HONS 3999:

Introduction to Honors Research

Valdosta State University

3 credit hours

CRN 80184

Meeting in the Honors House

MWF 12:00-12:50pm

Fall 2013

Professor Christine A. James

This syllabus is available online, and is in draft form. Please view it for updates at http://mypages.valdosta.edu/chjames/HONS3999Fall2013.html

Office: 1203 Ashley Hall

Office Hours: MTWR 3:30pm-4:45pm and after classes and by appointment as needed.

Telephone: 259-7609

Mailbox: Philosophy Department Office

Fax: 259-5011

E-mail address: chjames@valdosta.edu


Required Texts

Wisker, G. (2009). The Undergraduate Research Handbook, (Palgrave Study Skills). Palgrave MacMillan Publishers  ISBN-13: 978-0230520974

Additional Readings as assigned.

Course Description

An introduction to a wide range of research methods emphasizing the ability to read, interpret, conduct, report and present research in the student’s discipline area.  

Learning Objectives

At the end of this course, the successful student will be able to:

1.    Explain and distinguish among different research approaches used for conducting research in their discipline.

2.    Understanding Human Subjects and IRB ethics/process

3.    Cite research (using approved format from discipline)

4.    Summarize research articles

5.    Understand what plagiarism is and how to avoid it

6.    Complete a Literature review

7.    Understand and use basic quantitative and qualitative methods for research

8.    Interpret and report data

9.    Develop a research proposal

10. Present a research proposal

11. Write a major research paper


Course Activities & Assignments


1.    In Class Activities/Practice

a)   Evaluating examples of research publications (worth 10% of final grade) 

b)   Completing the CITI basics course http://www.citiprogram.org (worth 5%)

c)   Selecting a topic for research

d)   Summarizing articles and citing appropriately (either MLA, APA, Chicago, or Oxford)

e)   Random in-class applications of research methods and interpretations

2.    Literature Review (LR) Assignments

Each student is expected to write a literature review for this course. Students will prepare an introduction and literature review of 6-8 pages. This literature review should include both primary and secondary resources, approximately 10 peer-reviewed references. (worth 20%)

3.    Quizzes (3 throughout course at 3.33% each = 10%)

4.    Draft of Research Proposal (5%)

5.    Presentation of Research Proposal (5%)

6.  Draft of full Research Paper (10%)

7.  Peer Review of Fellow Students’ Research Paper Drafts (10%)

8.  Final Paper (20%)

9. Powerpoint Presentation Accompanying Final Paper (10%)


Assessment of Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcome


1.    Explain and distinguish among different research approaches used for conducting research in their discipline.


2.    Understanding Human Subjects and IRB ethics/process


Quizzes and CITI Basics

3.    Cite research (using approved format from discipline)

Quizzes and Literature Review


4.    Summarize research articles


Evaluation of Examples of Research Publications and

Completed Literature Review

5.    Understand what plagiarism is and how to avoid it


Plagiarism Quiz

6.    Complete a Literature review


Completed Literature Review


7.    Understand and use basic quantitative and qualitative methods for research



In Class Application Assignments

Final Paper

8.    Interpret and report data


Final Paper

9.    Develop a research proposal


Completed Research Proposal

10. Present a research proposal


Presentation of Research Proposal

Final Paper

Presentation of Final Paper


Late Assignments Policy

All assignments and discussion topics have due dates and close at 11:59 p.m. on the day they are due. Late assignments will not be accepted without prior instructor approval.


First Dropbox, Discussion and Quiz in Blazeview (to get used to Blazeview) due by Saturday 8/17: 5%

Evaluating Examples of Research Publications by 8/19: 10%

CITIProgram.org online course by 8/23: 5%

Plagiarism Quiz due 9/6: 3.33%

Quiz due 9/25: 3.33%

Quiz due 10/9: 3.33%

Literature Review – first 3 items by 9/13, all (approximately 10) by 9/20: 10%

Proposal Draft by 10/25: 5%

Presentation of Proposal by 10/25: 5%

Draft of Full Research Paper by 11/13: 10%

Powerpoint Presentation going with Final Paper, by 11/22: 10%

Peer Review of Fellow Students’ Paper Drafts by 11/22: 10%

Final Paper as uploaded into Blazeview Dropbox by 12/2: 20%

Total Possible: 100%

Grading Scale

Quality is expected in all products and presentations. Final grades will be assigned accordingly.

90 to100 = A

80 to 89 = B

70 to 79 = C

60 to 69 = D

Below 60 = F


Below is information directly quoted from the Academic Honesty Policies and Procedures:

Academic integrity is the responsibility of all VSU faculty and students. Faculty members should promote academic integrity by including clear instruction on the components of academic integrity and clearly defining the penalties for cheating and plagiarism in their course syllabi. Students are responsible for knowing and abiding by the Academic Integrity Policy as set forth in the Student Code of Conduct and the faculty members’ syllabi. All students are expected to do their own work and to uphold a high standard of academic ethics.


