Mt. San Antonio College Library

Instructor: Deb Distante
Office: Building 6, Room 230
Phone: 909-594-5611 x4285

Office hours: Tuesday 2:00 - 3:00 and by appointment

Information Resources and Research Methods

LIBR1 - Fall 2005
Ticket # 081074 (TTH 12:30 - 2:00 pm)
Advisory: Eligibility for ENGL 68

Required Texts (available at the Library Reserve Desk):
"The College Student's Research Companion", 3rd edition, by Arelene Rodda Quaratiello.

Optional Texts:
"MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers", 6th edition, by Joseph Gibaldi
"Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association", 5th edition

Additional readings as required.

Additional Resources which may be helpful

Other Skills or Technology:
Familiarity with basic computer skills suggested
Access to computer and email required (available through Mt. SAC Library and Learning Lab)

Course Description:
Students will learn research skills that provide the lifelong information competency necessary for independent research and critical thinking. Activities include finding, evaluating, and documenting information using print and electronic resources, including the Internet.

Learning STARTS WITH YOU and your contributions are valuable. You will learn a great deal from each other. You will getthe most from this course if you come prepared, actively listen to others, and contribute your own ideas, experiences, and insights. I will collaborate with you to establish a safe and fun atmosphere. You will be expected to participate in small group exercises, class discussions, and the class discussion board. The class website, located at, contains copies of all class assignments, lecture notes, handouts, and instructions.

Course requirements include doing the reading, attending class, participating in classroom discussion and exercises, completing and turning in class/homework assignments, and a final project.


Online Discussion/Quizzes             100 points
Class/Homework Assignments 100 points
Attendance/Active Learning 100 points
Midterm 50 points
Annotated bibliography 150 points
Total points available 500 points

Grading for this class will be based on a standard curve percentage.

90 - 100% = 450 - 500 points = A
80 - 89% = 400 - 449 points = B
70 - 79% = 350 - 399 points = C
60 - 69% = 300 - 349 points = D
59% or less = 299 or fewer points = F

Course Requirements

Discussion Board
Students reinforce what they learn in this class by posting responses to weekly discussions and questions based on readings and lectures. Each week you must post at least one response to the weekly discussion or question set. There is no limit to the number of postings you may make each week.

Postings must be made during the week in question (dates are given on the Discussion Board) in order to be eligible for full credit. Postings made the following week will be eligible for half credit.

The class web board is available at There is also a link to the Discussion Board on the main class website. Instructions on using the Discussion Board will be distributed and covered during the second class session.

Class Assignments
Weekly class assignments are due to the instructor by the beginning of class each Thursday. Assignments may be turned in by emailing them to the instructor at prior to the beginning of class or turned in during the first 10 minutes of class each Thursday. The timestamp on your email will determine whether the assignment receives full credit. All class assignments will be typed or word-processed. If emailing assignments, please attach the assignment as a text file or Word document. Your name and a title for the assignment are required on all assignments. The maximum amount of time that late assignments will be accepted will be no more than two weeks following the original due date. Late assignments are eligible for no more than half credit.

Attendance/Active Listening
Class discussion and exercises are crucial to your success in this course. This makes attendance absolutely essential. The concepts and techniques we will be learning intertwine and build on each other. As a result, it is likely that if you miss one or more class sessions, you will have lost valuable information.

Your Attendance/Active Learning grade will be based on your attendance as well as the frequency and quality of your contribution to the class. Active learning includes coming prepared to class (having read and thought about the readings/assignment), asking thoughtful questions, and actively listening to and responding to others' comments or questions. Ask yourself how would class be different if you weren't here? If the class wouldn't notice your absence, you probably won't receive full active learning points. Sleeping during class constitutes an absence.

Annotated Bibliography
The final project for this class will be an annotated bibliography consisting of at least ten sources. The bibliography will follow the MLA citation style (if you'd prefer to use a different style guide, such as APA, please discuss it with the instructor). The annotations will explain how the source helps you better understand or analyze your topic and will be written in paragraph style. If Internet citations are used, the annotation must include evaluation criteria.

It is possible to do an annotated bibliography for a research assignment you are working on for another class. Please see the instructor to discuss this possibility.

Course Policies

Attendance will be taken at each class. Tardies and/or early departures may count towards absences. Life is not always predictable. If you have to miss a class due to an emergency, please let me know in advance or as soon as possible. After the 2nd unexcused absence, I will begin subtracting 5 points from your Attendance/Active learning score for every absence.

Class Assignments
As previously noted, class assignments are due by the beginning of class on Thursday. If emailing the assignment, it is up to the student to verify that the instructor received it. If you experience technical difficulties, you must notify me by the beginning of class. Otherwise, the assignment will be considered late.

Late Assignments
If you are having difficulty completing an assignment on time, please consult with me at least 24 hours before the due date. Otherwise, assignments that are submitted after class begins will be considered late. If you anticipate being gone when an assignment is due, you are responsible for making arrangements to submit it early or emailing it to the instructor ( prior to the beginning of class.

If I consider you to be disruptive due to disrespect (towards me or your classmates), chronic lateness, sleeping, ringing of cell phones or pagers, I will excuse you from class for that day and you will be considered absent.

Academic Honesty
You are expected to present your own ideas and work for evaluation. Academic dishonesty of any kind (cheating, plagiarism, etc.) will not be tolerated. Evidence of academic dishonesty is grounds for failing the class. Please read the Campus Policy on Academic Honesty and Plagiarism and see me if you have any questions.

Disabled Students
This campus will provide reasonable accommodations for students who face unique physical, learning, and emotional challenges. If you have special conditions as addressed by the Americans with Disabilities Act and need accommodations, please inform me within the first two weeks of class.

Dropping the Class/Important Dates
It is the responsibility of the student to DROP this class. Failing to attend class without officially dropping the class will result in a course grade of F.
The final day to drop this class without a W is September 9.
The final day to drop this class and receive a W is October 28.

Course Outline

Week 1 August 16

Course overview
The importance of research skills
Choosing a topic

Week 2 August 23 Research resources overview
Introduction to citation
Creating the research question
Week 3 August 30 Keywords and subject headings
Searching the library catalog
Week 4 September 6 Advanced keywords and subject headings
Using reference books
Week 5 September 13 Introduction to Annotations
Reference and book citations
Week 6 September 20 Searching article databases
Periodical/database citations
Week 7 September 27

Advanced searching in article databases
Re-evaluating the research question

Week 8 October 4 Searching subject-specific databases
Week 9 October 11

Research Process Overview

Week 10 October 18 Introduction to the Internet
Internet citations
Week 11 October 25 Evaluating information found on the Internet
Searching the Internet
Week 12 November 1 Advanced Internet searching
Alternative Internet resources
Week 13 November 8

Legal resources and government documents

Week 14 November 15 Citation Review
Annotated bibliography review
Week 15 November 22 Copyright
Draft of annotated bibliography due
Week 16 November 29 Information Ethics
Week 17 December 6 Information competency
Week 18 December 13 Final Exam: 10:30 am - 1:00 pm, December 15
Annotated bibliography due

Deb Distante
Bibliographic Instruction Librarian

909-594-5611 x4285

Page Last Updated:
June 7, 2005


Mt. San Antonio College
1100 N. Grand Ave.
Walnut, CA 91789