Module Catalogue 2023/24

HSS8002 : Information Skills

HSS8002 : Information Skills

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Mrs Karen Crinnion
  • Co-Module Leader: Mrs Louise Masson
  • Owning School: School X
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0
European Credit Transfer System

Modules you must have done previously to study this module

Pre Requisite Comment



Modules you need to take at the same time

Co Requisite Comment



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.

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 and at the in-person sessions.

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

Core materials including skills practice (2-3 hours per week)
The core materials lay the foundation for the module’s assignment. You need to:
• Attend the introductory lecture.
• Work through the five weeks of core topic content on Canvas.
• Participate in a two-hour mid-module workshop.
• Attend the final workshop.

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.
• Managing information: exploring valuable information management tools
• Using social media as a researcher.
• Beyond the library: finding and using information elsewhere.

Specialist information - build your skills (1-2 hours per week)
Each week, we’ll also ask you to spend time on self-paced materials relating to specialist information.
• The Specialist information materials are designed to help you find and evaluate different types of resource, including news resources; Government publications and statistics; audiovisual resources; company information and market research; Special Collections and archives.
• Becoming an open researcher: including research dissemination and impact; Open Access publishing; diversifying your search.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

• Identify a range of databases and high-quality information sources that are effective for their research area/subject discipline.
• Locate and use specialist information sources effectively, such as audiovisual, archives and data, including sources available beyond the Library.
• Explain the value of social media and online tools to support research.
• Decide on a workflow for managing information for a long-term individual research project.
• Select appropriate tools to aid reflective practice.

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 a range of information management tools to manage and maintain a large volume of data, files and references.
• Create a plan of how to keep up to date with research developments.
• Critically evaluate and reflect on the search process to inform future needs.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture11:001:00Week 1
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture11:001:00Week 6
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading51:005:00Specialist resources including build your skills
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading52:0010:00Core materials, including skills practice
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops12:002:00Week 3 or week 4 skills practice, scheduled in groups
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity20:301:00Skills audit, goal setting and evaluation
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study781:0078:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyOnline Discussion40:302:00Facilitated discussions supported by module leaders
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The module uses a blended approach (in accordance with the HASS training programme’s preferred mode of delivery for this module since 2018/19) providing directed online reading and activities (via the VLE), asynchronous discussion, and face to face sessions. 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. The two-hour workshop during the module uses group work to integrate and consolidate online learning, and practise core information literacy skills. It also provides a focus for formative feedback. The final interactive session summarises and encourages reflection on key learning and skills, and uses group activities to help students prepare for the module assessment. Students are encouraged to re-take 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 module leaders facilitate and contribute 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

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.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


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