The full text of Academic Honesty Policies and Procedures is available on the Academic Affairs website


Attendance Policy: I do care that you attend class regularly.  As you know, VSU policy states that missing 20% of class meetings results in an automatic grade of “F”.  Faculty can also institute added attendance policies in their syllabi. Our class will have a 10% rule for absences.  You can miss up to 10% of the class meetings with no grade penalty.  10% of our 40 class meetings is 4.  On absence number 5, your final grade for the course will be reduced by one whole letter grade; on absence number 6, your final grade for the course will be reduced by two whole letter grades; on absence number 8, you will automatically fail the course.  Be considerate of your fellow students – don’t be late, and don’t leave your cell phones and pagers on.  Note that if you are regularly late to class, or leave class early, I will begin to count each as an absence.  Please note that this policy makes no distinction between excused and unexcused absences.


Access Statement:

Valdosta State University is committed to providing inclusive learning environments for all students. However, students with disabilities may not always experience equal access to all learning objectives or assessments.  If students anticipate or experience any learning barriers, they should notify the instructor as well as contact the Access Office to determine appropriate ways to eliminate barriers. The Access Office is located in Farber Hall and can be reached by calling 229-245-2498 (voice), 229-375-5871 (videophone), 229-219-1348 (tty) or 229-245-3788 (fax). You can also visit the website at www.valdosta.edu/access or email at access@valdosta.edu for more information.

Library Information:

Here are some extra links, if you would like to use outside sources and secondary source material:


In completing your research papers, you may find that the databases of peer-reviewed journal articles will be especially helpful. The direct link for the database (Academic Search Complete) is

http://www.galileo.usg.edu/express?link=zbac   (Click on Academic Search Complete to open the first page with the search box.)

If you are accessing the library website from an off-campus computer, please use the Anywhere Access to log in to our library’s resources: http://library.valdosta.edu:2048/login


Course Outline


Class Module



M 8/12-

W 8/14


Intro to Research

Read Chapters 1 & 2 in Wisker: Enquiring Mind and Starting Research

Be sure to start working in the New Blazeview, there are First Discussion, First Practice Quiz, and First Dropbox set up for you now:

Old Blazeview: http://blazeview.valdosta.edu/webct/entryPageIns.dowebct

                New Blazeview: http://www.valdosta.edu/academics/elearning/blazeview-d2l.php












F 8/16-

M 8/19


Essentials of good research


Read Chapter 3 in Wisker: Essentials of Good Research

* In Class Evaluating research articles in your discipline



Evaluation of Research Example 10%

W 8/21-

F 8/23


Citing & Writing Research

Human Subjects Concerns

Read Chapter 19: Researching and Writing in Different Disciplines

What is Plagiarism?

Material on Plagiarism:

Academic Integrity





*Complete the CITIProgram.org basic course

Instruction sheet for VSU:







By 8/24 at 11:59pm please do complete

the first Quiz, Discussion, and Dropbox in Blazeview


M 8/26-

F 8/30


Literature Review

Read Chapter 7: Constructing a Search Strategy

Consider your research in this course to be a major term paper from your discipline, writ large for Honors, with special attention to research methods

Guest Speaker from Political Science, Dr. Jim Peterson, Friday 8/30






M 9/2

No class meeting, Labor Day



W 9/4-

F 9/6


Finding sources and use of Internet for research


Read Chapters 9 & 10


*Quiz on Plagiarism and citation in your discipline due 9/6 in Blazeview Quizzes

Guest Speaker from the Library and the Masters in Library Information Science program, Mr. Howard Carrier, Wednesday 9/4



Quiz 3.33%

M 9/9-

F 9/13


Summarizing articles

* (Bring to class- your topic for research proposal-and three related articles that could be used for your literature review)

*In class project, summarizing articles, citing appropriately

Guest Speaker from the Langdale College of Business Administration, Dr. Todd Royle, Wednesday 9/11

Remember to have at least the first three articles of your literature review ready to present on 9/13.


M 9/16



Overview of Methods

Read Chapters 5 & 8

* Literature Review due 9/20

Remember the whole literature review must be completed by 9/20. This includes both presenting it to the class and turning in the document to Dr. James via Blazeview.

Literature Review 10%

F 9/20

Change of plans, class will not meet on Friday 9/20 Dr. James has to attend a meeting at International Programs on Friday 9/20. Turn in Literature Reviews in the Blazeview Dropbox tool. Email Dr. James if you need help: chjames@valdosta.edu  

M 9/23- W 9/25


Quantitative Methods Overview


Quiz Due in Blazeview 9/25

Guest Speaker from the Department of English, Dr. Myrto Drizou, Monday 9/23

Quiz 3.33%

F 9/27-

M 9/30


Quantitative Methods

* In class project, Mini-experiment (focus on design of the experiment and collection of the data)

Friday 9/27, Guest Lecture from Department of Psychology, Dr. Jeremy Tost


W 10/2-

F 10/4


Understanding, interpreting and reporting quantitative data

* In class project, Mini-experiment (focus on understanding the data and reporting)

Guest Speaker from the Department of English, Dr. Jacob Jewusiak on Wednesday 10/2


