April 29, 2017
Points: contributes 12 points to the research proposal

Research Proposal (Part 4: Final)

The final Research Proposal will consist of your LIterature Review, Study Design, Study Report, and these additional elements: (1) discussion of the implications of the small-scale study methodology and findings for further research, (2) timetable of sequence of activities for the proposed research, (3) final bibliography, and (4) appendices with instruments used for data collection and analysis, data summaries, and a sample IRB consent form.

Due date: May 13, 2017
Points: 60 (60% of grade)

Research Proposal Presentation

You will present your research proposal (including small-scale study findings) to your peers, following guidelines for professional or conference presentations. 

Due date: May 13, 2017
Points: 10 (10% of grade)

Research Blog

Students will be required to keep an individual research blog. The focus questions provided aim to help you consolidate what you learn from the readings and class discussions and apply your knowledge and understanding to your research project.  Posts should be at least 250 words, and you are encouraged to write more if inspired. Writing can be informal, but should demonstrate critical thinking and thoughtful reflection. Submit your blogs weekly on a wiki page in the private class wiki, or publish it on a blog host like WordPress. Toward the end of the course after you have completed the required weekly entries, look back over your blog posts and prepare a one-page summary of what you believe you have accomplished for yourself. Submit this to the designated D2L dropbox by May 7. You are encouraged to read others' blogs and interact, as time allows.

Due dates: weekly; Research Blog Summary due May 7

Points: 20 (20% of grade)

Class Participation

Active class participation is essential to the atmosphere of this class because we learn from each other and participation acts as a model of future team work. If you know you will be missing a class session, please make alternate arrangements well in advance. If you are unable to attend at the last moment, please contact the instructor as soon as possible. Full points (10 points) will be given if all the following criteria are met: Completing all assignments on time, perfect attendance, regularly contributing to class discussions, regularly contributing in small group exercises, encouraging others to participate in asking questions and making relevant comments during class discussions and lectures. The scale goes down to one (1) point for the following: 3 or more absences for a weekly class or or more than one absence for a weekend class, incomplete assignments, few contributions to class discussions, few contributions to small group work.

Points: 10 (10% of grade)

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VI. Assessment and Grading

Table 1. Grading Scale

A A- B+ B B- C+ C C- F
95-100 90-94 87-89 83-86 80-82 77-79 74-76 70-73 0-69

Table 2. Assignments and Grading

Assignment Points
Literature Review (20%)
Study Design (18%)
Study Report (12%)
Research Proposal 60%
Research Proposal Presentation 10%
Research Blog 20%
Class Participation 10%
Total 100%

Assignment Due Dates & Absences

All assignments will be due at the beginning of the class period. Late assignments will be accepted for up to 3 days after they are due, with a 5% reduction in grade per day late. In case of emergency, please contact the instructor prior to the due date. In the case of an excused absence, make-up of course requirements (e.g. exams, quizzes, practical exam, papers, etc.) must be scheduled at a mutually convenient time. It is the student's responsibility to arrange a make-up schedule with the course instructor(s) PRIOR to the absence. In the case of an unexcused absence, make-up of course requirements that were missed must be completed by the student within three (3) school days of their original date. If not completed within this timeframe, the total point value of the course requirement is forfeited.

Incomplete Grade

A grade of incomplete is given only when unusual circumstances deem it appropriate. Ordinarily, such circumstances would involve matters that are not wholly within your control, such as illness. If you wish to receive an incomplete grade you must complete a Petition for Incomplete Grade form (available online) no later than the last day of the term in which course requirements are due. You must be making satisfactory progress in the course and you must have completed 75% of the course at the time the petition is filed. Incompletes are awarded at the instructor’s discretion. If granted, the normal deadline for completion of the work is no more than eight weeks after the last day of classes in the session or sub-session in which the course is offered. The instructor may establish a due date after the normal deadline if you request it and special circumstances warrant it. The instructor will submit an alternate grade that will automatically be recorded if you do not complete the requirements for the course by the deadline. If you complete the course requirements in the time allotted, the instructor must submit the final grade by the deadline. Extensions to the due date originally agreed to by you and your instructor must be approved by the appropriate academic dean.

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VII. Other Course Requirements & Information

SCU Attendance Policy

St. Catherine University defines attendance as participating in the faculty and student interaction required by the course.  The manner of participation used for attendance is defined by the format of the course. For online courses, attendance means following the communication requirements and due dates on the syllabus. For in-class learning, attendance means that (1) students are expected to arrive at class on time and stay for the duration of the class; and (2) students, whether present or not, are responsible for in-class content. For hybrid courses, students must follow both the online and in-class attendance requirements. For individualized study (e.g. independent study, directed study, research credits), communication during the first week is required to establish attendance. Failure to attend, for any reason, may be taken into account in the evaluation of the student's work. Each instructor will include the attendance/participation policy in the course syllabus.

It is not required that attendance be reported throughout the semester.  However, it is required that registered students attend the first day of class, or first week for online/individualized study/off campus courses that do not meet on a specific day.  Regular class attendance (for in-class), or online communication (for online learning) is expected of all students.  

Students who do not attend the first day/first week of class will be withdrawn from the course by the Registrar’s Office.  Faculty who elect to take attendance have the option to request course withdrawal for students who do not attend the class for 14 consecutive calendar days.  Under all other circumstances, the student must initiate withdrawal from a course. Even if a student does not attend class meetings or does not log into the online course, the student remains financially responsible for paying tuition for the course, up to the date of formal withdrawal. The academic calendars on the University's website contain the add, drop and withdrawal deadlines.

Professionalism and Academic integrity

You are responsible for checking your St. Kate's email account for messages from the instructor. Check your email at least once a day.

St. Catherine University expects each of its students to uphold the Student Code of Conduct, which includes civility, respect for differences, and academic integrity and honesty. Appropriate credit must be given to original creators of all works used. Major violations are cheating and plagiarism. Cheating includes copying others’ works, collaborating without authorization, and accessing others’ computer files without authorization. Plagiarism includes intentionally or unintentionally using someone else’s words, works, thoughts, or expression of ideas without giving proper credit. Please see the St. Catherine University Academic Integrity Policy.

Americans with Disabilities Act

Saint Catherine University is committed to equal access for all and recognizes that disability is an aspect of diversity. The University’s goal is to create learning environments that are usable, equitable, inclusive and welcoming.  If there are aspects of the instruction or design of this course that result in barriers to the learning environment, accurate assessment or your achievement, please contact the Resources for Disabilities office as soon as possible.  Access Consultants can be reached in the O’Neill Center on the lower level of Coeur de Catherine or by phone at 651-690-6563 to discuss academic adjustments or accommodations.

Students with disabilities needing academic accommodation should: (1) register with and provide documentation to the Student Disability Resource Center; (2) bring a letter to the instructor indicating the need for accommodation and what type. This should be done during the first week of class. 

Liberal Arts Goals

LIS 7920 Human Information Behavior advances the attainment of the University’s “Goals of a Liberal Arts Education”, specifically as this course challenges students to demonstrate critical thinking and research skills in library and information science. Specific liberal arts goals addressed in this course include: Ethics and Social Justice, Diversity and Global Perspectives, Critical and Creative Inquiry, Discipline-Based Competence.

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