College of Advancing Studies
AD700: Research: Methods and Data

Fall 2012



Instructor: Brendan A. Rapple, Ph.D.

Phone (work):  (617) 552 4482
Phone (home):  (617) 783 2174
E-Mail: rappleb@bc.edu

COURSE DESCRIPTION:
This course examines the logic of research design and explores how data are approached, collected and analyzed in an interactive information age. Practical applications across disciplines introduce both the electronic and traditional tools and techniques necessary to interpret and utilize findings. Case studies and presentations prepare students to analyze, evaluate and challenge specific applications and to suggest alternative interpretations. Online databases and the WWW expand options.

Address of Syllabus: https://www2.bc.edu/brendan-rapple/AD700-2012.html

DISABILITY
If you have a disability and will be requesting accommodations for this course, please register with either Kathy Duggan (Kathleen.duggan@bc.edu) Associate Director, Academic Support Services, the Connors Family Learning Center (learning disabilities and ADHD) or Suzy Conway (suzy.conway@bc.edu), Assistant Dean for Students with Disabilities (all other disabilities).  Advance notice and appropriate documentation are required for accommodations.

READINGS FOR EACH CLASS:
You will be required to read for most classes a reading (they will  be available online).  For each assigned reading for each class you must write a brief summary/review/reaction (150 words maximum for each reading).

These writing assignments must be completed and handed in on the evening the readings are to be discussed.  It is important that you read all the class reading assignments. Each class there will be a general discussion of the assigned articles.   


CLASS PARTICIPATION:
Class participation grade will be based mainly on attendance and contribution to general class discussions. Students are required to prepare the readings for the day they are assigned and be willing to discuss them in class. Your contribution to the discussion will count for a substantial part of the 9 points given to class participation. 


CLASS ATTENDANCE:
Class attendance is mandatory. To avoid an incomplete grade for this course, please let me know ahead of time about any circumstances that may prevent you from making it to class. Punctuality is also expected. Attendance is taken each class. Students will be marked as absent if they come late to class.    


CELL PHONES may not be used during class time.


LATE ASSIGNMENT POLICY:
Each assignment MUST be handed in by the stated due date. This is ESSENTIAL. The grade for the assignment will be reduced by 20% each day or fraction of a day that the assignment is late.


PLAGIARISM:
This is the act of taking the words, ideas, data, illustrations, or statements of another person or source, and presenting them as one's own. Each student is responsible for learning and using proper methods of paraphrasing and footnoting, quotation, and other forms of citation, to ensure that the original author, speaker, illustrator, or source of the material used is clearly acknowledged. Anyone guilty of plagiarism will receive an F for the course and will be reported to the appropriate authorities.


Grading

Class Participation
9%
Weekly Reading Assignments 9%
Homework I
5%
Homework II
5%
Homework III 5%
Homework IV 5%
Mid-Term Exam 20%
Class Presentation of Paper
10%
Final Paper (Lit Review)
32%
TOTAL
100%
 


 

WEEKLY COVERAGE

Week 1:  5 September, 2012

Introduction to Course

  • course coverage

  • requirements and expectations

  • class participation

  • readings for each class

  • Mid-Term exam 

  • major paper assignment   [The choice of topic for the final paper (the course's major assignment) must be indicated by means of an e-mail message to the instructor by the evening of the 10/17/2012 class. See end of syllabus for list of topics]

  • office hours

Introduction to Research (PowerPoint)

Orientation to BC Libraries (PowerPoint)

What is a Library Database? (YouTube Video)

Reading for next class:

* "What is Research"  [write a brief review of this article for next class -- 150 words or less]


Week 2 -- 12 September, 2012


BC's Holmes Catalog

Primary vs. Secondary Sources  (YouTube)

Popular vs. Scholarly Sources  (YouTube)

Resources Used in Research  (Powerpoint)

Homework 1 assigned today-- due on 26 September, 2012.  Homework One

Databases:

Readings for Next Class:

 "The Information Explosion" [write a brief review of this article for next class -- 150 words or less].



Week 3 --  19 September, 2012

Evaluating Web Resources  (PowerPoint)

Useful YouTube Video:
Evaluating Information Sources

Helpful Pages for Evaluating Websites:
-- Evaluating Web Pages: Techniques to Apply & Questions to Ask
-- Evaluating Web Sites
-- Checklist for Evaluating Web Resources

Some Websites for Evaluation
--  i.Saw: the World's first UUSB-powered chainsaw
--  Zombie Attack at Hierakonpolis
--  Feline Reactions to Bearded Men
--  British Stick Insect Foundation
--  Deaths in German Concentration Camps

Three Interesting YouTube Videos: 
-- Did You Know 4.0
-- Digital Junkie - Information Overload
-- Social Media Revolution Socialnomics 2011

Databases:
-- New York Times 1851-2008 - ProQuest Historical Newspapers
-- American National Biography
--
Academic OneFile
-- GenderWatch

Reading for Next Class:
Libraries, Patrons, and e-Books (Pew Report, June, 2012)    [write a brief review of this article for next class -- 150 words or less].



