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English 305: Research in the Information Age

Course Objectives

This course will introduce students to search strategies and methods for finding various materials (primary and secondary sources, images, etc.) in various formats, particularly online and in print, using the research resources at Dupré Library and online. The course will focus on the location, evaluation, management, and use of information and will combine short lectures and hands-on learning in helping students to apply critical thinking to their search for sources, writing, and presentation, and it will give them the tools to continue refining these skills in the future.


The course is open to students who have taken English 101 and 102 or their equivalent. Students are expected to attend and actively participate in class discussions.


Determining final grades for the course will take into account attendance, participation, and final project completion. The course is worth one (1) credit.

Required Reading


Tentative* Course Outline

*As always, may be dependent on holidays, assignments; weather

Week One
Library Orientation & Tour

Week Two
Starting your research; picking a topic

Week Three
Understanding Information & Information Gathering

Week Four
Evaluating information online; Google Scholar and Wikipedia; using help tools – turn in journals

Week Five
Introducing the library website; advanced database searching

Week Six
Classifying systems; Older information formats – microfilm; using the periodical guide, journals

Week Seven
Gov Docs, online and in-person; controlled vocabulary

Week Eight
Using eBooks – turn in journals

Week Nine
Specialized reference sources: biographical/statistical/business – discuss research proposals

Week 10
Bibliographies/Style Manuals

Week 11
Special Collections/Center for Louisiana Studies

Week 12
Citation and Plagiarism

Week 13
Using WorldCat/Interlibrary Loan; citation management tools – turn in final journal

Week 14
Class wrap-up – last chance to turn in late assignments; turn in a rough draft of proposal/bibliography

Week 15
Dead week; review for final – turn in research proposal/annotated bibliography

Week 16
Final – class evaluation due

Course Assignments & Grading

Grading Scale
A=90-100 • B=80-89 • C=70-79 • D=60-69 • F=below 60

Attendance is required. The final grade takes it into account.

Weekly Assignments
Most days, you will have group work based on the lessons that will be turned in at the end of class. Occasionally you will have short assignments that are not group projects to complete before the next class. Failure to turn these assignments in (or make sure your name is on the paper if it’s a group assignment) could negatively impact your grade.

Research Diary
In this class, you will keep a diary of your research progress. It is up to you whether you keep this electronic or in the form of an actual notebook. All notebook entries should amount to a page or two (200-300 words, roughly) of reflection on your progress in formulating a research proposal for the Annotated Bibliography at the end of class, or on something you find interesting or valuable about class. The research diaries will be collected periodically.

Research Proposal and Annotated Bibliography
Near the end of the semester, all students will turn in a research proposal and an annotated bibliography for this research proposal. Students will be expected to come up with a 2-3 page research topic and question that could be used to write an academic paper. You’re welcome to discuss ideas for that topic and question with the instructor, who will give more information closer to the end of the semester. In addition to your research proposal, students will turn in an annotated bibliography of 8-10 sources that would be considered strong academic sources for this proposal.

Class Evaluation
Students are asked to turn in an evaluation of the class and instructor at the end of the semester. This evaluation will be worth 10 points.

The final will encompass topics covered throughout the semester. There will be no midterm exam.

Emergency Evacuation Procedure

A map of each floor is posted near the elevator marking the evacuation route and the Designated Rescue Area. This is an area where emergency service personnel will go first to look for individuals who need assistance in exiting the building. Students who may need assistance should identify themselves to library staff.