HSS8002 : Information Skills

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


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 one’s 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

Getting started with searching – what’s out there.
Keeping on top: advanced techniques to develop and manage your search.
21st century scholarly communication: open access; e-theses; impact and more.
Using social media in your research.
Information management
Newspapers and other news resources.
Beyond the Library: finding and using resources elsewhere.
Finding and using audiovisual resources.
Company and market research information.
Government publications and statistics.
Individual consultancy.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture21:002:00Week 1 and Week 6
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading52:0010:00Core materials and specialist resources
Guided Independent StudySkills practice51:005:00Referencing/Endnote
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops12:002:00Week 3 or week 4 Skills practice and formative feedback
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, 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 design enables 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 in the second part of the module uses group work to integrate and consolidate online learning and practice core information literacy skills. It also provides a focus for formative feedback. The final lecture summarises key learning and skills developed and demonstrates how these are evidenced in the module’s assessment.

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. Endnote and 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.

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 A 1,500 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 seminars.

Reading Lists