Module Catalogue 2020/21

HSS8002 : Information Skills

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Mrs Lucy Keating
  • Lecturer: Mrs Karen Crinnion
  • Owning School: HASS Faculty Office
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semesters
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment

N/A

Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment

N/A

Aims

This module aims to equip new research students with the knowledge and skills to become efficient and effective information managers, saving time and stress, and ensuring they are able to make the most of the rich range of resources available from the University Library and beyond.

It covers all aspects of information literacy, from the beginnings of the literature search, through to keeping research up-to-date and organising references, right up to the ethical and practical issues to consider when disseminating your work.

Whether you’re interested in ancient manuscripts or social media, we’ll help you chart a course through today’s highly complex, information world.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module uses a combination of face-to-face sessions and self-paced materials on Canvas. Library staff will be on hand to answer your questions via Canvas discussion boards.

It has several strands:
a) Skills check (essential).
b) Core materials (essential).
c) Additional content topics to build your skills.

Core materials (2-3 hours per week)
The core materials lay the foundation for the module’s assignment. You need to:
a) Work through the five weeks of core topic content on Canvas.
b) Participate in online group activities.

Core materials include:
• Your search question: formulating your search.
• Finding the right words: keywords and synonyms.
• What’s out there? Discovering different types of information.
• Academic information: Why Google is not enough.
• Critical evaluation: Evaluating your findings and your search.
• Using social media as a researcher.
• Beyond the library: finding and using information elsewhere.
• 21st Century researcher: early and later in your research career.

Build your skills (1-2 hours per week)
Each week, we’ll also ask you to spend time on self-paced materials relating to managing information and/or specialist information.
• The Managing information strand will help you develop your skills with referencing and reference management.
• The Specialist information materials are designed to help you find and evaluate different types of resource, including news resources; Government publications and statistics; audio-visual resources; company information and market research; Special Collections and archives.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

• Identify a range of specialist databases and high-quality information sources that are effective for their research area/subject discipline.
• Recognise the challenges and opportunities facing the 21st Century researcher, including Open Access publishing, research dissemination and impact, and data management.
• Explain the value of social media and online tools to develop a research profile that will support networking and visibility.
• Summarise the issues around copyright and intellectual property rights associated with the synthesis of large amounts of information.
• Decide on a workflow for managing information for a long-term individual research project.

Intended Skill Outcomes

• Develop, refine and evaluate a complex information search strategy, using advanced searching techniques.
• Apply and adapt a search strategy to a range of multidisciplinary and specialist information sources.
• Appraise the quality and appropriateness of information sources and references, using a variety of evaluation techniques.
• Evaluate reference management tools and strategies to manage and maintain the volume of references required for postgraduate research.
• Create a plan of how to keep up to date with research developments.
• Critically evaluate and reflect on the search process in order to inform future needs.

Teaching Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading52:0010:00Core materials and specialist resources
Guided Independent StudySkills practice51:005:00Referencing/Reference Management tools
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity21:002:00Skills audit, goal setting and evaluation
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity12:002:00Preparing and reviewing search strategies
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study781:0078:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesScheduled on-line contact time11:001:00Q&A regarding assessment and any other matters
Guided Independent StudyOnline Discussion40:302:00Facilitated discussions supported by module leaders
Total100:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The module is delivered entirely online, providing directed online reading and activities (via the VLE), and mostly asynchronous discussion. Students on HSS8002 come from a wide variety of subject domains and have variable information literacy skills. The module design responds to this by enabling differentiation and specialisation.

Students are supported to audit their information literacy skills at the start of the module, define goals and select topics that will enable them to develop skills suited to their needs and subject area. Students are encouraged to re-do the audit of their information literacy skills at the end of the module to consolidate their learning and create ongoing personal action points and goals. The asynchronous group activities encourage students to consolidate and put into practice what they have learnt, and prepare for the assessment.

The module team facilitates and contributes to online discussions throughout the module, answering specialist questions, providing feedback on effective practice and supporting peer-learning. Students work through core information literacy materials, but can choose their level of engagement with the specialist topics offered. The design permits students to consider a wide range of specialist topics at an entry level, or choose to engage more deeply with a smaller number. Reference management tools are presented in the context of managing information.

The approach combines an accessible and flexible mode of delivery, which allows students to learn at their own pace, and provides a rich resource to support ongoing development of information literacy at postgraduate level.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1A100A short bibliography relating to the student’s research proposal & 1500 word critical review of how the bibliography was compiled
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The purpose of the bibliography is to demonstrate what has been learnt in the sessions and show awareness of the variety of sources of information available, as well as the ability to cite correctly.
The critical review enables personal reflection on the development of the literature search (for example, techniques employed and resources consulted), its overall success or failure, and how it might be developed in the future.
Further guidance on the assessment will be provided during the module.

Timetable

Past Exam Papers

General Notes

N/A

Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2020/21 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2021/22 entry will be published here in early-April 2021. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.