Week 4 --  26 September, 2012

Homework 1 Due Today

Homework 2 assigned today -- due on 3 October, 2012.  Write a review of Nicholas Carr's article "Is Google Making Us Stupid? What the Internet is doing to our brains" (Atlantic Magazine, July/August 2008). In addition to mentioning the article's major arguments, themes, views etc., it is important that you provide, as in most reviews, your own opinions of and reactions to the article. Obviously feel free to agree or disagree, praise or criticize as you feel appropriate. This review should be about 900-1200 words or about 3-4 pages in length.


Class Discussion:
Never before in history has so much information been available in digital (electronic) format. Also, though it might seem paradoxical, never before in history has so much information been available in print format. Discuss the relative merits and disadvantages of each format. Make a list of each and give your opinion on which format you yourself prefer.

Distinguishing Magazines from Scholarly Journals (Brief YouTube Video)

Conducting Business Research  (PowerPoint)

Four Interesting YouTube Videos:


Particularly Useful Page: BC Libraries Business FAQs

Selected BC Libraries Business Databases:

Reading for next class:



Week 5 --  3 October, 2012

Homework 2 Due Today

Homework 3 assigned today -- due on 17 October, 2012. Write a review of the 2009 report What Today’s College Students Say about Conducting Research in the Digital Age. In addition to mentioning the article's major arguments, themes, views etc., it is important that you provide, as in most reviews, your own opinions of and reactions to the article. Obviously feel free to agree or disagree, praise or criticize as you feel appropriate. This review should be about 900-1200 words or about 3-4 pages in length.

Class Discussion:
Nicholas Carr's main argument in Is Google Making Us Stupid? What the Internet is doing to our brains is "that the Internet as a whole (and not just Google) might have detrimental effects on cognition that diminish the capacity for concentration and contemplation." Discuss Carr's main arguments and provide your own opinions. Don't be shy about either taking a totally opposite point of view or, on the other hand, agreeing fully with Carr!


Surveys and Questionnaires  (PowerPoint)

Databases:
Sociological Abstracts
PsycINFO 1840-current   (Psychological Abstracts)
Social Sciences Citation Index


Reading for next class:
"Explaining History in a Nutshell"   [write a brief review of this article for next class -- 150 words or less].



Week 6  --  10 October, 2012

Historical Research  (PowerPoint)

Using Survey Monkey: Using the Survey Monkey software <http:www.surveymonkey.com/> create a ten question survey assessing user satisfaction with a hypothetical YMCA gymnasium/fitness center. 

Databases:
America History and Life
American Broadsides and Ephemera
American Periodicals Series, 1740-1900
Ancestry Library


Reading for next class:
What is Ethics in Research & Why is It Important? by David B. Resnik. [write a brief review of this article for next class -- 150 words or less]


Week 7  --  17 October, 2012

The choice of major paper topic must be indicated by means of an e-mail message to the instructor by this evening’s class.

Homework 3 Due Today

Homework 4 assigned today -- due on 31 October, 2012. Write an outline  of your major research paper (two pages maximum, double-spaced).  The outline should include a brief overview of the topic, general organization (list a coherent ordering of topics that you’ll address), and a preliminary list of research sources to be used (mention at least 10). 

Class Discussion:
Break up into groups and discuss the following two case studies. Focus on the ethical implications.

Case 1 "Informed Consent and Children"
Given the vulnerability of many aging people and their often hampered ability to express free informed consent, many scholars have challenged research on the elderly, notably institutionalized elderly, and on children. Especially questionable are experiments on children who are unlikely to benefit from the research in which they are involved. What is your opinion of the research case that occurred in 1984 when researchers transplanted a baboon heart into a dying infant, "Baby Fae," even though the heart had hardly any chance of helping her live beyond several days?

Case 2  “Unexpected Abnormal Test Results”
As a laboratory exercise, your graduate students prepare slides with smears of their own blood.  You then randomize the slides and ask each student to run various tests on an anonymous slide from a classmate.  One of the slides shows very low values on some tests, low enough to suggest HIV infection.  What action should you take?

Finding Images Online  (A Guide)

An
Interesting YouTube Video: 
EPIC 2015

Ethics in Research  (PowerPoint)

Informed Consent  (YouTube)

The Tuskegee Syphilis Project  (YouTube)


Ethical Concerns in Research:  Examples of Institutional Review Board (IRB) documentation.

