Information Literacy: An Introduction to Research

Spring 2020, 16 Weeks

Available Times (EST):
Thursdays 10-11AM 
Thursdays 7-8PM

Price: $400US/$550CAN

For any questions regarding registration, please e-mail or call (215) 987-2655.

Course Description

In this course, students will be introduced to the basics of academic research, including how to:
● determine research needs
● search catalogs and databases
● select and evaluate sources
● compose annotations, bibliographies, and citations
● write research papers

Research projects will center around two primary sources: a classic children’s novel and a famous work of art.

It should be emphasized that this syllabus is flexible.
Adjustments may be made to any part of the course as necessary, given circumstances and student progress.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this course, students will have achieved basic competency in the research tasks outlined above and will also gain experience in:
● close reading and note-taking
● research design and organization
● navigating library resources
● navigating online resources
● writing a book summary
● writing a description of a work of art
● synthesizing primary and secondary sources
● formulating an argument based on evidence

The outcome will be students who are prepared to encounter formal academic research, whether in college or in other professional or personal contexts.

Textbooks and Other Resources

Students will need a copy of Farmer Boy, by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Any student who does not own a copy, or cannot find one at a local library or bookstore, can purchase an e-book edition through HarperCollins, or a Kindle edition through Amazon. The Kindle edition is $0.99.

Instructional format: Lectures will take place over 16  sessions, once a week, for one hour a week. Each  discussion will cover some aspect of research theory as well as the assignments students are currently working on. Starting with the week 4 lecture, there will be a regular glossary quiz. All discussions will take place  online, using Zoom. In addition to assignments, students will be asked to do short readings selected by the instructors. Demonstration that they have done the readings will factor into their participation grade. Readings and assignments will be posted to Populi.

Anticipated Assignments and Exercises (Homework, Projects, etc.)

● Reading Farmer Boy, by Laura Ingalls Wilder, taking notes, and pulling key quotations.
● Composing 1x annotation of a scholarly article about Farmer Boy, chosen by the instructors.
● Discovering 1x scholarly article about a book of the student’s choice, and composing an annotation for that article.
● Producing a list of 10x research questions to guide themselves in examining a work of art.
● Writing a 1-page painting description, describing a work of art.
● Completing a citation exercise, correctly citing books and articles in multiple citation styles.
● Compiling a correctly formatted bibliography of academic sources for writing a research paper on a work of art or literature.
● Regularly reviewing a glossary of research terms, and preparing to be quizzed on those terms.
● A final research project, to be worked out by each student with the help of the instructors.


Weekly assignments: 30%

Attendance, discussion, and demonstrated understanding of assigned readings: 30%

Final research project: 30%

Quizzes: 10%