INST 800 – The Engaged Intellectual: An Introduction to Research and Academic Work (3 credit hours)
This course explores a series of issues that confront academics who work in research universities. The course is an “Introduction to Research,” but the process of research is more than a recipe of rote analytical procedures. The course examines academic life with a particular focus on what it means to undertake research, teaching, and service. By the conclusion of the course, students will have a better understanding of what tenure-track faculty do and how they work in academia, and of how they intend to structure their own professional careers.
INST 801 – Theoretical and Epistemological Foundations in Information Studies (3 credits hours)
Pursuing a doctorate in information studies involves the scholarly examination of the interaction between people, information, technology, and society. There are, however, as many ways to examine the interaction of people, information, technology, and society as there are researchers and ways of understanding what counts as evidence and knowledge in different components of the field. Students will be introduced to the diverse scholarly traditions that comprise information studies. Students will explore why there are so many ways of knowing and methods of discovery within the field, in order to help them identify the social theory and methods that will support their path through information scholarship.
INST 802 – Pragmatic and Methodological Foundations for Information Studies (3 credits)
Information Studies’ eclectic interdisciplinary is both its greatest strength and its most significant weakness. As an increasingly multi/inter/trans/non-disciplinary intellectual community, Information Studies embraces a wide variety of conceptual frameworks, theories, methodological approaches, and intellectual traditions. As such, it is able to bring many different intellectual perspectives to bear on the complex, nuanced, phenomena that are its focus. The variety in the intellectual toolbox of Information Studies is central to its ability to avoid reduction of its focal topics to trite, simplistic characterizations. However, Information Studies’ paradigmatic richness places particular burdens on the individual researcher. Framing research agendas, motivating research questions, conducting literature reviews, selecting methods, and even arguing for particular conclusions is complicated by the number of alternative approaches available to the Information Studies scholar. Faced with this complexity, it is tempting to select a single paradigm and “be done with it” – and in doing so forego a primary strength of the interdisciplinary field.