ARST 591



MAS and Dual Students: completion of the MAS core courses

GOAL: The purpose of this course is to introduce the theory and practice of the basic social science research methods used in libraries, archives and related information-based organizations. It provides a framework of structured problem solving that is used to analyze and implement the research activities and needs of your field. The emphasis is on those techniques and knowledge required to produce research as well as the informed consumption and interpretation of existing research and includes both quantitative and qualitative research.


Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Discuss the roles that research plays in our professions in general
  • Discuss the importance of research method knowledge for today’s librarians, archivists and other practicing information specialists
  • Describe the basic elements of social science research methods and their applications in information-based environments
  • Critique a published research study
  • Prepare a detailed research plan including problem identification and selection, research questions/hypotheses, relevant variables, literature review, methodological design, sampling design, development of data gathering instruments, design of codebook, and data collection techniques
  • Discuss the various ethical issues relevant to certain research topics and research methodologies


  • The research process: theory and philosophy; the role of research in the development of disciplines and fields; inductive vs. deductive models and approaches; qualitative vs. quantitative; ethical considerations in the production and use of research
  • Historical development of research inarchival and library and information studies; the relationship of the fields to research, practice and the professions; individual and collaborative research; identification and evaluation of research problems and agendas; factors that encourage and inhibit research, such as funding, time and institutional expectations
  • The fundamental social science research model and its application to specific methodological designs, including experimental, survey, bibliometric, unobtrusive observation, structured observation, focus groups, case study, historical, etc.