Current IST Graduate Courses

IST 541 Qualitative Research in Information Sciences and Technology

As information and communication technologies (ICTs) have evolved, so too has our understanding of the role of the human contexts within which information technologies are situated. This has led to the need for appropriate methods of studying information systems and technologies in their context of use. This course begins by considering research topics that lend themselves to the choice of qualitative research methods. It then proceeds to examine the steps involved in conducting qualitative research. These include: developing the research question(s); choosing a particular research method (such as ethnography, case study or action research); making decisions about approaches to data collection (such as interview or focus group) and analysis (such as coding technique); and producing and publishing the results. This course explores concrete issues that researchers have encountered in their use of qualitative methods.

This course develops skills in designing, evaluating, and understanding qualitative research methods. The objective of this course is to help researchers in the information sciences and technology (and in related fields) in their efforts to learn about and employ appropriate qualitative methods in their research. Upon completion of this course, students will have an understanding of appropriate research contexts for the use of qualitative research methods. They will have a basic understanding of the most common types of qualitative methods, including, participant observation, interview, case study, action research, document analysis and others. This course takes a problem-based approach to learning. This is achieved in several ways. First, current and past research by qualitative researchers will be used as case studies of the application of qualitative research approaches. Second, students will engage in “hands on” exercises involving the techniques of data collection, analysis and presentation of research results. Third, students will work in teams to carry out their own qualitative research projects. By focusing on actual research problems, students will not only learn about the range of qualitative research methods that exist, but they will also develop skill in the application of these methods to real problems.

IST 531 – Human Information Behavior

This course is concerned with the human context within which information and information technology (I/T) exists. It examines the interaction between the human (or groups of humans) and I/T, and research issues that arise from this interaction. The course introduces the student to relevant theories and theoretical frameworks that are used to enable better understanding of this interaction between humans and I/T. There are three objectives of this course. The first objective is to develop a better theoretical understanding of the human context within which information and information technology exists. This is achieved through critical thinking and discussion of assigned course readings. The second objective is to develop skill in designing and executing research projects that explore the human context of I/T. This is achieved through the research paper. The third objective is to develop skills in the presentation of research results. This is achieved through the oral seminar presentations, the written research paper, and the presentation of the research paper in class.

IST 590 – Colloquium

Continuing seminars that consist of a series of individual lectures by faculty, students, or outside speakers.