Analytical Reaction Papers
Description and Purpose
Each student is required to write three analytical reaction papers during the semester. These are meant to stimulate
thought and promote further exploration of the topics encountered in the readings and class discussions. They are
designed to engage you in critical analysis of prominent issues in the profession in preparation for dealing with these
issues on the job. These papers require you to become critical synthesizers—communicating your present
perspective is important.
Choose one question set from those offered for each of the three required papers.
Answer all parts of the question set you choose. Prepare a typed
(using a word processor), concise, well-worded response, with references in the text
and either a bibliography or endnotes. Use 1-inch margins, paginate,
spell-check and proofread for typographical and grammatical errors.
The paper must have a professional appearance, including a title page. Use
sub-headings to organize your text, but avoid using the questions as
subheadings. Your subheadings should reflect a conceptual organization you create
for your text. Always have a conclusion section that pulls the text together
at the end. The paper must be 5 pages minimum of text, double-spaced rather than single-spaced, plus
a bibliography, all in 12-14 pt. font. Use a standard citation style (e.g., Turabian, APA, MLA).
Please consult Citation Style for Research Papers at the Long Island University
if you are not familiar with the afore-mentioned citation styles.
Use the first person to express your own viewpoint, and integrate your reactions
to the points of other authors throughout your text instead of just at the end. In
other words, in addition to summarizing what the authors say in the required
readings, include your own reactions to their views, describe implications for you
as a professional, point out any limitations you see, give your own examples from
experience or study, and find relationships among these sources. Make your comments
throughout your paper as well as in the conclusion.
Cite and integrate information from the following sources: required readings,
small group discussions, class lectures and discussions, and Internet discussion
groups and/or Web sites. Use the date of the discussion when you cite members of
your discussion group or the group's consensus or cite the instructor when including
lecture material. In other words, critically analyze, cite, integrate, synthesize
and tie-in information from lecture notes, class discussions,
Internet, and chapters or articles from the required readings to
points and conclusions. Other useful sources include supplemental readings from the
610 bibliography, other articles or book chapters that you've read, or material and
insights from other courses, professors, and librarians.
Always clearly identify and present your own viewpoint, experience,
understanding, opinions, comments, suggestions, and solutions, in addition to those
of the author(s), and clearly explain why you hold that view. Make a clear
distinction between your own views and those of others (authors, professor, or
fellow students). For example, you might introduce your own thoughts with
phrases like: "It seems to me that . . ." or "My understanding is . . ." or "I
suggest that . . ."
You may use a creative format for the papers. For example, you might address it
to a general audience instead of an LIS audience, write a newspaper opinion column,
or write it to a class of children of a certain age.
||Small Group Discussions
||Internet listservs/Web Sites
||Your Own Viewpoint
||Other Courses, etc. (optional)
First Paper Topics
Choose one of the following three question sets:
- What are information needs? Why do people have information needs?
How do they arise? Why do people need to read? What are the major findings
of published library studies on this topic? What kinds of people read most and
least? Why would people tend to avoid libraries and how can librarians help? How do
the results of your own informal library survey compare to the published surveys?
What are the strengths and weaknesses of the survey method for studying reading
habits, library use patterns, and information needs?
- What exactly is "information-seeking behavior?" Why do
librarians need to understand the psychology of library users in order to serve their
information needs? Discuss the critical aspects of information use in libraries, including
the user's situation, access, user psychology, user-centered and system-centered
constructs, and reader-centered theory. How will you prepare yourself to work with
novices in the human-system interface that is the library or other information
institution in which you plan to be employed? Be specific.
- In what type of library or information setting do you intend to seek
employment after graduation? What are the roles and functions served by this type of
library? What are the special skills and functions of librarians/information specialists
(see recent job descriptions) pertinent to this type of work? What professional
organizations govern or support this type of information setting? What are you
specifically doing to prepare for work in this setting (specific courses, joining
associations, joining listservs, internships, professional networking, attending
conferences or workshops, special projects, pursuing other academic degrees, etc.)?
Second Paper Topics
Choose one of the following two question sets:
- From the authors you have read, present the historical and current roles played by libraries and librarians. Which
role do you believe to be the most important social role for today's society at the beginning of the 21st century?
Justify your choice. Which roles will endure into the future? What new services will be necessary to fulfill this
role in the future? Be specific.
- Briefly explain each of the Five Laws of Librarianship. Justify the importance of each, and state specifically and
concretely in behavioral terms how you might seek to fulfill each in your own career as a librarian or information
specialist. Are Ranganathan's laws current for today's multimedia, increasingly digitized environment? Contrast with
Gorman's revisions. What impact does the Web have on these laws? Do you see a need to add to these laws?
Third Paper Topics
Choose one of the following question sets:
- Focus on a particular type of library and/or information work and articulate your philosophy of information service
by addressing and integrating: (i) your personal standards; (ii) specific published professional standards, codes, and
guidelines; (iii) institutional mission, goals, and objectives; and (iv) the information needs of the community to be
served by that organization. Include a discussion of the role of technology in that organization or type of information
work. Give specific examples of how you intend to incorporate these standards into your daily work.
- Identify and discuss a specific area of information ethics. Discuss the role of ethical guidelines by applying
principles to a specific type of information work. What impact on your daily work do you expect ethics to have? Give a
specific example of how you would apply ethical guidelines to handle a particular situation (e.g., a user in a public
library wants an objectionable book to be withdrawn, a young person looks depressed and searches for material on
suicide, parents want the Internet turned off because they fear that their children will be inadvertently exposed to
objectionable material, the computer lab uses unlicensed software, a hate group wants to use the meeting room, a
homeless person smells awful, etc.).
- Define and discuss the concept of intellectual freedom in our profession. Describe the various means used to
support it. How has Web access in libraries impacted intellectual freedom issues? Why are librarians committed to
providing material from all points of view, regardless of its inherent philosophical or moral truth or falsity?
Why is intellectual freedom important in a liberal democracy?
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