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INFSCI 3005 - Introduction to Doctoral Program

(Fall 2009, CRN 25970)

[ Formal Data | Syllabus | Materials ]


Course Overview: Motivation and Content

INFSCI 3005 is a course established by the Information Science faculty to introduce new doctoral students in the Information Science program to the working of the scientific enterprise, scholarly research, ethics, and the current state of the art research in information science. The participants of this course are first year doctoral students in the Information Science program. Others can take the course or audit it by permission of the instructor. As you might have already experienced as aspiring scientists, being a researcher requires intelligence, independent, creative thinking, and most of all commitment to hard working. This course reinforces this.

The course includes a fair amount of readings. The readings were selected by several SIS faculty in such a way that they are fun to read. In addition to reading, the course features several assignemnts and projects, which focus on specific important skills such as paper analysis and presentation and peer reviewing. As in the pasy years, you will be expected to prepare a draft of a research problem, work it out over the course of the semester, and present it to the class at the conclusion of the course.

Course Work and Grading

Components of the Final Grade

Course assessment includes attendance, assignments and projects. Each lecture bears 1 attendance point. Each assignment and project bears certain number of points. The instructor also reserves the right to administer unannounced quizzes for up to 5 points each if he feels that the students are not pursuing a resonable amount of assigned reading. Your final grade depends on the percentage of points you have earned. Score < 50% corresponds to F, 50-62.5 is D range, 65.5-75 is C range, 75-87.5 is B range, and 87.5-100 is A range.


Class attendance, while not mandatory, is required if you want to succeed in this course. While the course has a good set of assigned readings, by the nature of this unusial subject most of the material is not sufficiently covered by the books. Finally, many lectures include demonstrations and videos. The attendance credit is engineered to encourage your attendance. Each lecture bears 1 attendance point. The maximum number of attendance poits is 12. If you have missed the lecture, make sure that you have a copy of the slides and watch the video of the lecture if it is available online. The links to the lecture slides and videos are provided on the Materials page. Spare copies of lecture slides can be picked up from a folder near the instructor's office.

Regular Work

Every week, you are expected to do three things

Special Assignments and Projects

To practice specific skills, each student will need to complete the following special assignments and project. Eeach assignments will be introduced in due course and bear a specific number of points

  1. Magazine paper presentation (8 pt)
  2. Journal paper presentation (12 pt)
  3. Peer reviewing project (15pt)
  4. Research project proposal (10+20pt)

In addition, each student is expected to pass University of Pirrsburgh Research certifications for research integrity and working with human subjects. Upon the completion of it, you will be given certificates. No further points will be assigned, it is a course requirement.

Extra Credit Points

You can earn extra credit points for several things such as asking a good question in class, helping during the lecture, finding errors in slides, and finding good supplementary materials for the class (books, articles, videos, etc).

Course Policies

Academic Integrity

You are expected to be fully aware of your responsibility to maintain a high quality of integrity in all of your work. All work must be your own, unless collaboration is specifically and explicitly permitted as in the course group project. Any unauthorized collaboration or copying will at minimum result in no credit for the affected assignment and may be subject to further action under the University Guidelines for Academic Integrity. You are expected to have read and understood these Guidelines. A document discussing these guidelines was included in your orientation materials.

Late Submissions

Homework or projects submitted after due date will be accepted, but your objective grade will be scaled so that you lose 10% of the grade for every late working day. I.e., if you will submit your work one week late, you will lose 50% of the grade. Note that most homework and projects require submission in both electronic and printed form. The submission date (used in calculating late days) is the date when the last of these forms is submitted. In addition, projects have a portion of the grade for presentation of the project. If you will fail to present your project on due date, you will lose these points.

Special Considerations

If you have a disability that requires special testing accommodations or other classroom modifications, please, notify both the instructor and Disability Resources and Services by the second week of the term. You may be asked to provide documentation of your disability to determine the appropriateness of accommodations. To notify Disability Resources and Services, call 64807890 (voice or TDD) to schedule and appointment. The office is located in the William Pitt Union, Room 216,

Copyright © 2009 Peter Brusilovsky