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LIBS 2804


Spring Semester 2011

Weber State University
Dr. Wade Kotter
 Wednesday, 10:30-11:20 am
LI 106




Date Topic, Activities Deadlines
1/5 Introduction/Pre-Test
1/12 The Research Process
1/19 Basic Search Techniques and the Online Catlaog Exercise 1 Due
1/26 Web Resources in the Social Sciences
2/2 Evaluating Internet Information  
2/9 Reference Resources in the Social Sciences Exercise 2 Due
2/16 Evaluating Reference Resources Quiz 1
2/23 Finding Articles in the Social Sciences  
3/2 Advanced Search Techniques Exercise 3 Due
3/9 Evaluating Articles  
3/16 Spring Break -- No Class!!!  
3/23 Documenting Your Research  
3/30 Documenting Your Research (cont.) Quiz 2
4/6 Creating Annotations Exercise 4 Due
4/13 Information Ethics/Post-Test/Student Evaluations  
4/20 Annotated Bibliography due by 5:00 pm Annotated Bibliography Due by 5:00 pm



Dr. Wade Kotter
Social Sciences and Music Librarian

Office:            LI 141
Phone:           626-7458
Office Hours:  By appointment


Intended for students interested in the social sciences, this one-credit hour course will assist you in developing information literacy and basic research skills to support life-long learning. You will develop skills in identifying, locating, retrieving, documenting and critically evaluating both electronic and print resources that are appropriate for undergraduate research, with an emphasis on the social sciences. Completing this course fulfills Part D of the WSU Computer & Information Literacy requirement. Prerequisite: At lease one Social Science General Education Course.

Learning Objectives:

By the end of this course, each student will be able to:

  • Identify and articulate their information needs in the social sciences
  • Develop an effective research strategy to fulfill their information needs
  • Identify, locate and evaluate information resources appropriate for research in the social sciences
  • Use an appropriate style manual to accurately document the results of their research
  • Explain the importance of such concepts as copyright and plagiarism

Course Requirements:

  • Attendance: Success in this class requires regular attendance. Roll will be taken during the first part of each class session. Any student missing more than three class periods without an acceptable excuse will have her/his final grade reduced by one letter (for example, A- to B-, or C+ to D+). The instructor's decision on the acceptability of an excuse is final.
  • Exercises (40 points each; 160 total): Four exercises, each of them requiring hands-on application of skills introduced in class, will be assigned during the semester. Students should ask for assistance from the instructor and/or a reference librarian whenever they need assistance. Students are required to hand in each exercise in class on the date indicated on the course schedule. Four points will be subtracted from your score for each school day that the assignment is late. There will be no exceptions to this policy.
  • Quizzes (30 points each; 60 total): Two objective quizzes are scheduled during the semester. Students are required to take the quizzes as scheduled. There will be no exceptions to this policy.
  • Annotated Bibliography (260 points): Each student is required to submit an annotated bibliography on an instructor-approved social science topic of their choice by the last day of class. There will be no exceptions to this deadline. Detailed instructions will be distributed during the second week of class.
  • Pre-test/Post-test (10 points each; 20 points total): Each student is required to take a pre-test on the first or second day of class and a post-test on the last day of class. Everyone who takes these tests will get the full 10 points for each test. The purpose of the these tests is to evaluate overall student learning in the course. Individual scores will not be recorded.
  • Academic Dishonesty: Cheating, plagiarism and all other forms of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. Students are expected to abide by the Student Code as printed in the WSU Student Handbook.  Proof of academic dishonesty will result in a final grade of E for the course, and the circumstances will be reported to appropriate university authorities.
  • Services for Students with Disabilities: Any student requiring accommodations or services due to a disability must register with Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) in room 181 of the Student Services Center. SSD can also arrange to provide course materials (including this syllabus) in alternative formats if necessary.
  • In Case of the Flu: If you are experiencing flu symptoms (fever, chills, cough), stay home. If you develop flu symptoms while at school, go home. Exposing others to the virus can potentially result in serious complications and even death in high-risk individuals. See the WSU website at for specific recommendations. While on campus, use the hand sanitizer provided at various locations. Always wash your hands and cover your mouth if you cough. Be sure to notify me if you have any concerns or you are sick or have a sick family member you must care for. I am committed to making appropriate accommodations for students who miss class because of the flu. In case of a campus closure, I will continue to provide instruction via email. PDFs of lecture notes and handouts will be sent out via email once a week. Alternative arrangements for completion of exercises, assignments and quizzes will also be provided. In order to make this possible, it is your responsibility to provide me with your email address as soon as possible or let me know if you do not have access to a computer or the Internet from home. And be sure to let me know if you have any questions or concerns.


500 points are possible, distributed as follows:


4 Exercises (40 points each)
2 Quizzes (30 points each)
Annotated Bibliography
Total Points


Final grades will be assigned based on the following scale:

460-500 = A
450-459 = A-
440-449 = B+
410-439 = B
400-409 = B-
390-399 = C+
360-389 = C
350-359 = C-
340-349 = D+
310-339 = D
300-309 = D-
000-299 = E


You Can Expect Me:

  • To start class promptly
  • To be prepared for each class period
  • To give you the chance to ask questions
  • To give prompt feedback on quizzes, exercises, and projects
  • To be courteous and respectful

In Return, I Expect You:

  • To be in your seat when class begins
  • To let me know if you are going to miss class or need to leave early
  • To ask questions
  • To take responsibility for your own learning
  • To be courteous and respectful by not talking during class and by turning off cell phones and beepers


Copies of the following book are available at the Reference Desk, on Table 2B in the Reference area (call # BF 76.7 .P83 2009) and on Reserve at the Ciruclation Desk on the lower level of the library:

American Psychological Association. (2009). Publication Manual of the American Psychological
        Association. (6th ed.). Washington, DC:  American Psychological Association.


Updated December 28, 2010 . Please send comments to Wade Kotter
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