1) Research Integrity (BC's Web Site)

2) BC's Policies and Procedures for Use of Human Subjects in Research

Databases:
Alt Health Watch     (Medicine)
CINAHL     (Nursing)
Sport Discus  (Sport)
ARTstor (Art)

Reading for next class:
"Picture a World Without Pens, Pencils, and Paper: The Unanticipated Future of Reading and Writing".  [write a brief review of this article for next class -- 150 words or less]


Week 8   --  24 October, 2012

Three Useful YouTube Videos:   
Information Literacy: Identify Your Sources(YouTube -- video from Otis College) 
Peer Review in Five Minutes  (You Tube)
Choosing and Narrowing Research Essay Topics  (YouTube)

Steps in Writing a Research Paper  (PowerPoint)

Databases:

Reading for Next Class:
Plagiarism (The Writing Center, UNC Chapel Hill) [write a brief review of this article for next class -- 150 words or less]


Week 9   --  31 October, 2012

Homework 4 Due Today

Web 2.0: The Machine is Us/ing Us   (YouTube)

Writing a Research Paper -- Continued   (PowerPoint)

RefWorks Tutorial  (YouTube)

Using RefWorks

Class Discussion: Euthanasia has received an immense amount of both scholarly and popular attention over the past decade. A multitude of books, articles, reports etc. have been published on various aspects of the topic. Arguably, it has been the subject of information overload.

Imagine that you are required to research and write a 15 page term paper on a topic of your choice having to do with Euthanasia. The paper must have at least 20 references in the bibliography.  List some approaches how you would go about researching this topic, identifying strategies for locating the most relevant material among the hundreds of thousands of books, articles etc.


Databases:


Week 10  --  7 November, 2012

Mid-Term Exam

Reading for next class:

"The Importance of Citation" (by Judy Hunter, Grinnell College). This paper is a good overview of the rationale behind citation and its importance in scholarly writing. Though it's written for students at Grinnell, it's just as useful for students at BC College.   [write a brief review of this article for next class -- 150 words or less].


Week 11 --  14 November, 2012

Quotation, Summarization, Paraprasing  (YouTube)

Google & Wikipedia vs. ProQuest Research Tool  (YouTube)

Research 101: Part I   (YouTube)

Research 101: Part II (YouTube)

Search Engines -- Google  (PowerPoint)

Author Rights (PowerPoint)

Selective Web Guides

Two Useful Databases:
PAIS International
Alt-Press-Watch

 

Week 12  --  28 November, 2012

Finishing Up Your Paper and Documenting It   (PowerPoint)

APA Tutorial
Wendy Mages, a doctoral graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, has put together a very useful tutorial on APA format. It's entitled "APA EXPOSED : Everything You Always Wanted to Know About APA Format But Were Afraid to Ask!
A guide created by a colleague at BC: A Guide to APA Style

Very useful also is the database
Chicago Manual of Style

See also The University of Wisconsin-Madison Writing Center
APA Documentation Style website, especially the Formating Your Paper section.

Two Videos about APA Style/Formatting:
Tips for Making a Presentation   (PowerPoint)
Giving an Effective Class Presentation (YouTube)

Some Interesting Videos about Perception:



Week 13  --  5 December, 2012

Student Presentations of Major Research Paper Begin this Evening


Week 14  --  12 December, 2012

Student Presentations of Major Research Paper Continue this Evening

Research Papers Due Today

Wrapping Up




Major Research PaperAssignment (worth 32% of grade)

Due last day of class: 12 December, 2012

This paper (at least 14 pages in length) will be a research paper on a specific topic.

Students must choose ONE of the following twenty research problems/topics:

1. American International Business in Asia.

2. Americans Purchasing Medicinal Drugs from Canada: Legal, Business, and Moral Implications.

3. Animal Rights: Legal and Ethical Issues.

4. Can Virtual Universities Provide a "Good" Education?

5. Corporate Social Responsibility: Potential Conflict Between Company Self Interest and Wider Social Purpose?

6. Depletion of the Ozone Layer: Grave Environmental Issue or Misguided Hype?

7. Do Print Newspapers Have a Future?

8. Environment: Rights of Developers versus Wildlife Protection.

9. Ethics in Advertising: Is This an Oxymoron?

10. How Can the Gap Between Rich and Poor in America be Narrowed?

11. Is Telecommuting Fairer (or more unfair) to Men than to Women?

12. Labor Unions Today: Still Essential or Outlived Their Use?

13. Our Perception of Femininity and Masculinity: The Influence of Advertising.

14. Portrayal of African Americans in Movies: Racist, Insensitive, Fair? An Analysis of Scholarly Views.

15. Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: Strategies for Stopping It.

16. Social Security Privatization: Great Solution or False Promise

17. Technology is Radically Changing American Education: Pros and Cons.

18. The Global Population Explosion: Does the World Have a Sustainable Future?

19. The Role of Information Technology in Business and Management Decision-Making

20. World Food Shortage: The Problem and Potential Solutions


N.B.: It is permissible for two students (no more than two) to work together on this research paper.  However, it's important that each student carries his/her weight and contributes as equitably and as equally as possible. Each student will be given the same grade for the paper. It is totally optional for a pair to work on a paper.

One requirement: instead of the 14 pages minimum required from a single student, a paper researched and written by two students must be at least 22 pages in length.

For the purpose of this assignment I want you to indicate that you have employed a variety of different research tools (print as well as online) to locate your literature.



Updated:  28 November, 2012

Questions or comments contact Brendan A. Rapple: rappleb@bc.edu
Copyright  1998- The Trustees of Boston College