M 10/7- W 10/9


Qualitative Research

Quiz Due in Blazeview 10/9

Guest Speaker from the Department of Biology, Dr. Brian Ring on Wednesday 10/7

 Quiz 3.33%

F 10/11-

M 10/14


Qualitative Research

 * In class project, focus group and interviews (emphasis on designing and running focus groups and interviews)


W 10/16-

F 10/18


Qualitative Research

*In class project focus on understanding focus group and interview data and on reporting it

Start to bring in drafts of your research proposal on Friday 10/18! (This is essentially an extended abstract, about 2 pages)


M 10/21- W 10/23


Writing your research proposal (essentially an extended abstract, about 2 pages)

 Read Chapter 6

*Bring draft of proposal to class, be ready to present your draft proposal to the whole class

Proposal 5% 

Presentation 5%

F 10/25


Presenting your research proposal (essentially an extended abstract, about 2 pages)


*Class presentation of all research proposals ends 10/25, upload the final version of your proposal/extended abstract into the Blazeview Dropbox by 10/25 at 9pm please.

M 10/28 – W 10/30



Your Literature Reviews and Annotated Bibliographies, Précis, Summaries of Research

Wednesday, 10/30 Guest Lecture with Dr. Sean Lennon and Dr. Jeffrey Cox from the Dewar College of Education


Preparing for full draft presentations; Claiming dates for full draft peer review and formal presentations


F 11/1

Writing Practicum Week, Reading Drafts of each others’ Research Papers (We will schedule times for everyone to show us their draft and receive feedback, 2 students per date)

Your own presentation of your draft is worth 10%,

Your peer review of fellow students’ work is worth 10%


10% and 10%

M  11/4



W 11/6



F 11/8


M 11/11



W 11/13




F 11/15

Full Paper uploaded into Blazeview Dropbox


Dropbox by 9:00pm

M 11/18

Formal Presentations of your Research Papers with PowerPoints (1-2 students per date)

Names II: 

 Paper presented in class with Powerpoint 10%

W 11/20

Names II:


F 11/22

Names II:


M 11/25 – F 11/29

No Class Meeting, Thanksgiving Break Week



M 12/2

Final Version of All Papers and PowerPoints Due in Dropbox in Blazeview

Names II:

20% Final Paper as uploaded into Blazeview Dropbox by the 12/2 date

The last official class meeting day for all Fall Semester classes is Monday 12/2.


Final Exam Time Assigned for our course is Thursday December 5, 12:30pm in the usual room.

To look up your other classes’ final exams, see the online guide at the link to Registration at the university homepage:



Honors Research Methods      Short Summary Grid of Graded Items


Grade Item

Percentage of Final Grade

In Class or Online

If Online, Location in Blazeview

By Saturday 8/24/2013 at 11:59pm

First Introduction Discussion, Dropbox and Practice Quiz in Blazeview






By Monday 8/19 in class

Evaluating Examples of Research Publications


In Class, on paper rubrics


By Friday 8/23 in class

CITIprogram.org Research Ethics Course


In Class, printout completion report page and bring it to class


By Friday 9/6 at 9:00pm

Plagiarism Quiz




By Friday 9/13 sign up dates in syllabus

Literature Review First 3 Articles




By Friday 9/20 at 9:00pm

Literature Review Complete with approximately 10 items




By Wed 9/25 at 11:59pm

Quiz due 9/25




By Wed 10/9 at 11:59pm

Quiz due 10/9




By Friday 10/25 sign up dates in syllabus

Proposal Draft Presentation


In Class


By Friday 10/25 at 9:00pm

Proposal Draft uploaded online




By Wed 11/13 sign up dates in syllabus

Peer Review of fellow students’ paper drafts


In Class, giving fellow students constructive criticism


By Fri 11/15 9:00pm

and  sign up dates in syllabus

Draft of Full Research Paper


In Class and uploaded online, giving copies to fellow students for constructive criticism


By Friday 11/22 (by sign up dates in syllabus, dropbox by 9:00pm)

PowerPoint Presentation Given in Class that Goes With Final Version of Paper, and uploaded in Dropbox


In Class, and Online upload


By Monday 12/2 11:59pm

Final Paper uploaded in Dropbox, Final PowerPoint uploaded in Dropbox





Online Course Evaluations

Student evaluations are extremely important in helping faculty members plan and revise their courses. Rather than completing these evaluations during class time, students access evaluation forms via BANNER and complete them in a period during the last few weeks of class. Please take the time to complete this important evaluation (or opt out of providing an evaluation) during the designated period. They will be in Banner under Answer a Survey. Students will receive an email notification through their VSU (valdosta.edu) email address when the SOI is available (generally at least one week before the end of term.) SOI responses are anonymous to instructors/administrators. Instructors will be able to view only a summary of all responses two weeks after they have submitted final grades. While instructors will not be able to view individual responses or access any of the responses until after final grade submission, they will be able to see which students have or have not completed their SOIs, and student compliance may be considered in the determination of the final course grade. Some professors give extra credit for completing the SOI and some do not, please do not pressure any faculty member about giving extra credit - it's an individual instructor choice. These compliance and non-compliance reports will not be available once instructors are able to access the survey and a timetable for this term is available at http://www.valdosta.edu/academic/OnlineSOIPilotProject.shtml