HONS 3999:

Introduction to Honors Research

Valdosta State University

3 credit hours

CRN 21739

Meeting in WH 255

MWF 12:00-12:50pm

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/HONS3999Spring2013.html

Office: 1203 Ashley Hall

Office Hours: MWTR 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


Course Activities & Assignments


1.    In Class Activities/Practice

a)   Evaluating research in their field 

b)   Completing the CITI basics course

c)   Selecting a topic for research

d)   Summarizing articles and citing appropriately

e)   Mini applications (in class 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/10 peer-reviewed references. Length guidelines do not include the cover page or references. are three components to the LR. These include: 1. Draft (5pts); 2. Peer Review (5pts); and 3.Final Paper (10 pts)

3.    Quizzes ( 4 throughout course at 5 pts each)

4.    Draft of Research Proposal (5 pts)

5.    Presentation of Research Proposal (5 pts)


Assessment of Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcome


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

Quiz 3 & 4 (5 pts each, 2/13 and 2/27)

In Class Assignment # 1 (5 pts, 1/14)

2.    Understanding Human Subjects and IRB ethics/process


Assignment 2 (5 pts, 1/18)

Quiz 1 (5 pts, 1/25)

3.    Cite research (using approved format from discipline)

Quiz 2 (5 pts, 1/30)

Completed Literature Review (10 pts, 2/8)


4.    Summarize research articles


Assignment 3 (5 pts, 1/30)

Completed Literature Review (10 pts, 2/8)

5.    Understand what plagiarism is and how to avoid it


Quiz 2 (5 pts, 1/30)


6.    Complete a Literature review


Completed Literature Review (10 pts, 2/8)


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


Quizzes 3 & 4 (5 pts each, 2/13 and 2/27)

In Class Assignments (5 pts each)

Final Paper (10 pts, 4/29)

8.    Interpret and report data


In Class Assignments (5 pts each)

Final Paper (10 pts, 4/29)

9.    Develop a research proposal


Complete Research Proposal (5 pts, 2/4)

* completed proposal added to Portfolio

10. Present a research proposal


Present Research Proposal (5 pts, 3/15)


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.

Grading Scale

Quality is expected in all products and performances. 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

The consequences for acts of academic dishonesty in the Dewar College of Education are:

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.


Course Outline


Class Module



M 1/7-

W 1/9


Intro to Research

Read Chapters 1 & 2: Enquiring Mind and Starting Research



F 1/11-

M 1/14


Essentials of good research


Read Chapter 3: Essentials of Good Research

* In Class Assignment 1 (evaluating research articles in your discipline)

Understanding IRB process and forms, Guest Speaker from Research/Grants/Contracts, Barbara Gray?

5 pts

W 1/16-

F 1/18


Citing & Writing Research

Human Subjects Concerns

Read Chapter 19: Researching and Writing in Different Disciplines

What is Plagiarism?

*Assignment 2 (complete the CITI basic course)

Guest Speakers from Honors, former Director Ofelia Nikolova on 1/16, current Dean Michael Savoie, on Friday 1/18

5 pts

M 1/21

No Class, MLK Jr. Day



W 1/23-

F 1/25


Literature Review

Read Chapter 7: Constructing a Search Strategy

* Consider this research to be a major term paper from your discipline, writ large for Honors)

*Quiz 1- IRB & CITI content

Guest Speaker from the Library, Michael O. Holt on 1/23

5 pts




5 pts

M 1/28-

W 1/30


Finding sources and use of Internet for research


Read Chapters 9 & 10


*Quiz 2: Plagiarism and citation in your discipline

Guest Speaker from the Library, Howard S. Carrier on 1/30

Remember to do the short quiz on plagiarism in Blazeview Assessment tool, due 1/30.

5 pts

F 2/1-

M 2/4


Summarizing articles

* Assignment 3 (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 Biology, Brian Ring, on Friday 2/1 (please note that before his visit, you must read the two pdf documents in Blazeview beginning with "BRing"

Remember to have at least the first three articles of your literature review ready to present on 2/4.


5 pts

W 2/6-

F 2/8


Overview of Methods

Read Chapters 5 & 8

*Assignment 4 (Literature Review due)

Second group of three article presenters goes today.

Remember the whole literature review must be completed 2/8.

10 pts

M 2/11- W 2/13


Quantitative Methods Overview


Guest speaker(s) from Science & Psychology (Deborah S. Briihl or Jen Breneiser)

Quiz 3

5 pts

F 2/15-

M 2/18


Quantitative Methods

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

Guest speaker from Political Science, Jim Peterson on 2/15

5 pts

W 2/20-

F 2/22


Understanding, interpreting and reporting quantitative data

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

5 pts

M 2/25- W 2/27


Qualitative Research

Guest speakers from Education (Sean Lennon and James Martinez on 2/27)

Quiz 4


F 3/1-

M 3/4


Qualitative Research

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

Guest speaker Barbara Gray from The Office of Sponsored Programs & Research Administration

5 pts

W 3/6-

F 3/8


Qualitative Research

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

Guest speaker from Anthropology, Sociology Matt Richard on 3/6

5 pts

M 3/11- W 3/13


Writing your research proposal

 Read Chapter 6

* Bring draft of proposal to class

3/13 Nicole Purvis, Ian Porter, Jennifer Dandron, Janequa Williams, Danny Freeman, Emily Turner-Bryant

5 pts 

F 3/15


Presenting your research proposal

*Class presentation of all research proposals

3/15 Christa Heaney, Donald Small, Candace Brown, Jackie Rody

5 pts

M 3/18-

F 3/22

No Classes, Spring Break Week



M 3/25 – F 3/29

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

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


M 4/1

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 5 points,

Your peer review of fellow students’ work is worth 5 points.

Names: Jennifer Dandron

5 pts

W  4/3
Names: Danny Freeman  
F  4/5 Class is Optional, Inauguration Day Names: Emily, Christa
M 4/8 Names: Donald, Ian
W 4/10
Names: Candace, Jackie R  
F 4/12   Names: Janequa W, Nicole P

M 4/15

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

 Names II: Candace

5 pts

W 4/17


 Names II: Jackie R, Ian


F 4/19
Names II: Janequa W, Emily  
M 4/22
Names II: Nicole, Christa  
W 4/24
Names II: Donald  
F 4/26
Names II: Jennifer Dandron  

4/29 M

Final Version of All Papers Due as Assignment Tool attachments in Blazeview

Names II: Danny Freeman

10 points

The last official class meeting day for all Fall Semester classes is Monday 4/29.


Final Exam Time Assigned for our course is Thursday May 2, 12:30pm in the usual room.

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


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 will need to 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. If you do not do so, you will not be able to access the grade for this class, scheduled to be posted on the Monday after the final examination days. They will be in Banner under Answer a Survey.

At the end of the term, all students will be expected to complete an online Student Opinion of Instruction survey (SOI) that will be available on Banner (where you registered for classes). 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

The Administration has not yet opened the online SOI forms, and Dr. James will update the class with instructions when they are available.