INF1240H Research Methods
Focuses on developing an understanding of appropriate quantitative and qualitative research methodologies and relevant descriptive and inferential statistics for the investigation of both practical and theoretical problems in the information professions. By considering the nature, concepts, and logic of the research enterprise, permits a critically informed assessment of published research, including data gathering and data analysis procedures.
Fall 2010 ONLY - This course introduces students to a number of research methods useful for academic and professional investigations of information practices, texts and technologies. By examining the applications, strengths and major criticisms of methodologies drawn from both the qualitative and quantitative traditions, this course permits an understanding of the various decisions and steps involved in crafting (and executing) a research methodology, as well as a critically informed assessment of published research. In addition to reviewing core human research methods such as interviews, ethnographies, surveys and experiments, we will explore methods used in critical analysis of texts and technologies (discourse/content/design analysis, historical case studies), with an emphasis on the digital (e.g., virtual worlds, videogames, and online ethnographies). We will also discuss mixed method approaches, case studies, participatory and user-centered research, as well as research involving minors.
The course offers an overview of the different approaches, considerations and challenges involved in social research. The objectives of the course are to provide students with the tools and skills required to understand research terminology and assess published research, identify the types of methods best suited for investigating different types of problems and questions, develop research questions that are based on and build upon a critical appraisal of existing research, design a research proposal, and begin initial preparations for embarking on a new research project.