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LIBR 230 Intermediate Information Literacy and Research Skills for Lifelong Professional Success: Syllabus


Course Materials

Course website:

Text: Bensoussan & Fleisher (2008). Analysis without paralysis: 12 tools to make better decisions. 2nd     Edition. FT Press: Upper Saddle River, NJ.

Course Description

LIBR 230 - INTERMEDIATE INFORMATION LITERACY AND RESEARCH SKILLS FOR LIFELONG PROFESSIONAL SUCCESS Explores how information is produced and used in professional settings.  Designed to teach students research and critical thinking skills required to access, evaluate, synthesize and understand information for professional success and development.
Graded ABC/NC.

 Course Objectives

The course considers the role that information and research play in professional environments. More specifically, the class looks at the knowledge economy and the critical role information literacy, informational literate employees and the information industry all play in decision-making, organizational effectiveness as well as professional success. Primary focus is on use, interpretations and application of data from information sources that contribute to information literate professionals in work environments.

Student Learning Outcomes

At the end of this course students will have knowledge and/or competency in:

·     The different ways organizations and managers (government, business, non-profits) use information to make decisions and improve organizational effectiveness;

·     Knowing when information is required in work environments and which kinds;

·     The types of information seeking behaviors that occur in professional environments;

·     Evaluating information that is used for professional or personal decision-making;

·     Applying information to professional scenarios that involve decision making;

·     Analyzing professional information like reports, spreadsheets, and industry specific literature as well as think critically about its relevancy, accuracy, appropriateness and utility;

·     Explaining complex problems, solutions and processes using evidence gathered as part of the research process in order to engage in effective communication in professional contexts.

Course Requirements and Grading

Students in LIBR 230 can earn 100 points total over the course of the quarter. The total points earned will determine the final grade:

















Grades are based upon the follow requirements/deliverables:

·     Attendance & Experiential/In-Class Exercises 50%

·     Industry Presentation 25%

·     Organizational/Company Report 25%


Brief descriptions of each deliverable are listed below. Consult the course  schedule for all due dates.

Class Contributions and Experiential Exercises: LIBR 230 is a ‘hands on’ course. Classes will feature a combination of lecture, discussion and experiential exercises where you will be given the opportunity to use information in order to solve problems. Most classes will have some form of exercise that will allow you to acquire additional points. 65% of all available points will come from in class exercises, discussion and attendance. Class attendance is not mandatory but missed class points will impact your final grade.

Industry Presentation: Working in groups of two or three you will analyze the role of information in an industry of your choice (ideally one in which you expect to work in the future.)

Organizational/Company Report: Each student will produce a 5-7 pages report on an organization (for profit, governmental or non-profit) of his or her choice. The main goal of the report will be to demonstrate expertise regarding the ways in which information is used by managers and employees in that organization in order to make decisions. You will also be expected to show how information is used to increase organizational effectiveness.


Course Policies

A student that succeeds in LIBR 230 must demonstrate the following traits and characteristics:

·     Observes all university policies related to academic honesty and adheres to them at all times;

·     Shows up on time and prepared for class each week and stays focused for the entire period;

·     Actively engages professor and classmates during discussions and class activities;

·     Is fully aware of all due dates, course requirements and asks professor (via email or office hours) if they do not;

·     Checks email regularly and communicates with professor in a timely way when needed;

·     Does not make excuses for missed deadlines or failed work and instead offers solutions to the problem of not meeting course requirements;

·     Works effectively with colleagues on group collaborative exercises;

·     Acts like an adult who accepts full responsibility for their choices and actions whether they result in success or failure;

·     Commits fully to their professional success as a student while achieving balance in their personal life so it does not impinge upon that commitment.

Class Schedule




Topics Covered




In Class Exercises


Due Dates & Deadlines


·   Class introduction

·   Information Literacy Generally

·   Information and Context

·   Information Literacy in Professional Environments


Reading: None


In-class: Death by Information Overload; The Twitching Organization



·   Information Sources and their Organization

·   The Information Industry

·   Information-based Decisions

·   The Role of Information in Organizational Strategy

Reading: Analysis without Paralysis Chapters 1 & 2


In-class: Confirmation Bias; Information Evaluation; Thinking Critically about Information




·   Financial Information Literacy (FIL) and its Importance

·   FIL in Work and Life

·   FIL and Managers

·   Organizations that Learn and Know

Reading: Analysis without Paralysis Chapters 10 & 11


In-class: Informed employees and Informed managers; Information and Decision Making




·   FIL and Political Risk Analysis

·   Economic Indicators

Reading: Analysis without Paralysis Chapter 8


In-Class: Using Industry Databases



·     Using FIL to Understand Industries

·     Industry Analysis

·     Porter’s Five Forces Analysis

Reading: Analysis without Paralysis Chapter 6


In-Class: Which industry is more valuable?



·   Using FIL to Understand Industries (Cont’d)

·     Competitor Analysis

Reading: Analysis without Paralysis Chapter 4


In-class: Which competitor is strongest?



·     Industry Presentations

Reading: None

Industry Presentations


·     Using FIL to Understand a Company’s Value and Strategy

·    Understanding SEC Filings



Reading: Analysis without Paralysis Chapter 5


In-class: Finding and Analyzing an Annual Report




·     How to Read an Annual Report

·     Financial Statement Analysis

Reading: None

 In-class: Analyzing and Comparing Financial Statements



·     Using FIL to Understand Companies’ Value and Strategy (Cont’d)

·     Ratio Analysis

Reading: None



Finals Week



Company Report

Class schedule subject to change. Any changes will be communicated during class meetings.

Downloadable Syllabus

Syllabus has all instructions and information needed for the two projects.


Have questions about a term? Don't understand a ratio? Wondering how cash flow impacts operations? Wondering why the income statement is only half the picture? Check out It shouldbe your 'go to' database when you need to look up a business or financial term.

Week 7 Industry Presentations

Education: Nestor, Jessica, Kenny, Isabella

Luxury/Specialty Retail: Cheok Lam, Selena

Automobile: Leonel, Ivana, Keefe, Laura

John F. Kennedy Memorial Library
California State University, Los Angeles
5151 State University Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90032-8300