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Library 100 Spring 2021

General Syllabus

LIBR 100, Sections 01 and 05
Spring 2021

nformation Research

General Syllabus

Teacher: Tony Doyle

How the Course Will be Organized:

This will be an asynchronous class. It will be divided into weekly modules. The module for the coming week will be posted by noon on Tuesdays. Each module will include the following: (1) topics for the week, (2) readings for the week (if any), (3) links to relevant videos, (4) exercises/classwork on the topic of the week, and (5) additional assignments (if any). All work has to be submitted on Blackboard and will be due by the following Tuesday at noon. I will hold live weekly office hours on Tuesdays from noon till one on Blackboard Collaborate.

Course Description:

Information Research (LIBR 100) is a one-credit course for students who are interested in improving their research skills and in getting a handle on which information should be trusted. Researchers have vastly more information at their disposal than they can use. The challenge is to identify information that is both credible and relevant to your assignment, topic, or interests. Information Research will give you the tools to manage any level of research. As a one-credit course, Information Research is designed to have one third the amount of work of a three-credit class.

Textbook: None

Topics covered:

1. Selecting a manageable, researchable topic

2. Editorial control

3. Choosing the right databases

4. Search strategies in databases

5. Evaluating sources for audience, credibility, point of view, bias, and conflict of interest

6. Writing annotations

7. Finding relevant background information on your topic using reference sources

8. Scholarly sources and peer review

9. Books and ebooks

10. Fake news and conspiracy theories

11. Intellectual property and copyright

Expected Course Outcomes

By the end of the course you should be able to:

1. Identify research topics that are both worth pursuing and manageable.

2. Find relevant background information on a topic.

3. Use databases to find articles and books relevant to your topic.

4. Distinguish among different types of information sources, for instance, popular vs. scholarly sources

5. Analyze and evaluate sources, published and unpublished, as to purpose, credibility, point of view or bias, and possible conflict of interest.

6. Correctly cite and effectively annotate sources.

Breakdown for final grade:



Weekly exercises/classwork*


Annotations** and other assignments


Final exam


* You will be permitted to miss one of these exercises without penalty.

**I will accept drafts of the annotations by 9am of the Monday before the assignment is due. Please submit them to as a Word attachment.

Choosing a research topic:

I will ask you to choose a topic by week two (February 9, noon) from one of the options below. Your three annotations will be on this topic.

* Affirmative action in college admissions or employment

* African Americans or Latinos and the police

* Alternative energy sources, for instance, solar or wind

* Automation, AI, and the future of work

* Big data and privacy

* Climate change skepticism or denialism

* Conspiracy theories (excluding the JFK assassination), for example, the anti-vaccination movement, 9/11, climate change, Newtown/Sandy Creek or Parkland shootings, the so-called deep state, Qanon

* Coral reef bleaching/coral reefs and climate change

* Critical pedagogy

* An endangered species/habitat loss

* Fake/false news, for example, Infowars/Alex Jones

* Surveillance cameras and facial recognition software

* Free speech on campus

* Genetically modified organisms or crops

* Glacial melting/sea level rise

* Immigration (some specific issue, for instance, ICE or open borders)

* Industrial scale meat production and the environment

* Industrial scale meat production and animal welfare

* Intersectionality

* An LGBTQ issue

* NSA surveillance of American citizens

* Nuclear power

* Privacy and big data

* Pseudoscience, for instance, homeopathy, astrology, creationism/intelligent design

* Standardized/high stakes testing

* World population: Potential negative effects

Late work and makeups: I will accept no late work without a legitimate documented excuse (for instance, serious illness or injury, death in the family, arrest, court appearance). Please contract me before the assignment is due if you think that you won’t be able to hand it in on time. Also, you will need a legitimate documented excuse to make up any in class written exercises. As noted above, you will be permitted to miss one weekly assignment without penalty.

Please note: Incompletes will be granted only under extraordinary circumstances.

Rubrics: Specific rubrics on the assignments will be posted in Blackboard under Rubrics.

Technology needed: You will need a reasonably good wifi connection to stream the lectures or to join the office hours.

Communication: Occasionally I will want to get in touch with the whole class by email. I will address all emails to your Hunter account. If you’re not in the habit of checking your Hunter account, please have your emails forwarded from it to an account that you do check regularly. I will answer emails Monday-Friday, 9:00-5:00, excluding holidays. Please do not send emails on a whim. Please make sure, before you send an email, that the question you’re asking is important or that it’s about an issue that you have genuinely been unable to resolve. If you have questions specifically about Blackboard or other questions about technology, please get in touch with the student help desk.

Withdrawals: Withdrawal is your responsibility and has to be completed by April 13 if you want to receive a W on your transcript. Otherwise, you’ll receive a WU for unofficial withdrawal.

Plagiarism and cheating: Hunter’s Academic Integrity Statement: “Hunter College regards acts of academic dishonesty (e.g., plagiarism, cheating on examinations, obtaining unfair advantage, and falsification of records and official documents) as serious offenses against the values of intellectual honesty. The College is committed to enforcing the CUNY Policy on Academic Integrity and will pursue cases of academic dishonesty according to the Hunter College Academic Integrity Procedures.”

I expect all written work to be done independently. Plagiarism is any attempt to pass someone else's ideas or research off as your own, through either unattributed direct quotation or paraphrasing. It's a kind of theft. Plagiarism on the homework assignments will result in an automatic F for the assignment. In addition, I will report any cases of suspected plagiarism to the college's student disciplinary committee for possible further sanctions. Plagiarism doesn't pay: if you try it, you will almost certainly get caught.

ADA Policy

“In compliance with the American Disability Act of 1990 (ADA) and with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Hunter College is committed to ensuring educational parity and accommodations for all students with documented disabilities and/or medical conditions. It is recommended that all students with documented disabilities (Emotional, Medical, Physical, and/or Learning) consult the Office of AccessABILITY, located in Room E1214B, to secure necessary academic accommodations. For further information and assistance, please call: (212) 772- 4857 or (212) 650-3230.”

Hunter College Policy on Sexual Misconduct

“In compliance with the CUNY Policy on Sexual Misconduct, Hunter College reaffirms the prohibition of any sexual misconduct, which includes sexual violence, sexual harassment, and gender-based harassment retaliation against students, employees, or visitors, as well as certain intimate relationships. Students who have experienced any form of sexual violence on or off campus (including CUNY-sponsored trips and events) are entitled to the rights outlined in the Bill of Rights for Hunter College.

Sexual Violence: Students are strongly encouraged to immediately report the incident by calling 911, contacting NYPD Special Victims Division Hotline (646-610-7272) or their local police precinct, or contacting the College's Public Safety Office (212-772-4444).

All Other Forms of Sexual Misconduct: Students are also encouraged to contact the College's Title IX Campus Coordinator, Dean John Rose ( or 212-650-3262) or Colleen Barry ( or 212-772-4534) and seek complimentary services through the Counseling and Wellness Services Office, Hunter East 1123.

CUNY Policy on Sexual Misconduct Link: Misconduct-12-1-14-with-links.pdf