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UNIV 110 TW: Scholarly Inquiry and Research Methods (by QZ): Syllabus

Course Syllabus

T r i n i t y    W e s t e r n    U n i v e r s i t y


Scholarly Inquiry and Research Methods

September 13 - October 11, 2017 (Wednesdays): 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm

Co-requisites or Pre-requisites: None

Semester Hours: 2 

Instructor: Qinqin Zhang

Contact Information:; 604-513-2121, ext. 3904

Office Hours:   Monday - Friday 8:30 am - 4:30 pm (please contact in advance)


Course Description:

Introduction to the skills and tools of information research in a high tech environment, beginning with topic analysis, drafting a report outline, planning a research strategy, carrying out the research and ending with a sound, analytical research report.  Emphasis is placed on the development of critical thinking strategies, within the conventions of scholarly inquiry, that are transferable to most information tasks.  Skills developed through this course will have marketplace application. 


Course Premise

This course is based on the work of Professor William (Bill) Badke, Associate Librarian for ACTS (Associated Canadian Theological Schools) and Information Literacy at TWU. Professor Badke has developed this course for the Adult Degree Completion program on TWU's Langley campus several years ago, and he is the author of the textbook for this course. It is my privilege to work closely with him as a fellow librarian at TWU’s Alloway Library and learn from his effective ways of teaching information literacy to post-secondary and adult students.

Besides teaching scholarly inquiry and research in the academic framework of information literacy, I will also incorporate hands-on exercises during the lecture to let students practice the skills we learn in class. Email correspondence after class is highly encouraged for questions regarding the lecture and assignments.


Learning Outcomes:

The student will:

1.     Gain an understanding of the characteristics of information and its dissemination in the information age.

2.     Develop an appreciation for topic analysis and research focused around a question or hypothesis.

3.     Learn to strategize research procedures using a wide variety of tools and information sources, based on an understanding of information systems and their manner of operation.

4.     Acquire a deeper ability to use critical thinking to interact with diverse concepts, evaluate truth claims, synthesize data and make conclusions.

5.     Show an appreciation for the ethical requirements of research and writing within Christian and marketplace contexts.


Required Texts and Materials:

Badke, William.  Research Strategies: Finding your Way through the Information Fog, 6th ed. Bloomington, IN:, 2017.


Course Activities/Requirements:

The course requirements consist of five assignments, all of which are posted at  All assignments must be completed and receive a minimum grade of D- in order to pass the course.  Assignments are to be sent by e-mail attachment to


Proposed Course Outline:

September 13 - Session One

Introducing Scholarly Inquiry in Today’s Information Environment 

  • Introduction to today’s world of information
  • Information literacy defined in the context of scholarly inquiry
  • The nature of scholarly research
  • Types of information sources

Assignment One - Due at the beginning of next class (Sep. 20, 2017)


September 20 - Session Two

Developing Goals in a Context of Research as Conversation 

  • Development of research questions
  • Development of preliminary outlines
  • Scholarly vs. Popular sources
  • Overview of the TWU Library resources
  • Close reading of a research article
  • Literature review

Assignment Two - Due at the beginning of next class (Sep. 27, 2017)


September 27 - Session Three

Search Techniques and Conventions 

  • Keyword searching – Library OneSearch & the Internet
  • Controlled vocabularies & subject heading searches
  • Searching for books
  • Citing sources

Assignment Three - Due at the beginning next class (Oct. 4, 2017)


October 4 - Session Four

Journal Research 

  • Introduction to today’s journal literature
  • The role of journals in scholarly inquiry
  • Searching for journal articles
  • Searching for other sources
  • Citation management tools

Assignment Four  - Due at the beginning of next class (Oct. 11, 2017)


October 11 - Session Five

Information Evaluation and Special Topics

  • The challenge of academic authority
  • Evaluating sources
  • Organizing found resources for research writing 
  • Research Ethics - Plagiarism and copyright
  • Research sources on a shoestring

Assignment Five - Due one week after the final class (Oct. 18, 2017)



Each assignment will be worth 20% of the final grade.  Letter grades will be used throughout rather than percentages. See the university grading system below.  The final grade will be determined by the satisfactory completion of all requirements.

Assignment #1                              20 %

Assignment #2                              20 %

Assignment #3                              20 %

Assignment #4                              20 %

Assignment #5                              20 %

Total                                             100%


TWU-Extension Standard Grading System

Letter Grade

% Range 

Grade Point

Grade  Description




Unusually outstanding work; completely error-free work at the highest level attainable




 Outstanding, excellent work




Outstanding, excellent work with very minor flaws




Very good work with few flaws




Good, competent work




Good, competent work with noticeable flaws in one or more areas of content, syntax, formatting, and/or APA usage




Adequate, reasonably satisfactory work with significant flaws in one or more areas




Adequate, reasonably satisfactory work with significant flaws in two or more areas




Adequate, reasonably satisfactory work with significant flaws in three or more areas




Minimally acceptable work




Minimally acceptable work




Minimally acceptable work


Below 50


Inadequate work



Academic Integrity and Avoiding Plagiarism at TWU

As Christian scholars pursuing higher education, academic integrity is a core value of the entire TWU community. Students are invited into this scholarly culture and required to abide by the principles of sound academic scholarship at TWU. This includes, but is not limited to, avoiding all forms of plagiarism and cheating in scholarly work. TWU has a strict policy on plagiarism.  Learning what constitutes plagiarism and avoiding it is the student's responsibility. An excellent resource describing plagiarism and how to avoid it has been prepared by TWU Librarian William Badke and is freely available for download (PPT file) or used as flash (self running) tutorials of varying lengths from: (14 minute flash tutorial)  (8 minute flash tutorial)

Campus Closure and Class Cancellation Policy

In the event of extreme weather conditions or other emergency situations, please consider the TWU website the primary source of information, along with the TWU bulletin line 604.513.2147. The University will communicate information regarding the cancellation of classes to the following radio stations: CKNW (980 AM), CKWX (1130 AM), STAR FM (107.1 FM), PRAISE (106.5 FM) and KARI (550 AM). Should there be conflicting reports regarding campus closures, the CKWX (1130 AM), STAR FM (107.1 FM), PRAISE (106.5 FM) and KARI (550 AM). Should there be conflicting reports regarding campus closures, the TWU website and bulletin line are to be considered correct.

The first announcement regarding status of campus is made at 6:30 am and covers the period up to 1:00 p.m. The second announcement will be made at 11 am and will cover afternoon classes. Students and faculty should assume that all night classes will continue to operate. If the emergency continues into the evening, students and faculty may check for a class cancellation notice on the University's weather bulletin line or the website after 3:00 p.m. that day.

If this specific class must be cancelled for any other reason, the instructor will communicate this in advance. In the case of an unexpected cancellation, a sign will be posted on the classroom door.


Subject Guide