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University of Michigan School of Information



698 - Master's Thesis Option Program - 2nd Semester

As a professional program in a research institution, the School of Information recognizes both the value of engaged learning and the value of research-oriented activities. Drawing on the substantial backgrounds of our faculty as research scholars and mentors, UMSI offers an opportunity for master's students to spend part of their second year at UMSI writing a master's thesis.

699 - MSI Mastery Courses

These courses are special types of courses that require students to demonstrate synthesis of the major theories, methods, and approaches to inquiry and/or schools of practice necessary for entry into a particular career in the information professions. For individual course descriptions, please see

701 - Doctoral Foundations Seminar

This course will provide students with a substantial level of understanding of key topics in the interdisciplinary field of information. This seminar will also provide students with an understanding of the culture of research. Key components include: Research as Occupation, Discovery and Synthesis, and Substance and Framing.

702 - Seminar in Organizational Studies

This seminar provides a forum for the discussion of research and theory about organizations and organizational processes. In keeping with its interdisciplinary character, the seminar will consider both macro and micro-processes and their intersection. Presentations will be made by faculty and advanced graduate students from within the university, as well as from other universities and centers for research on organizations.

705 - First Semester Experience

This required course will expose first-semester students to a wide range of information that will be useful as they navigate the UMSI doctoral program, the research process, and academic culture. The seminar will be led by the Doctoral Program Director but will include visits from other faculty, students, staff, and campus resource representatives.

719 - Knowledge/Power/Practice in Science, Technology, and Medicine

The graduate seminar provides a comprehensive introduction to the major themes and issues in the field of Science and Technology Studies (STS, or S&TS). Drawing on scholarship in history, sociology, anthropology, and information studies, we will mix theoretical material with more empirically oriented studies. The course will focus particularly on the relation between social, political, and cultural contexts and the development of ideas, practices, tools, and objects within science, technology, and medicine. While some background in science, technology and/or medicine is helpful, this course does not require prior training in the field. Work for the seminar will include reading approximately 300 pages per week.

721 - Data Mining: Methods and Applications

With the explosive growth of information generated from different sources, in a variety of formats, and with various qualities, information analysis has become challenging for researchers in many disciplines. Automatic, robust, and intelligent data mining techniques have become essential tools to handle heterogeneous, noisy, nontraditional, and large-scale data sets. This is a doctoral seminar course of advanced topics in data mining. The course provides an overview of recent research topics in the field of data mining, the state-of-the-art methods to analyze different genres of information, and the applications to many real world problems. The course will highlight the practical applications of data mining instead of the theoretical foundations of machine learning and statistical computing. The course materials will focus on how the information in different real world problems can be represented as particular genres, or formats of data, and how the basic mining tasks of each genre of data can be accomplished using the state-of-the-art techniques. To this end, the course is not only suitable for doctoral students who are doing research in data mining related fields, but also for those who are consumers of data mining techniques in their own disciplines, such as natural language processing, network science, human computer interaction, economics, social computing, sociology, business intelligence, and biomedical informatics, etc.

755 - Unorthodox Research Methods

Any traditional research method was once unorthodox. While many are prone to see methods as boring tools (or even as a necessary but unpleasant step on the road to results), any common method was once daring and controversial. This seminar will cover very recent developments in both qualitative and quantitative social scientific research methods and attempt to address the question of how new research methods are invented, applied, transferred between problems and disciplines, and formalized. The overall focus of the course will be research design, rather than learning and procedures of a single method. In addition, we will spend some time trying to think creatively about possible new methods and designs. Readings in the course will be split between classics and readings concerning very recent innovations in methods. In discussion of recent methodological trends, particular attention will be paid to internet / new media research, new digital sources of data (sometimes called "big data" or "e-social science"), spatial / geographic methods, visualization as a research method, and unobtrusive methods. A goal of the seminar is to encourage researchers to conceptualize methodology - whether using new or old methods - as a creative art.

840 - Research Methods

PhD level introduction to research design from a methods perspective. Examines various research methods with illustrations drawn from specific studies. Includes discussion of the scientific method and research design, issues of problem selection, data collection, data analysis, and research report evaluation.